Half of World’s Population Lives in Countries that Either Have Nuclear Weapons or Are Members of Nuclear Alliances


Human Wrongs Watch

“As of 2015, some 16,000 nuclear weapons remain. Countries possessing such weapons have well-funded, long-range plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals. More than half of the world’s population still lives in countries that either have such weapons or are members of nuclear alliances.”

Sculpture depicting St. George slaying the dragon. The dragon is created from fragments of Soviet SS-20 and United States Pershing nuclear missiles. Credit: UN Photo/Milton Grant

Sculpture depicting St. George slaying the dragon. | The dragon is created from fragments of Soviet SS-20 and United States Pershing nuclear missiles. | UN Photo/Milton Grant

This is what the United Nations reports ahead of this year’s International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, marked on 26 September.

As of 2015, not one nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed pursuant to a treaty, bilateral or multilateral, and no nuclear disarmament negotiations are underway, according to the UN.

“Meanwhile, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence persists as an element in the security policies of all possessor states and their nuclear allies.”

“This is so—despite growing concerns worldwide over the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of even a single nuclear weapon, let alone a regional or global nuclear war.”

Achieving global nuclear disarmament is one of the oldest goals of the United Nations. It was the subject of the General Assembly’s first resolution in 1946.

It has been on the General Assembly’s agenda along with general and complete disarmament ever since 1959.

It has been a prominent theme of review conferences held at the UN since 1975 of States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

It was identified a priority goal of the General Assembly’s first Special Session on disarmament in 1978, which attached a special priority to nuclear disarmament.  And it has been supported by every United Nations Secretary-General.

Yet today, some 16,000 nuclear weapons remain. Countries possessing such weapons have well-funded, long-range plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals.

More than half of the world’s population still lives in countries that either have such weapons or are members of nuclear alliances. As of 2015, not one nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed pursuant to a treaty, bilateral or multilateral, and no nuclear disarmament negotiations are underway.

Meanwhile, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence persists as an element in the security policies of all possessor states and their nuclear allies. This is so—despite growing concerns worldwide over the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of even a single nuclear weapon, let alone a regional or global nuclear war.

These facts provide the foundation for the General Assembly’s designation of 26 September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

This Day provides an occasion for the world community to reaffirm its commitment to global nuclear disarmament as a high priority.

It provides an opportunity to educate the public—and their leaders—about the real benefits of eliminating such weapons, and the social and economic costs of perpetuating them. Commemorating this Day at the United Nations is especially important, given its universal membership and its long experience in grappling with nuclear disarmament issues.

It is the right place to address one of humanity’s greatest challenges, achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. (*Source: UN).

Video courtesy of Norwegian People’s Aid and Atomkommisjonen | Source: ICAN

For its part, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on 15 June 2015 launched the findings of SIPRI Yearbook 2015, which assesses the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security.**
Key findings include:
(1) all the nuclear weapon-possessing states are working to develop new nuclear weapon systems and/or upgrade their existing ones; and
(2) the number of personnel deployed with peace operations worldwide continues to fall while the number of peace operations increases.

World nuclear forces—reductions and modernization continue

At the start of 2015, nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea)—possessed approximately 15 850 nuclear weapons, of which 4300 were deployed with operational forces. Roughly 1800 of these weapons were kept in a state of high operational alert.

The total number of nuclear warheads in the world is declining, primarily due to the USA and Russia continuing to reduce their nuclear arsenals, albeit at slower pace compared with a decade ago.

At the same time, both countries have extensive and expensive long-term modernization programmes under way for their remaining nuclear delivery systems, warheads and production.

The nuclear arsenals of the other nuclear-armed states are considerably smaller, but all are either developing or deploying new nuclear weapon systems or have announced their intention to do so.

In the case of China, this may involve a modest increase in the size of its nuclear arsenal.

India and Pakistan are both expanding their nuclear weapon production capabilities and developing new missile delivery systems.

North Korea appears to be advancing its military nuclear programme, but its technical progress is difficult to assess based on open sources.

‘Despite renewed international interest in prioritizing nuclear disarmament, the modernization programmes under way in the nuclear weapon-possessing states suggests that none of them will give up their nuclear arsenals in the foreseeable future’, says SIPRI Senior Researcher Shannon Kile.


World nuclear forces, 2015

Country

Deployed warheads*

Other warheads

Total 2015

Total 2014

USA

2080

5180

7260

7300

Russia

1780

 5720

7500

8000

UK

150

 65

215

225

France

290

10

300

300

China

 

260

260

250

India

 

 90-110

90-110

90-110

Pakistan

 

100-120

100-120

100-120

Israel

 

80

80

80

North Korea

..

..

6-8

6-8

Total

4300

11 545

15 850

16 350

Source: SIPRI Yearbook 2015

* “Deployed” means warheads placed on missiles or located on bases with operational forces.

All estimates are approximate.
Peace operations increase while personnel numbers drop

There were 62 peace operations in 2014, a rise of 3 over the previous year. The number of deployed personnel in all peace operations, including the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, fell by 20 per cent to 162 052.

However, excluding ISAF, the total number of deployed personnel increased further, by 4 per cent to 148 716. The closure of ISAF was a defining moment for 2014 and influenced many of the year’s peace operation-related figures.

As a consequence of ISAF’s drawdown, Africa became an even greater focus of peace operations: it is the continent with the largest number of such operations and hosts more personnel than all the other regions combined.

Seven new peace operations were launched in 2014 and four of them were in Africa. The three new missions outside Africa were all established in response to the conflict in Ukraine.

‘Despite all of the criticism and pessimism, peace operations are remarkably successful.

The international community increasingly invests in them because, in many conflicts, they remain the best crisis management instrument available’ said Head of SIPRI’s peace operations research team Dr Jair van der Lijn.


East Asia, Syria, Europe and Ukraine new separate chapters in the Yearbook

SIPRI Yearbook 2015 contains separate chapters on major geographic regions as well as, for the first time, a chapter on the growing issue of security and development.

‘SIPRI continuously strives to keep its flagship publication relevant and to sum up major developments in armaments, disarmament and international security. Looking back at 2014, it was only natural to expand the Yearbook’s scope to incorporate these important developments’ says SIPRI’s Director of Publications, Dr Ian Davis. (**Source: SIPRI. Go to Original).

No more Hiroshimas, no more Nagasakis

Meanwhile, the International Campaign to Abolish nuclear Weapons (ICAN) recalled*** that “On 11:02 on 9 August 1945, a nuclear bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.”

“Nearly everything around it was incinerated by a wall of heat up to 4,000 degrees celsius, and about 74,000 people died as a result of the immediate and long-term effects.”

“We made this video to remember the people that died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to encourage you to join our fight to ban nuclear weapons. We owe it to the Hibakusha and the memory of all those killed in the blast to bring the era of nuclear weapons to an end,” it adds. (***Source: ICAN)

Read also:

Don’t Get Excited: Nuclear Disarmament Is Not on the Horizon

Ban Nuclear Weapons – Now!

‘Persisting Risk of Nuclear Weapons; Dangerous Return to Cold War Mentalities’

Nuclear Weapons Abolition – “NATO” Is Not an Excuse

Nuclear Weapons Abolition – ‘US Attempts to Bully Allies into Inaction’

Tell Your Bank Not to Invest in Nuclear Weapons!

Initiative on Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons Takes Centre Stage at UN General Assembly

‘The Damage Caused by Past Nuclear Testing Cannot Be Reversed’

Nuclear — Despite Price Dip, Uranium Demand, Production Continue to Rise

UN Officials Call for Renewed Global Commitment to Ending Nuclear Tests

Do You Have the Courage to Ban Nuclear Weapons?

Why Is the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons So Urgent?

Hiroshima: The Myth of “Military Necessity”

Inhumane, Illegal, Immoral and Cruel: a Survivor Account of the Hiroshima Bombing

‘Humans Search for Life on Other Planets While Modernizing Weapons That Can Destroy All Life on Planet Earth’

Banks, Pension Funds, Insurance Companies in 30 Countries ‘Invest’ Your Money in Nuclear Arms

‘Humanity Could Not Survive a Nuclear War Using Even a Fraction of Existing Arsenals’

Another Lost Chance to Save Middle East from Mass Destruction

Watch The Sky–It May Rain Atomic Bombs

Nuclear Terrorism – Killing 100,000 People Not Very Difficult

Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons — Are You Ready to Hit the Gas?

Ecocide, a Catastrophic Consequence of Nuclear Weapons

“Breaking the Nuclear Chain” Campaign

Pressure to Push the Nuclear Genie Back in the Bottle

Germany Resolved to Pave the Way to Nuclear Disarmament

India, Pakistan Engaged in World’s Most Active Nuclear Arms Race

World Nuclear Forces: ‘Fewer But Newer’ Weapons

Desert “Star Wars”, Respect Dignity of Life

Nuclear Dangers, The World Is “One Minute Closer to Midnight” U.S. Spending on Atomic Bombs Doubles UN Budget

Of Dr. Strangelove and the Risk of Using Atomic Bombs World Campain Against False ‘Nuclear Deterrence Doctrine’

 The Story of Child Yami and the Atomic Bomb

Obama and How to Save a Quarter of a Trillion Dollars

You Choose: $105 Billion a Year for Health Care or Nuclear Weapons?

Read on nuclear Middle East:

Non-Proliferation Treaty: Nuclear Weapons and Tension Areas

No Way to Free Middle East from Nuclear Weapons – UN Warns of ‘Dangerous Return to Cold War’

Arabs Set to Create Their Own NATO, Urge a Nuclear-free Middle East

The Middle East Oil/Nuclear Puzzle

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