Nuclear proliferation is defined as the transfer of nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons technology, or fissile material to countries that do not already have them. The word is also used to describe the possibility of terrorist organizations or other armed groups acquiring nuclear weapons. Nuclear proliferation can lead to catastrophic results for the planet and its inhabitants.
Nuclear weapons exist in three different states: active, inactive, and dismantled.
Nuclear weapons are devices designed to produce an explosive effect by releasing the energy stored in atoms of uranium or plutonium. They differ only in the type of fuel they use and in their size. A hydrogen bomb uses hydrogen gas as its primary explosive and produces almost twice as much energy as a nuclear weapon using uranium. However, it is much harder to make than one based on uranium.
The first atomic bombs were developed by the United States and Russia. Since then, several other nations have followed suit. Currently, there are approximately 15,000 nuclear warheads in existence. This number is growing each year because many countries want to acquire them for military purposes.
Nuclear weapons present a danger to everyone because even after they are no longer usable, they still contain radioactive materials that will continue to decay for thousands of years.
The spread of nuclear materials, weapons, and information is referred to as nuclear proliferation. Furthermore, several of the nuclear-weapons states are at conflict with one another and have unstable administrations. This has led some experts to question whether any country should be allowed access to nuclear technology.
The threat of nuclear terrorism is real and cannot be ignored. If left unchecked, it could cause a global catastrophe. The best way to prevent such an event is by reducing global tensions and stopping countries from acquiring nuclear weapons. But how can we stop people from going to war? There are only two ways: diplomacy or military action. If both countries involved in the conflict have nuclear weapons then peacekeeping forces will be unable to step in; instead, leaders will need to negotiate a settlement where each side gives up their nukes.
Nuclear weapons have been used in war twice: by America against Japan and by Russia against Germany. Both events resulted in the death of over 100,000 people. No country has ever used its nuclear weapons against another country but this scenario is known as nuclear deterrence. At its core, nuclear deterrence is a policy that aims to prevent violence by threatening to destroy any country that attacks first.
Nuclear weapons have also been used by film characters on multiple occasions.
Individuals or non-state entities acquiring nuclear weapons or nuclear materials and information, commonly referred to as "terrorists" (another form of horizontal proliferation). Another critical aspect of the nuclear proliferation problem is delivery techniques. Because nuclear weapons are designed to destroy targets many miles away, they must be able to reach such distances without being intercepted by enemy defenses.
Nuclear weapons can be used for horizontal proliferation in three ways: as a deterrent against invasion, as a means of warfare between states, and as a tool for criminal activity. As a deterrent against invasion, their purpose is to show that any attempt at aggression will lead to annihilation. This discourages would-be invaders from attempting to conquer other countries.
As a means of warfare between states, nuclear weapons are used by one country to attack military targets with high precision, causing extensive damage and loss of life. The only real way to prevent this type of attack is to have an equal number of nuclear weapons, thus preventing any one state from attacking another with nuclear weapons.
Finally, nuclear weapons can be used for criminal activity. Terrorists or criminals could use them to obtain financial gain or to achieve political goals. There have been several attempts over the years to use or acquire nuclear weapons, but all of them were thwarted before they could cause any harm.
Vertical proliferation is described as a growth in the quantity and types of nuclear weapons in nuclear armed nations' arsenals. Horizontal expansion entails Nuclear weapons transfers to non-nuclear weapon nations, or attempts at do so.
Nuclear weapon states that possess radioactive material capable of being used in nuclear weapons (radioactive states) have a legal obligation to prevent it from falling into unauthorized hands. Transfers of such materials to non-nuclear weapon states would therefore be illegal under international law.
Non-nuclear weapon states that have not made a decision not to use nuclear weapons (non-nuclear states) are not legally bound by nuclear disarmament treaties signed by their parents states. However there are no known cases of a non-nuclear state receiving nuclear weapons from its parent state. Non-nuclear states that do receive nuclear weapons may do so as gifts or loans from their parent states; however, these acquisitions must be declared by the receiving state and must not affect its status as a non-nuclear state.
Declarations of intention to acquire nuclear weapons have been made by several countries. Although these declarations are not acts of war, they are considered controversial since most nuclear-weapon states do not have any legal right to develop nuclear weapons. Some observers argue that acquiring nuclear weapons shows an intent to use them, thus making such states nuclear powers.
The spread of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems poses a serious danger to world and regional peace, security, and stability. It jeopardizes our capacity to accomplish all of the goals specified by the nations in the Treaty's framework. As a result, the battle against proliferation is a top concern for everyone. The risk of nuclear terrorism is another major factor driving the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.
Nuclear power has not yet been used in war, but it has been tested as part of military exercises. In 1999, the United States conducted two tests of its nuclear bomb in Nevada. They were the first nuclear weapons tests in over 15 years and were intended to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new weapon design. In 2005, North Korea claimed that it had successfully tested an underground nuclear device. However, many countries dispute this claim. No matter what country claims, the tests have always been banned by most of the nations on Earth because they pose a serious threat to global peace and security.
America has been at the forefront of seeking to prevent nuclear wars and promoting global peace and security. President John F. Kennedy made preventing nuclear war one of the main objectives of American foreign policy. He created a plan to eliminate all nuclear weapons, and other prominent leaders have also called for total nuclear disarmament.