Introduction – nuclear weapons
Nuclear weapons are massive explosive weapons that release their energy and destructive force through nuclear reactions – either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. A single nuclear weapon can devastate an entire city with blast, fire and radiation, making the weapon indiscriminate and unacceptable.
In 1945 the United States used nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as one of the final acts of World War II. A number of states have since tested nuclear weapons and currently stockpile the weapon. Five states were identified as ‘nuclear weapons states’ under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China. India, Pakistan, and North Korea have tested nuclear weapons. Israel is also considered to possess nuclear weapons. South Africa produced nuclear weapons, but subsequently disassembled them.
Many countries have declared themselves nuclear free and several regions have been declared nuclear free zones, including Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. A number of global groups exist today pressing for nuclear disarmament, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which is a global civil society coalition calling for immediate negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
To learn more and take action in your country, visit the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.