Nuclear Weapons

The Cold War is over, but the United States and Russia still keep thousands of nuclear weapons on alert and in reserve. Understand the issues with our technical and political analysis.


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What’s the Connection Between Hiroshima and Harlem?

, China project manager and senior analyst

A drawing depicts a final parting between Miyoko Matsubara, the artist, and her friend Michiko, after both were badly burned during the 1945 bombing of Japan. Matsubara Miyoko, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

On June 6, 1964 the American civil-rights activist Yuri Kochiyama hosted a group of Japanese hibakusha in her Harlem apartment. The survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were on a 150-city World Peace Study Mission to share their experience of the bomb. Miyoko Matsubara was among them. She was 12 when “Little Boy” exploded over Hiroshima. She described what happened when she regained consciousness after the blast.

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Resuming Nuclear Testing a Slap in the Face to Survivors

Lilly Adams, , UCS

D. Meyers/Unsplash

The news that the Trump administration is considering resuming nuclear weapons testing is morally abhorrent. The current US moratorium on nuclear testing was put in place for many reasons, but we must not forget one crucial reason: In conducting explosive nuclear tests, the US government killed thousands of innocent people and sickened untold thousands more.
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Nuclear Weapons, Frontline Communities, and the COVID Stimulus. What You Need to Know.

Lilly Adams, , UCS

On March 1, 1954 the US tested a nuclear weapon 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The blast from the Castle Bravo test over the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands rained down over a 7,000 square mile area. U.S. Department of Energy

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to confront the vast inequities in our society that have made this virus more deadly in some communities than others. This is also true in the world of nuclear weapons policy: US nuclear weapons activities have, and continue to, hurt communities through harmful and sometimes deadly radiation exposure. Now, the survivors of this radiation exposure are also at greater risk from COVID-19. Effective COVID-19 response requires that those who need care can receive it. It also means recognizing who is at greatest risk, and addressing their needs. As we gear up for another stimulus package, UCS and more than 100 other organizations across the country are calling for Congress to include funding for health care access for communities directly harmed by US nuclear activities.  Read more >

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Does Japan Have Nuclear Weapons?

, China project manager and senior analyst

Japan does not have its own nuclear weapons. The Japanese government considered developing them in the past, but decided this would make Japan less secure. Japanese opinion polls consistently express strong public opposition to nuclear weapons. So do their elected representatives.

There is, however, a small group of non-elected Japanese bureaucrats with close ties to the U.S. defense establishment who insist U.S. nuclear weapons should be “the core of Japan’s security arrangements.” Wonks refer to this supposed core as “extended nuclear deterrence.” Journalists and politicians, especially in Japan, call it a “nuclear umbrella.”

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US Should Extend the New START Nuclear Weapons Treaty To Make Us All Safer

, co-director and senior scientist

Obama and Medvedev signing the New START treaty (Source: White House photo)

According to an AP News story, last Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the fate of the 2010 New START agreement, as well as potential future agreements to limit nuclear weapons.

Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s desire to extend New START from February 2021 until 2026 and clarified that two of Russia’s new weapon systems would be covered under the treaty. This alone should be reason for the United States to extend New START. But Russia has also said it is open to negotiating a new treaty that would limit other Russian weapons systems now under development.

This is a no-brainer. It is foolhardy for the United States to throw out something good because it wants something better, leaving it with nothing.

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