ANTI-NUCLEAR WEAPONS and DISARMAMENT Guide
Better World Info is an excellent ➡️ platform for nuclear disarmament, with over 4,000 resources on nukes, the dangers and outrageous costs of them, and the campaigns and initiatives fighting for an outright ban.
Nuclear missiles are weapons of mass destruction: even just one nuclear warhead is capable of destroying an entire city and all of its inhabitants. Initial damage is caused by the blast and an intense burst of thermal radiation. Long-term effects of this radiation cause a host of health issues, birth defects, and untold damage to the environment and atmosphere. Fallout contamination remains still a hazard after many years.
In a study by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, they estimate that the detonation of 100 nukes would lead to a nuclear winter and the starvation of 2 billion people. The predicted 9% reduction in rainfall and cooling temperatures would be enough to trigger largescale crop failures and famine.
Nuclear missile proliferation reached its peak in the cold war, however, there are still 13,000 nuclear warheads in the possession of 9 nations today – a notable increase than 30 years ago. Of these 13,000 missiles, Russia and the U.S. maintain a gigantic 91% share. Peace experts are rightly concerned about increasingly tense relations between Russia and the U.S, massive military buildup, and cold war mentality from both sides.
“The probability of a fatal nuclear detonation is greater now than at any time during the Cold War. As the Russian military deteriorates, and as rogue governments and terrorists seek to acquire nuclear capabilities, the threat continues to grow.” Alan Cranston, American politician and journalist.
Better World Info supports a total ban on the proliferation, stockpiling and use of all nuclear weapons. Aside from their ability to cause catastrophic harm, and their threat to global security, nukes are grotesquely expensive. Billions are drained from essential social, health, and environmental budgets. While citizens suffer under deepening austerity measures, poverty, and lack of healthcare, governments sit on top of nuclear stockpiles purely for posturing sake.
Citizens are gaslighted by governments who claim nuclear programs are necessary to counter threats to our national security. Imminent threats to our planet include climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, disease, water scarcity, and food insecurity – Nuclear weapons cannot solve any of these issues.
The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is a timely example of how nuclear war threats and the danger of attacks to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant could easily lead to catastrophe. For further insight in to related topics be sure to check out our extensive categories on peace, nonviolence, militaries, anti-ABC weapons, and crimes against humanity.
Finding impartial and reliable news on controversial issues such as nuclear weapons can be tricky as governments and the media try to downplay the risks and costs. Campaigns, protests, and events saying no to nukes are underreported and receive little attention outside of peace circles.
Better World Info serves as a knowledge platform providing over 250 news sources from nuclear experts, campaigners, peace advocates, and defence and security professionals. Discover blogs, magazines, NGO coverage, YouTube channels, and top social media accounts to follow on Twitter and Facebook.
For a sweeping overview of the nuclear weapon industry this category is for you. Dive into our ICAN & CND platform for a 10,000 link one-stop-shop of nuclear disarmament activity, as well as a look into the inspiring work of key CND members such as Kate Hudson, Jeremy Corbyn, and late Bruce Kent.
Discover the excellent organisations fighting for nuclear disarmament locally and internationally including Beyond Nuclear, Global Zero, ICAN, IPPNW, PNND, Abolition2000, and many others.
As anti-nuclear advocates, we promote and celebrate awareness days such as the International Day against Nuclear Tests and Nuclear Abolition Day, which both urgently call for a nuclear-weapon-free world. Discover the horrors the of the 1945 U.S. nuclear bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki which resulted in 105,000 fatalities and a further 94,000 injured. Both cities were left with a legacy of serious longterm health and environmental issues.
Learn some astounding nuclear weapon facts, and find books, reports, and documentaries on the subject. Find out which military officials, politicians, religious leaders, and physicians advocate for nuclear disarmament.
For German speakers, be sure to check out our sister site Bessere Welt Info where you will find over 1,000 resources in our category Nuklearwaffen and learn about American nukes stationed in Büchel, Germany.
Financial costs of the nuclear weapons industry
In 2021, the 9 nuclear states spent, or rather squandered, a combined total of $82.4 billion on nuclear weapons! A marked $6.5 billion increase from the previous year in a dangerous and worrying trend. This nuclear madness took place during a global pandemic, a global food crisis, and right before Russian troops gathered on Ukrainian borders.
The U.S. came in first place spending a gigantic $44.2 billion. Meanwhile American citizens endured yet another year without free healthcare. They also rank the highest for income inequality of all the G7 nations, are in the grips of a national debt crisis, and 11% of the population live in poverty.
A world on the brink of human and environmental disaster
The human environmental costs of nuclear weapons are horrifying. Atomic bombs are the only devices invented which are capable of destroying all life on Earth. They pose the single largest threat to mankind and our environment. Even a small-scale war would result in decades of damage to our climate and ecosystems.
Nuclear weapon stockpiling puts mankind on the brink of disaster, at the mercy of world leaders and their ‘red buttons’. Just one small error in communication or misunderstanding could set the world on fire, and almost has.
Discover how during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis the U.S. and former Soviet Union came within a hair's breadth of nuclear catastrophe. Find out about other nuclear close calls, accidents, and the insane military strategy known as mutually assured destruction (MAD).
Nuclear threat escalation has placed the planet at the highest risk of nuclear war since the Cold War. The No First Use pledge has been adopted by some countries to prevent such escalation, however is not legally binding. On the contrary, NATO’s First Strike policy is part of military doctrine and serves only to add fuel to the fire.
NATO insists their nuclear forces and weapons of mass murder are to maintain peace and deterrence. They state that they will remain a nuclear alliance as long as nuclear weapons exist - yet make no attempt to reduce or ban them.
It is globally agreed that no state would be able to control or handle the effects of even a single nuclear missile detonation in an urban area. The huge health and environmental needs both short and long term would be left unmet. Read more about radiation sickness, nuclear criminality and ecocide, nuclear holocausts, and nuclear winters.
Dangers of nuclear testing
Since in 1945, 2,000 nuclear tests have been carried out, almost half by the U.S. Radiation contamination from nuclear tests leads to increased rates of cancer in fallout zones and worldwide, and large areas of land remain radioactive for decades after.
It is of note that women and children are disproportionately affected by the effects of ionizing radiation. Given that no level of exposure is safe, the only acceptable level is zero.
In recent years, North Korea nuclear weapons testing has become concerning. Estimates state that the energy released by one test in 2017 was 7-10 times stronger than those dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Correctly summarised in the Canberra Commission final report from 1996,
“As long as any state has nuclear weapons, there will be others, state or sub-state actors, who will seek to acquire them.”
This dangerous game of keeping up with the Joneses sums up why there is an acceleration of nuclear weapons proliferation, and why the only solution is an outright ban.
Starting with the largest, we have Russia who is in possession of an enormous 5,889 nuclear warheads. The risk of nuclear war over Ukraine is very real. Putin on multiple occasions has threatened the use of nuclear weapons in the case of NATO intervention, and has created a nuclear safety crisis by allowing attacks to take place near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Early 2023 Russia suspended its participation in the nuclear arms treaty New START.
Closely behind in second place, is the U.S.A with an equally terrifying 5,244 nuclear weapons at home and abroad in the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Italy, and Belgium. Learn more about outrageous US nuclear forces expenditure, various Nuclear Posture Reviews, its Trident submarines, the anti-nuke NGOs fighting to stop the madness, and their withdrawal from the INF treaty.
China with 410 nuclear weapons in its arsenal rank third. France with 290, rank as fourth, and despite a large majority of citizens opposing the French nuclear weapons program, president Macron recently reaffirmed his position against signing any treaty supporting nuclear disarmament.
Closely behind France is the UK who are currently in possession of 225 nuclear weapons, with plans to increase this to 260 in the next few years. Learn about the controversial nuclear program Trident, a round-the-clock submarine nuclear missile system - a recent replacement costing British taxpayers £205 billion.
Opposition to nuclear weapons in the UK is strong, especially given the high levels of austerity measures, poverty, and deepening inequality. CNDUK is an exemplary NGO fighting for nuclear disarmament and tighter arms regulations. Learn more about British nuclear weapons facilities such as Aldermaston, Devonport, and Greenham Common, as well as the peace camps, and protests which regularly take place there.
India and Pakistan possess a total of 334 nuclear weapons between them, with roughly equal numbers each.
The secretive nuclear weapons program in Israel is of extra concern given the fragility of the situation between Israel and Palestine. Israel’s nuclear weapon figure is estimated to be 90. The Iran Nuclear Deal was designed to control tensions between Israel and Iran. In an effort to halt Iran's nuclear program and to promote stability in the region the arms control agreement provided billions in sanctions relief. Learn more about U.S. withdrawal, claims of Iran's non-compliance, attempts to recommit, and ongoing talks.
North Korea is also somewhat ambiguous, and has somewhere between 20-43 nuclear weapons. They are the only state to have conducted weapons testing in the 21st century.
Of note, South Africa is the only country to voluntarily surrender their nuclear weapons. After closing its program, and dismantling the weapons, they signed the NPT and officially became a non-nuclear country.
Find inspiring organisations, campaigns, and treaties fighting for nuclear disarmament and securing the safety of future generations and our planet.
Nobel peace prize winner ICAN is a huge international campaign working to fully implement the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The TPNW is the first legally binding international agreement prohibiting nuclear weapons, 95 states have signed the agreement already. All nuclear states that sit on the UN security council are NOT a part of the TPNW. ICAN also hosts the Nuclear Ban Forum and Meeting of the State Parties to discuss action plans, and the monitoring and disarmament progress.
Learn more about the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the NGOs and institutes involved, and the various NPT Review Conferences over the years.
Activist campaign Abolition 2000 networks organisations from around the world and encourages governments to negotiate a nuclear weapons convention through pledges, treaties, an international registry, monitoring of nuclear energy facilities, and the creation of nuclear free zones.
These nuclear weapon free zones are areas where nuclear weapons are outright banned. This also includes manufacturing, testing, and transporting. There are currently 5 nuclear-weapon-free zones which cover most of the Southern hemisphere, and large parts of Central Asia. Mongolia and Antartica have their own special nuclear free status.
The New START Treaty (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is the last nuclear arms agreement remaining between the U.S. and Russia. It was designed to cap the number of nuclear warheads that both countries could potentially deploy. Blaming non-compliance from the U.S., Russia recently made the decision to suspend its participation in the treaty. As 90% of the world's nuclear weapons are in the possession of these governments, this news is of course alarming.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) between the U.S. and Russia was dissolved in 2018 when the U.S. withdrew hiding behind claims of Russian non-compliance.
Divestment is one of the best ways to halt the nuclear weapons industry. Governments, universities, financial institutions, and even churches all profit from their investments in this industry of death. All 5 major high street banks in the UK have investments in the nuclear arms business, facilitating the modernisation and growth of nuclear arsenals around the world.
Don’t Bank on the Bomb revealed that financial institutions funded $747 billion to nuclear weapons producers between January 2020 and July 2022 - a $65 billion increase from the previous year.
Better World Info's Afterthoughts on Nuclear Disarmament
Every year the Doomsday Clock is set by The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. This year it was moved forward to 90 seconds to midnight. This signifies that we are now the closest ever to global catastrophe. The nuclear weapons proliferation, climate crisis, bio-threats, disinformation and disruptive technologies played an important part, but largely the reasoning was down to the risk of nuclear escalation in the Russia-Ukraine war.
It is therefore more important now than ever for our world leaders to step up and commit to a nuclear-weapon-free world. Under the thin veil of so called nuclear deterrence nuclear weapon stockpiles are actually just a plot for potential mass murder and genocide. We must put pressure on our governments to show them that we do not support wild spending on nuclear weapons programs, meanwhile our social security networks are plundered, and our healthcare systems are failing.
It is worth mentioning that many of the world's richest countries are also home to high levels of poverty including the nuclear states France, the UK, the U.S.A., China, and Israel.
What can you do to help?
- Share this guide with your colleagues, friends, and family
Boycott banks which finance the nuclear weapons industry
Join a peace movement near you and get your voice heard
Educate ourselves by using resources such as this one
Become active on social media to raise awareness of how everyone can help
Support events such as Hiroshima Day and Nuclear Abolition Day
Consider donating to an anti-nuclear campaign to help fund their activities
Better World Info is an open platform - anti-nuclear weapons experts and activists are invited to contribute their knowledge! By providing links to studies, reports, and campaigns, everyone can help end the nuclear madness - specialist guidance is welcome.
We leave you with the wise words of retired General and nuclear abolition advocate George Lee Butler,
"It is a measure of the arrogance of nations - but especially of the nuclear-weapon states - to assert that a nuclear-weapons-free world is impossible when, in fact, ninety-five percent of the nations of the world already are nuclear free."
Author: Rachael Mellor, 27.05.23 licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0
For further reading on Nuclear Disarmament see below ⬇️