- Nuclear Disarmament
- Volume 314
- Editor: Justin Healey
- Print book ISBN: 978 1 921507 25 0
- Year: 2010
- Print book: $20.95
The threat of nuclear destruction has long loomed over the planet. Weapons stockpiles among the nuclear powers continue to proliferate, and a number of other nations including Iran are actively pursuing nuclear capability. Australia is directly involved in global negotiations to slow down the arms race as both a major supplier of uranium, and as co-chair of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, which recently reviewed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This book examines Australian and international efforts aimed at non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament. What is the extent of nuclear weaponry around the globe, and how safe are we from the nuclear threat posed by rogue states and terrorist groups? Is there a risky link between nuclear power and arms production? Securing nuclear materials is one thing, but can nuclear weapons be eliminated altogether?
Chapter 1 of 1: Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
Glossary; Fast Facts; Web Links; Index
- Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a nuclear-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated.
- There are 5 officially declared nuclear weapon states in the world: the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China.
- May 2010: the US disclosed that it has 5,113 warheads in its nuclear stockpile. Britain’s new government revealed the planned size of its nuclear weapons stockpile, saying it will not exceed 225 warheads.
- Israel government’s position remains ambiguous over its possession of nuclear weapons.
- North Korea exploded nuclear devices in October 2006 and in May 2006 but there are doubts about whether it has an operational nuclear weapons capability. International negotiations are being held to ensure North Korea does not become a nuclear weapons capable state.
- Currently, Russia and the United States possess 97% of the 23,000 to 26,000 nuclear weapons in the global arsenal ... a nuclear war is nonetheless within the capacity of China, France, the UK, Israel or India and Pakistan.
- Although there are 39 countries in the world, apart from the 5 declared nuclear weapons states, that have nuclear power or research reactors and thus the potential capability to produce nuclear weapons, nearly all of them have chosen not to possess nuclear weapons and have officially signed treaties with this intention.
- Only one country has been known to ever dismantle their nuclear arsenal completely – the apartheid government of South Africa apparently developed half a dozen crude fission weapons during the 1980s, but they were dismantled in the early 1990s.
- Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), every country does have a right to nuclear development for peaceful purposes (i.e. nuclear energy).
- Nuclear weapons have been used twice, on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
- The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the centrepiece of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The NPT entered into force in 1970, and Australia ratified the treaty in 1973.
- During the 1950s and 1960s, the Australian government made several efforts to obtain nuclear weapons from the US or the UK.
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