Seven Reasons Why We Should Ban Nuclear Weapons Once and for All

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Seven Reasons Why We Should Ban Nuclear Weapons Once and for All


Many regard nuclear weapons as a necessity for nations to defend themselves. While there were only two instances in history when nuclear weapons were used in warfare (the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in 1945), the UN says about 14,500 remain in the world today, along with over 2,000 nuclear tests conducted through the years.

The need for nuclear weapons is mostly driven by fear, and that need poses more disadvantages than benefits. Not only does this kind of arsenal pose a massive threat to everyone, but it also costs the taxpayers millions of dollars to create and test.

Here are other setbacks of nuclear weapons and why they should be banned for good.


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Difficult to control

Nukes are not only difficult to manage, but they are also imperfect—a very deadly combination. Although there were only several accidents that involve nuclear weapons, a major slipup may cause the lives of millions of people and destruction of property. Setting off nukes—accidentally or not—also puts civilians exposed to long-term effects of radiation, such as the development of cancer and miscarriage for pregnant women.


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Production is very expensive

Millions of dollars are needed to make and test a single nuclear weapon. For instance, North Korea reportedly spent over $3 billion to develop their nukes, and, a website that compiles lesser-known intriguing information on a variety of subjects, says the country has 60 so far. In comparison, the US has spent a total of $5 trillion for its nuclear weapons since 1941.


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They are pointless

The environmental organization Greenpeace questioned the need for such weapons in an era where humanity’s main threats are climate change, terrorism, and cyber-attacks. The organization asserts that nuclear weapons are “totally obsolete and unable to meet today’s challenges.” They added that the arsenal also fuels fear and causes distrust among countries instead of maintaining peace.


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Nuclear weapons are huge proliferation risks

Countries that already developed nuclear weapons increase their stockpiles of the weapon while others become nuclear-armed for the first time. Although an international non-proliferation treaty has been put into place to prevent risks, Greenpeace said these actions “remain—for the most part—empty rhetoric.

“How can it be possible to claim that the security of a nation is based on a nuclear deterrence policy when at the same time other nations are asked not to use this means of ‘security?’” the environmental group asked.


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They are a danger to the planet

The effects of nuclear weapons don’t end in the (possible) death of people and destruction of property. A nuclear blast leads to radiation, the fallout of which “does insurmountable harm to the atmosphere and the ecosystem,” said Setting off several nuclear weapons leads to more catastrophic results than their initial blast.


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The public has no say about them

Although nuclear weapons are developed by the state—meaning taxpayers’ money are used—the people have no say in their use. Only the country’s president has the authority to order setting nukes off. Such a decision is made only with members of Congress and the military, which means the public has no voice in the matter.


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Nukes are the only weapons of mass destruction that have yet to be (completely) banned

Biological and chemical weapons were banned worldwide in 1972 and 1993 respectively, but it’s not the case with nuclear weapons. Such an anomaly is currently being corrected with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons—set to come into force in 2020 and was already adopted by 122 member states of the UN in 2017.

While nuclear states boycotted this treaty, there is pressure building against them—from the growing number of countries and financial institutions that are cutting their investments in the production of nukes to thousands of people calling for a total ban on the weapons system.