Nuclear weapons – inhumane and indiscriminate
The effects of a nuclear weapons would be inhumane and indiscriminate. When using a nuclear bomb, there is no possibility of differentiating between an intended target and a civilian, and the impact of a nuclear weapons detonation on human life is devastating and long-lasting.
A detonation in a densely populated city could immediate kill hundreds of thousands of people, through the immense heat and pressure of the blast. Those close to the blast site who were not killed instantly would be covered in third-degree burns, which is fatal without proper treatment. Many more would be injured by crumbling infrastructure, residual fires and radiation sickness.
These weapons must not continue to remain legal to possess and use under international law. Click here to read more about the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons.
There are nine states that possess nuclear weapons. Five additional NATO states (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey) have nuclear weapons stationed on their territory. Together, this accounts for about 14,500 nuclear warheads, each one of them able to unleash a humanitarian catastrophe.
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.
United States of America
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.
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 land, sea, and air. It does not appear to be increasing the size of its arsenal.
It maintains a fleet of four nuclear-armed sub- marines in Scotland, each carrying 16 Trident missiles. In July 2016, the British parliament voted in favor of renewing its nuclear weapons program and building four new nuclear-powered submarines to carry US Trident missiles armed with modernized nuclear warheads for the next half century.
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 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 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.
North Korea has a fledgling nuclear weapons programme. The size of its arsenal is unknown but under development. It has carried out five nuclear weapons tests, including two in 2016 alone. North Korea is also working on ensuring capability to deliver nuclear warheads.