'Nuclear Weapons Articles'

UN votes to outlaw nuclear weapons in 2017

Posted on 02. Apr, 2017 by .

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An article by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weaponsicanw

The United Nations today [October 14] adopted a landmark resolution to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. This historic decision heralds an end to two decades of paralysis in multilateral nuclear disarmament efforts.

At a meeting of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which deals with disarmament and international security matters, 123 nations voted in favor of the resolution, with 38 against and 16 abstaining.

The resolution will set up a UN conference beginning in March next year, open to all member states, to negotiate a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. The negotiations will continue in June and July.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a civil society coalition active in 100 countries, hailed the adoption of the resolution as a major step forward, marking a fundamental shift in the way that the world tackles this paramount threat.

“For seven decades, the UN has warned of the dangers of nuclear weapons, and people globally have campaigned for their abolition. Today the majority of states finally resolved to outlaw these weapons,” said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN.

Despite arm-twisting by a number of nuclear-armed states, the resolution was adopted in a landslide. A total of 57 nations were co-sponsors, with Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa taking the lead in drafting the resolution.

The UN vote came just hours after the European Parliament adopted its own resolution on this subject – 415 in favour and 124 against, with 74 abstentions – inviting European Union member states to “participate constructively” in next year’s negotiations.

Nuclear weapons remain the only weapons of mass destruction not yet outlawed in a comprehensive and universal manner, despite their well-documented catastrophic humanitarian and environmental impacts.

“A treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons would strengthen the global norm against the use and possession of these weapons, closing major loopholes in the existing international legal regime and spurring long-overdue action on disarmament,” said Fihn.

“Today’s vote demonstrates very clearly that a majority of the world’s nations consider the prohibition of nuclear weapons to be necessary, feasible and urgent. They view it as the most viable option for achieving real progress on disarmament,” she said.

Biological weapons, chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions are all explicitly prohibited under international law. But only partial prohibitions currently exist for nuclear weapons.

Nuclear disarmament has been high on the UN agenda since the organization’s formation in 1945. Efforts to advance this goal have stalled in recent years, with nuclear-armed nations investing heavily in the modernization of their nuclear forces.

Twenty years have passed since a multilateral nuclear disarmament instrument was last negotiated: the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which has yet to enter into legal force due to the opposition of a handful of nations.

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U.N. talks to abolish nuclear weapons face uncertain future

Posted on 01. Jan, 2017 by .

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The United Nations is preparing to embark on talks to ban nuclear weapons.

Negotiations are set to begin in March and are expected to take an indefinite time to complete.

The end result is uncertain, but the 123 nations that voted Oct. 27 for a resolution within the U.N. General Assembly committee that deals with international security matters to open the talks showcase a clear frustration with the slow pace of nuclear disarmament.

The final tally showed 38 nations, including the nine nuclear weapons states and those under the nuclear umbrella, voting against the resolution; 16 nations abstained.

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New ICBM Cost Estimates

Posted on 26. Oct, 2016 by .

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The U.S. plans to replace Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with new ICBMs. The cost estimates for the new ICBMs have continued to increase and now range from $62 to $100+ billion. Take a look below and click here for a printable version.

New ICBMs cost estimates Final.png

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Iran Nuclear Deal: Correcting Misconceptions

Posted on 26. Oct, 2016 by .

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Taken from armscontrolcenter.org –

1. Misconception: The Iran Deal included a U.S. payment of $150 billion to Iran

The Facts:

The money that Iran receives from complying with the agreement is not a direct payment from the U.S. government. Instead, the funds are Iranian foreign assets, which the international sanctions regime prevented Iran from accessing. Under the JCPOA, these nuclear-related sanctions were waived after Iran verifiably completed its initial obligations.

The $150 billion figure is also inaccurate. The amount of money Iran could access from these foreign reserves is about $100 billion. Of this amount, about half of it is tied up in Iranian foreign debts and entanglements. As Treasury Secretary, Jacob Lew, testified before Congress, the actual amount that Iran would be able to use is about $50 billion.

2. Misconception: The Iran deal included a ransom payment for hostages

The Facts:

After implementation of the Iran Deal, the United States sent $1.7 billion to Iran. Some are now claiming this was a ransom payment for the return of American citizens that were being held hostage by Iran.

Lisa Grosh, a legal advisor for the Department of State, testified before Congress that the $1.7 billion was comprised of $400 million that Iran had placed in a U.S. Foreign Military Sales trust fund and $1.3 billion in interest. At the time of the Iran deal negotiations, the United States and Iran were involved in a legal arbitration case over the amount of interest the U.S. owed on this fund.

As for the fact that the payment coincided with the hostages’ release, Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Center explains that “the settlement and the prisoner release were two separate channels.” Once the settlement of the claim was determined, the U.S. simply did not issue payment until the separately-negotiated prisoner release was completed.

3. Misconception: “Breakout time” is the time needed to develop a nuclear bomb

The Facts:

Under the JCPOA, Iran’s “breakout time” is evaluated to be at least one year. But there is an important distinction between the “breakout time” and the amount of time needed to develop a credible nuclear weapon. A country’s “breakout time” is the time required to produce enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for one nuclear weapon. The International Atomic Energy Agency estimates this amount to be about 25kg of highly enriched uranium (90% or more of enrichment). However, even if Iran had the required amount and enrichment level of uranium for a nuclear bomb, it would still need time to develop a viable weapon. This includes miniaturizing a nuclear weapon to be attached to a missile and producing a missile that functions accurately and reliably. Both of these developments are challenging and time-consuming. Furthermore, one untested nuclear weapon is not enough for a credible deterrent.

4. Misconception: The Iran Deal stopped Iran’s Nuclear Program

The Facts:

The objective of the JCPOA was to verifiably constrain Iran’s nuclear program and impede progress towards a nuclear weapon. However, the agreement does permit Iran to keep a comparatively small amount of monitored low-enriched uranium. Thus, the Iran Deal does not extinguish all Iranian nuclear activity, but constrains and restricts Iran’s ability to obtain a nuclear weapon. To learn more about Iran’s obligations under the agreement, view the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation’s factsheet.

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“Doomsday” Clock

Posted on 08. Feb, 2016 by .

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The following is from our Facebook page:

23:57 “Doomsday Clock” to stand still amid nuclear tensions

12647159_678323858971176_4961908626863555804_n[BBC] ‘The so-called Doomsday Clock will remain set at three-minutes-to-midnight amid global perils such as climate change and nuclear proliferation.

‘The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BPA), the group behind the clock, said the standing still is “not good news”.

‘The minute hand on the Doomsday Clock is a metaphor for how vulnerable the world is to catastrophe. “It remains the closest it has been over the past 20 years,” said Rachel Bronson, BPA’s executive director.

‘In addition to nuclear arms and climate change, the group also cited growing cyber threats and an uptick in terrorist attacks in their decision to keep clock unchanged.

‘Lawrence Krauss, chairman of the BPA’s Board of Sponsors, said that the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate accord were good news, but said it remained unclear if the Paris agreement would actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

‘He also noted increased tensions between the US and Russia as a sore point…’

 

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