Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The Top Ten Things You Should Know About Nuclear Weapons
Image from the National Federation of American Scientists
1. Three atomic weapons existed in the world in 1945.
2. In 1986, nearly 70,000 nuclear weapons existed.
3. As of April 2009, there are more than 23,300 still in existence, including more than 8,190 operational warheads and around 2,200 U.S. and Russian warheads ready for use on short notice. 90% of all nuclear bombs are owned by two countries, the United States and Russia.
4. The Manhattan Project was conducted during World War II, primarily by the United States, to develop the first atomic bomb. Technology developed in this project was used to create the bombs dropped on Japan.
5. Three scientists at separate Manhattan Project major research sites came independently to the conclusion that the atomic bomb should not be used on civilians as there was no defense for it. They advocated for its use as demonstration only.
6. The Manhattan Project's technology is now readily available to almost anyone who has a personal computer.
7. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 were between 10 and 20 kilotons (one kiloton is the power of one thousand tons of TNT).
8. Immediate effects of a nuclear bomb include blast and thermal radiation. Delayed effects are produced by ionizing radiation, neutrons and radioactive fallout.
9. The first resolution of the United Nations, in January 1946, was to eliminate nuclear weapons.
10. The 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty, ratified by nearly every country in the world, requires the nuclear weapons states to engage in good faith negotiations for nuclear disarmament. This treaty was opened for signature on July 1, 1968, and today has 190 Parties, including the permanent members of the UN Security Council.