Why Nuclear Disarmament Could Still Be the Most Important Thing There Is
In this column, Risto Isomäki, Finnish environmental activist and award-winning writer whose novels have been translated into several languages, describes the practically unimaginable capacity for destruction inherent in the nuclear facilities that currently exist around the world and argues that we have to try the impossible – force nuclear technologies back into the Pandora’s box from which they came.
By Risto Isomaki
HELSINKI, Nov 21 2014 (IPS)
At the height of the Cold War the world’s total arsenal of nuclear weapons, counted as explosive potential, may have amounted to three million Hiroshima bombs. The United States alone possessed 1.6 million Hiroshimas’ worth of destructive capacity.
Since then, much of this arsenal has been dismantled and the uranium in thousands of nuclear bombs has been converted to nuclear power plant fuel.
Future historians are likely to offer some stingy comments on how 20th century governments first used thousands of billions of dollars to laboriously enrich natural uranium to weapons grade uranium with gas centrifuges, and then reversed the process, diluting their weapons grade uranium with natural uranium.
This declining trend has led many people and governments to believe that nuclear disarmament is no longer an important issue.
It is true that the probability of a nuclear war is currently immensely smaller than during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 or during the other hair-raisingly dangerous moments of the Cold War.
In spite of this, it could be a grave mistake to assume that the danger is now over, forever.
We have not really been able to push the evil genie back into the bottle, yet. The remaining U.S. and Russian inventories might still amount to 80,000 Hiroshima bombs. This is approximately forty times less than at the height of Cold War’s nuclear armament race, but still much more than enough to destroy the world as we know …read more