The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – 2013-07-07 21:57:23
Nuclear Abolition Week
“I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”
— Dalai Lama Nobel Laureate
ACTION ALERT: Petition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
(July 6, 2013) — On July 6-13 July 2013, Nuclear Abolition Week kicks off with activities across the world for a ban on nuclear weapons. This global week of action is intended to raise awareness of the unacceptable harm caused by nuclear weapons, and the urgent need for a ban treaty.
During this week, ICAN campaigners from all around the world will take to the streets, meet with policymakers, organize public meetings and more to show their government that they expect full-fledged support for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
In previous years, ICAN has organized Nuclear Abolition Day, featuring non-violent street demonstrations, benefit concerts and recitals, nuclear picnics, vigils, marches, educational workshops and film screenings (click here to see photos from 2012 actions). This year, reflecting the growth of the campaign, Nuclear Abolition Day has been transformed into a global week of action.
Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons. A single nuclear bomb detonated over a large city could kill millions of people. The use of tens or hundreds of nuclear bombs would disrupt the global climate, causing widespread famine.
Use, Testing and Production
Nuclear weapons have been used twice in warfare — on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. More than 210,000 innocent civilians died, while many more suffered acute injuries. Even if a nuclear weapon were never again exploded over a city, there are intolerable effects from the production, testing and deployment of nuclear arsenals that are experienced as an ongoing personal and community catastrophe by many people around the globe. This must inform and motivate efforts to eliminate these weapons.
Immediate and Wider Effects
Nuclear weapons are unique in their destructive power and the threat they pose to the environment and human survival. They release vast amounts of energy in the form of blast, heat and radiation. No adequate humanitarian response is possible. In addition to causing tens of millions of immediate deaths, a regional nuclear war involving around 100 Hiroshima-sized weapons would disrupt the global climate and agricultural production so severely that more than a billion people would be at risk of famine.
A Humanitarian Approach
ICAN believes that discussions about nuclear weapons must focus not on narrow concepts of national security, but on the effects of these weapons on human beings — our health, our societies and the environment on which we all depend for our lives and livelihoods. The processes that led to treaties banning landmines in 1997 and cluster munitions in 2008 demonstrated the importance of adopting a humanitarian based discourse. Today we must adopt a similar approach for nuclear weapons.
Nine countries together possess more than 17,000 nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia maintain roughly 2,000 of their nuclear weapons on high-alert status — ready to be launched within minutes of a warning. Most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. A single nuclear warhead, if detonated on a large city, could kill millions of people, with the effects persisting for decades.
The failure of the nuclear powers to disarm has heightened the risk that other countries will acquire nuclear weapons. The only guarantee against the spread and use of nuclear weapons is to eliminate them without delay. Although the leaders of some nuclear-armed nations have expressed their vision for a nuclear-weapon-free world, they have failed to develop any detailed plans to eliminate their arsenals and are modernizing them.
The first country to develop nuclear weapons and the only country to have used them in war. It spends more on its nuclear arsenal than all other countries combined.
The second country to develop nuclear weapons. It has the largest arsenal of any country and is investing heavily in the modernization of its warheads and delivery systems.
It maintains a fleet of four nuclear-armed submarines in Scotland, each carrying 16 Trident missiles. It is considering whether to overhaul its nuclear forces or disarm.
Most of its nuclear warheads are deployed on submarines equipped with M45 and M51 missiles. One boat is on patrol at all times. Some warheads are also deliverable by aircraft.
It has a much smaller arsenal than the US and Russia. Its warheads are deliverable by air, land and sea. It does not appear to be increasing the size of its arsenal.
It developed nuclear weapons in breach of non-proliferation commitments. It is steadily increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal and enhancing its delivery capabilities.
It is making substantial improvements to its nuclear arsenal and associated infrastructure. It has increased the size of its nuclear arsenal considerably in recent years.
It has a policy of ambiguity in relation to its nuclear arsenal, neither confirming nor denying its existence. As a result, there is little public information or debate about it.
It has a fledgling nuclear weapons programme. Its arsenal probably comprises fewer than 10 warheads. It is not clear whether it has the capability to deliver them.
<10 warheads Total: 17,300 warheads
Source: Federation of American Scientists 2013
The Wider Problem
Five European nations host US nuclear weapons on their soil as part of a NATO nuclear-sharing arrangement, and roughly two dozen other nations claim to rely on US nuclear weapons for their security. Furthermore, there are now some 40 nations with nuclear power or research reactors capable of being diverted for weapons production. The spread of nuclear know-how has increased the risk that more nations will develop the bomb.
Nations with Nuclear Weapons
Nations Hosting Nuclear Weapons
Nations in Nuclear Alliances
Albania, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a global campaign coalition working to mobilize people in all countries to inspire, persuade and pressure their governments to initiate negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.