Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Preventing Proliferation and Achieving Abolition
Medicine and Nuclear War
Victor W. Si...
Medicine and Nuclear War
Victor W. Sidel, MD
Former Co-President, IPPNW
Distinguished University Professor of Social Medic...
Nation-States Possessing Nuclear
Weapons in 2007
Nuclear Weapons -Declared States
USA 4530 780 5000 10,310
Russia 3800 3400 11000 18,200
France 290 60 350
China 400 150 55...
Nation-States With De Facto States
Israel – 75-200
India – 40-50
Pakistan – 25-50
North Korea - ?
Nation-States With De Fa...
Nuclear Weapons Today
• 27,000 nuclear warheads with the
equivalent explosive force of:
– Over 200,000 Hiroshima-sized bom...
Nuclear Posture Review
 Bush Administration’s 2002 Nuclear Posture Review
asserts a permanent role for nuclear weapons in...
Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC)
A model NWC – a convention to to ban the
development, possession, and use of nuclear weap...
International Campaign to
Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
ICAN was launched by IPPNW in 2007 to urge negotiation
of a nucle...
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic
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Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic

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  • These figures refer to nuclear warheads (not missiles or other forms of delivery) and are based on estimates by the Washington-based Arms Control Association and The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as well as studies by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
    ACA: http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat.asp
    Carnegie: http://www.carnegieendowment.org/npp/numbers/default.cfm
    Bulletin: http://www.thebulletin.org/nuclear_weapons_data
  • Three states stand outside of the multilateral legal system in relation to nuclear weapons. This makes it hard to acquire exact figures on their nuclear arsenals but experts can provide reasonably close estimates.
    It is Israeli policy to neither confirm nor deny that it possesses nuclear weapons, although it is generally accepted by analysts that Israel has had nuclear weapons for several decades. Its declaratory policy states: "Israel will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East," but its actual deployment and employment policies are secret. Estimates put the current stockpile between 75-200.
    India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons and declared themselves nuclear weapon states in May 1998; both countries have continued to develop and test missile delivery systems. India and Pakistan's arsenals are believed to stand at between 40 and 50 and 25 and 50 respectively.
    On February 10 2005, North Korea announced for the first time that it possesses nuclear weapons. This claim however is difficult to substantiate. In the early 1990s, the CIA concluded that North Korea had effectively joined the nuclear club by building one or possibly two weapons from plutonium it produced before 1992. Yet North Korea has never conducted a nuclear test, and although it has extracted weapon-grade plutonium, it has never conclusively demonstrated that it possesses operational nuclear warheads.
    These figures refer to nuclear warheads (not missiles or other forms of delivery) and are based on estimates by the Washington-based Arms Control Association and The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as well as studies by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
    ACA: http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat.asp
    Carnegie: http://www.carnegieendowment.org/npp/numbers/default.cfm
    Bulletin: http://www.thebulletin.org/nuclear_weapons_data
  • The size of nuclear arsenals worldwide peaked in the 1980s and remains at approximately 30,000 warheads today, including strategic and tactical weapons. 95% are in the US and Russia.
    Despite the end of the Cold War, some 5,000 nuclear weapons are on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched on a few minutes notice. Thousands more could be deployed in a short time. Arms control and disarmament progress has come to a virtual standstill despite a universal obligation to pursue and conclude complete nuclear disarmament (IPPNW, 2001).
    Even if all existing arms control treaties are fully implemented, 20,000 warheads will remain by the year 2003 -- the equivalent of 200,000 Hiroshima bombs. The global destruction from their combined blast, burn, radiation, and environmental effects would be so great that all human civilization could be destroyed.
    The total destructive power of the nuclear and thermonuclear weapons in the stockpiles of the eight self-declared states and the 3 other De Facto states is the equivalent to 11 billion tons of TNT, over 2 tons of TNT for every human on the planet (Sidel & Levy, 2000).
    We cannot accept that the danger of these weapons of mass destruction persists. Furthermore, as long as some states possess nuclear weapons, others will inevitably seek to acquire them (IPPNW, 2001).
    As defined in the model Nuclear Weapons Convention, “warheads” consist of nuclear materials, conventional high explosives, related firing mechanisms and containment structure.
    According to David Morgan of Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, between 1946-1985 the use of nuclear weapons has been threatened 16 times, for a total of 107 months of crisis. Every single threat was by the US. The USSR also threatened use on 2 of these occasions (1996).
    Amy, if you check in the IEER Science and Democracy magazine online, they have an issue which sets out 27 (?) threats of use and lists them. That would be perhaps more authoritative than using one person’s private research? You might want to indicate above that it is either 200,000…. OR 11 billion….
    Also, the US is saying their weapons aren’t on “hair-trigger alert” – so you might simply want to say that “5,000 warheads are ready to be launched in less than 30 minutes”….
    I’ve been checking the Center for Defense Information site and they are now saying there are only 21,899 (if my memory serves me!) nuclear warheads now around. People constantly quote the 30,000 figure. I have no explanation for the differing figures. You may want to check the SIPRI site, Brookings Institute and others and see if there is consensus on one range of figures and then quote your source.
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  • Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic

    1. 1. Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic Preventing Proliferation and Achieving Abolition Medicine and Nuclear War Victor W. Sidel Distinguished University Professor of Social Medicine Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine
    2. 2. Medicine and Nuclear War Victor W. Sidel, MD Former Co-President, IPPNW Distinguished University Professor of Social Medicine Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine Adjunct Professor of Public Health Weill Medical College of Cornell University Prepared for the International Conference on Nuclear Weapons Sponsored by the Royal Society of Medicine and IPPNW London -- October 3, 2007
    3. 3. Nation-States Possessing Nuclear Weapons in 2007
    4. 4. Nuclear Weapons -Declared States USA 4530 780 5000 10,310 Russia 3800 3400 11000 18,200 France 290 60 350 China 400 150 550 Britain 185 15 200 Strategic Tactical Reserve Total Nation-States With Declared Nuclear Weapons
    5. 5. Nation-States With De Facto States Israel – 75-200 India – 40-50 Pakistan – 25-50 North Korea - ? Nation-States With De Facto Nuclear Weapons
    6. 6. Nuclear Weapons Today • 27,000 nuclear warheads with the equivalent explosive force of: – Over 200,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs. – 10 billion tons of TNT, 2 tons for every human on the planet. • 2,000-3,000 on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched on a few minutes notice.
    7. 7. Nuclear Posture Review  Bush Administration’s 2002 Nuclear Posture Review asserts a permanent role for nuclear weapons into the future  Russia and China remain targets and 5 other countries are listed as potential targets of US nuclear weapons: Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria  Reshapes arsenal from one intended mainly for deterrence to one for nuclear war-fighting and distinction between nuclear and non-nuclear missions and weapons becomes blurred.
    8. 8. Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) A model NWC – a convention to to ban the development, possession, and use of nuclear weapons, much like the conventions on biological and chemical weapons – was drafted in 1996 by an international consortium of lawyers, scientists, and disarmament experts and was submitted by Costa Rica to the United Nations. It became a formal UN document, available in the six official UN languages. In 1997, the United Nations General Assembly called for negotiations leading to the conclusion of a NWC.
    9. 9. International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) ICAN was launched by IPPNW in 2007 to urge negotiation of a nuclear weapons convention. The campaign focuses on the nuclear-weapons states’ stockpiles of nuclear weapons, which risk their use by design, accident, or terrorism, and are a continued instigation for others to develop nuclear weapons capabilities. In order to reduce the probability of the use of nuclear weapons, ICAN also urges that existing weapons be taken off high alert and that nuclear-weapons states commit themselves to a “no first-use” policy.

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