Help Us Shrink the Global Risk from Nuclear Weapons
Today there are over 12,500 nuclear weapons worldwide, owned by nine nations. About 90 percent of these weapons are owned by Russia and the United States, while France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea each have up to a few hundred weapons. The total number of operational and reserve warheads is increasing again after declining for several decades. There are about 2,000 warheads enabled to launch within minutes of receiving an order, making these weapons prone to launch by accident, without authorization, or by mistake in response to a false warning. All nine nuclear-armed states rely on the threat of use of nuclear weapons as part of their national security policy. Any use of nuclear weapons would have possibly catastrophic, even civilization-ending, consequences.
We, the physics community, helped create these weapons seventy-eight years ago and quickly became a voice for caution and restraint in their use. Today, this history positions us uniquely to return the nation’s gaze to the immense threat of nuclear weapons, and to provide a guide for how we can remedy it. Recent actions by nations that possess nuclear weapons have heightened our risk of nuclear catastrophe. The withdrawal from arms control treaties, new threats to nuclear weapons by cyber-attack, the increasingly complex web of relations and hostilities between nuclear weapons states, and the massive modernization of nuclear forces in the US and Russia, as well as China, are igniting a deadly new arms race. Together we can reverse this trend.
What We Offer
To build a national network of physicist-advocates on this issue, we are sending experts in nuclear arms control issues to physics institutions across the country to deliver colloquia, recruit physicists to the coalition, and foster local and national advocacy.
There are numerous practical steps to reduce the nuclear threat. We can advocate for the importance of international nuclear weapons treaties, beginning with extending New START for another five years. We can teach how the Launch-On-Warning option risks accidental nuclear war. We can defend the expert consensus that the US should not and need not resume explosive nuclear testing. Finally, we can urge our country to commit to a No-First-Use policy, and more.
Join the Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction to learn more about the modern threat of nuclear weapons, to advocate for common-sense threat reduction policies, and to share your perspective with the public and our government.