While the NSG is aimed at preventing countries from developing nuclear weapons by controlling the supply of the materials required, the super powers including the USA and Russia have kept their nuclear weapons on high alert that can be fired under short notice within minutes to claim millions of lives. Anyhow, both the nations along with the other nuclear powers have a common vision: a nuclear-free world. While we all unite to talk about human welfare and development as a normative behaviour, with what we have in our hands as a tragic weapon, our words of wisdom just go as a meaningless rant. We do preach, while we do not follow in act.
This is not an irony, but an ill-fated nature of our worldly political issues. It’s not just the two cold war nations, but along with seven other countries that find their names in the list that makes the world’s nuclear arsenal. Among the nine, five are said to have got the nuclear warheads legally, whereas the remaining four somehow managed to claim the privilege by acquiring the power illegally.
These four countries – North Korea, Pakistan, Israel and India – contribute to a meagre amount, roughly 2%, of the total 15650 warheads present in the world, whereas Russia and the US possess nearly more than 93% of the total weaponry. Russia has 7500 warheads topping the list followed by the US with 7200 and France with nearly 300.
The age of the nuclear weapons began when the United States tested its first atomic weapon, (known as “trinity”) in the New Mexico desert in 1945. To counter the supremacy, the then Soviet Union conducted its test First Lightning at Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. Apart from the testing events, the weapon had been only once detonated in history when the US attacked the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Even after this cataclysm, the tests didn’t stop there. Operation Crossroads tested the impact of nuclear weapons on warships in 1946 and was open for public viewing in the US. These tests were conducted amidst opposition as many decried that they will be a major environmental threat. The residents that inhabited the test site were evacuated before the test. Nothing stopped it and the further proliferation of nuclear weapons from happening. Gradually thereafter, the nuclear stockpile kept increasing reaching a dangerous level of what it is today.
Despite nuclear disarmament efforts to reduce or completely do away with nuclear weapons, a nuclear-free world is still a distant dream, as the latest non-proliferation treaty conference in 2015 ended in a fiasco.
A few argue that nuclear weapons have brought peace to the world as they have deterred countries from pursuing atomic weapons and they being intimidated by the ones that already possess them. But it has only led to more animosity among the nations and some of them developing nuclear weapons clandestinely. It was just an opportunistic reasoning that tries to justify the early development of nuclear weapons by super powers only to thrust their supremacy over the others.
The impacts of atomic weapons are long lasting after an immediate annihilation of literally anything that exists into nothingness. The thermal radiation, the nuclear radiation, and the detonation could devastate lives from the moment of the blast till several years later. The impact of the detonation would shatter the earth and terrains far at a distance. For instance Tsar Bomba, the deadliest man-made hydrogen bomb ever in history, broke windows far away in Finland and Norway, while tested at Sukhoya Nos, in today’s Russia. It has an energy that is 1570 times greater than those destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
With a heat wave radiating at millions of degree Celsius, an explosion will make any form of physical existence void. Scientists agree that detonating a fractional percentage of the currently available nuclear weapons could cause immense damage wiping away tens of millions of lives, causing unprecedented changes in climate and many of the lands losing their ability to grow food crops. The threat to the environment posed by nuclear weapons is worse than global warming, say scientists.
With nothing so promising about the existence of nuclear weapons to the survival of human lives on Earth, there is no consensus among the nations to put an end to this threat. With a lot of Uranium yet remain untouched, development of nuclear weapons further can become a real horror to our existence. Nuclear disarmament shouldn’t just remain in talks. It should become a reality.
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