Atomic Bombs and Nuclear Weapon should be Abolished

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“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” (Oppenheimer) This sentence, quoted by J Robert Oppenheimer from the Bhagavad Gita, became all too relevant on July 16th, 1945. It was on that warm, summer’s day when the scientists working on The Manhattan Project successfully tested a weapon more powerful than ever before. This weapon, known as “Trinity”, was the first weapon ever created that harnessed nuclear energy. Ever since that first test, all the nations of the world have entered into an arms race for nuclear weapons. This raises the following questions: how long would it take for one country to unleash the inferno that is modern day nuclear bombs, and what would happen when that day comes? The simple answer is that this inevitable global conflict would most certainly mean the end of life on earth. Thus, the best decision The United States -and the world- can make is to omit the use of nuclear weapons.

To truly understand the effects of a worldwide nuclear outbreak, it’s important to first analyze the destruction a single nuclear bomb can cause. For example, the first atomic bomb used in warfare, “Little Boy”, used in World War II, had an explosive force equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT and completely decimated the city of Hiroshima, Japan. It resulted in the deaths of approximately 237,000 people both directly and indirectly over the course of ten years (Atomic Heritage Foundation). When a nuclear bomb detonates, the initial blast is so intense that it burns everything it touches (Approx. 300,000 degrees Kelvin at its core.)

Radiation is then carried into the sky in the form of a mushroom cloud, and can travel thousands of miles depending on wind speed and blast size. The radiation cloud, known as “fallout”, descends on the surrounding areas and poisons any organic life that it comes into contact with (Fung). “Within minutes, patients [exposed to high doses of radiation] experience severe vomiting and diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, and unconsciousness. Seizures and tremors are common, as is ataxia, or the loss of control of voluntary muscle function. Death within 48 hours is inevitable” (Condliffe). This evidence shows that those not eradicated in the initial blast are often exposed to radiation, and prolonged exposure can be extremely lethal.

After the blast, victims of the attack would have to survive the major repercussions. Brian Toon and Alan Robock, who have studied the effects of nuclear war for 30 years as professors of climatology, predict that: “If each country used half of their nuclear arsenal, that would be 50 weapons on each side. We assumed the simplest bomb, which is the size dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki — a 15 kiloton bomb… In the 5 years after this war, using less than one percent of the global arsenal on the other side of the world, global food production would go down by 20-40 percent for 5 years, and for the next 5 years, 10-20 percent” (Conn). This predicts what’s known as a nuclear winter, which is the environmental repercussion of hundreds of nuclear bombs detonating.

According to The Federation of American Scientists, “The results of such a scenario are obvious. Temperatures would be much too cold to grow food, and they would remain this way long enough to cause most humans and animals to starve to death. Global nuclear famine would ensue in a setting in which the infrastructure of the combatant nations has been totally destroyed, resulting in massive amounts of chemical and radioactive toxins being released into the biosphere. We don’t need a sophisticated study to tell us that no food and Ice Age temperatures for a decade would kill most people and animals on the planet” (Starr). Because of the massive clouds of dust, ash, and nuclear materials in the atmosphere there would be very limited sunlight; the dark atmosphere would cause global temperatures to drop exponentially and the earth would enter into a new ice age. The devastating effects of a nuclear winter on the planet would destroy a very large portion of the world’s populations.

In the following years, those who survived both the initial blast and the nuclear winter would be forced to live in toxic, unpredictable conditions. Proof of this can be found near the site of the Chernobyl disaster where, as measured in 2009, the radiation in areas surrounding the Chernobyl Power Plant range from 0.3-336 uSv/hour; many of them measuring a dose that could be lethal in only 10-20 minutes. (The Chernobyl Gallery). This is an important point to note due to the fact that following a nuclear winter, most human populations would not be alive to maintain nuclear power plants. Because of this, all 433 nuclear reactors would meltdown leaving the Earth “completely uninhabitable over the next 156 years, due to the soil and atmosphere being contaminated by the radioactive isotope cesium-137” (Rudnev). If the human race wasn’t completely eradicated by the initial blast or the resulting nuclear winter, it can be said with certainty that when all the nuclear reactors melted down there would be no chance of survival.

To make matters worse, the nuclear weapons of modern day are more powerful and far more abundant than they were in World War II. The B83 Bomb, the United State’s most common nuclear weapon, is 80 times more powerful than early devices (Harrison). However, even the B83 pales in comparison to the Tsar Bomba. The Russian-made Tsar Bomba was the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated to date, boasting a 50 megaton payload. A weapon of this scale would be capable of killing millions and would be hot enough to disintegrate cities (Harrison). Luckily, only one Tsar Bomba was ever created, and the larger prototype created by the Russians was never completed. This leaves the B83 as the largest nuclear weapon currently in use, with 650 currently in the United State’s arsenal (Kristensen and Norris). In the world’s arsenal, there are just under 10,000 nuclear warheads that, on average, yield 200 kilotons of power. (Davenport). With humanity’s newfound ability to destroy the world with the simple press of a button, the probability of the world entering into a nuclear conflict is dangerously high.

However, this fate could be avoided if the world decided to denuclearize. Bruce G. Blair, the founder and CEO of Global Zero, a nonprofit organization dedicated to removing nuclear weapons from the world’s many arsenals, claims that denuclearization is not only possible, but with Global Zero’s deterrence-only strategy, it is highly probable (Blair 53). Global Zero describes their deterrence-only strategy saying, “Attack plans would no longer be directed primarily at opposing nuclear forces. Instead, deterrence would be explicitly based on threatening to destroy the key elements of state control and economic power in response to their nuclear aggression…cyber weapons are increasingly potent and would make a significant contribution” (Blair 54).

Put simply, a deterrence-only strategy is based upon the premise of stopping nuclear attacks before they happen. To do so, defending countries threaten the opposition’s key resources, using cyber weapons that don’t have environmental repercussions. This strategy effectively transforms any potential nuclear threat into a standoff, much like the Cold War during the 1960s. While this may not seem like a viable permanent solution to the looming nuclear threat, it would prevent a war until all nuclear weapons could be dismantled.

To conclude, the best decision the world could make is to denuclearize completely. The heat and intensity of nuclear blasts, extreme famines from nuclear winter, and high doses of radiation from power plant meltdowns would prove impossible to survive. The most effective solution to this ever present threat of nuclear devastation is to take action and dismantle all current nuclear weapons. In order to save the Earth, and anything populating it, nuclear weapons need to be abolished and methods of deterrence must be put into place.

Works Cited

  1. Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – 1945. (2014, June 05). Retrieved from https://www.atomicheritage.org/history/bombings-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-1945
  2. Condliffe, J. (2013, June 17). What Nuclear Radiation Does To Your Body. Retrieved from https://gizmodo.com/5928171/what-nuclear-radiation-does-to-your-body
  3. Conn, A. (2018, June 05). Nuclear Winter with Alan Robock and Brian Toon. Retrieved from https://futureoflife.org/2016/10/31/nuclear-winter-robock-toon-podcast/?cn-reloaded=1
  4. Harrison, G. (2016, October 09). The terrifying true scale of nuclear explosions will chill you to the bone. Retrieved from https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1936054/how-big-is-a-nuclear-mushroom-cloud-the-true-scale-of-a-nuclear-explosion-will-chill-you-to-the-bone/
  5. PlenilunePictures. (2011, August 06). Retrieved December 19, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb13ynu3Iac
  6. Radiation levels. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.chernobylgallery.com/chernobyl-disaster/radiation-levels/
  7. Starr, S. (n.d.). Nuclear War, Nuclear Winter, and Human Extinction. Retrieved from https://fas.org/pir-pubs/nuclear-war-nuclear-winter-and-human-extinction/
  8. Blair, B. (2018, September). The End of Nuclear Warfighting; Moving to a Deterrence-Only Posture (Chapter 7). Retrieved from https://www.globalzero.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/ANPR-Final.pdf

Cite this paper

Atomic Bombs and Nuclear Weapon should be Abolished. (2022, Mar 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/atomic-bombs-and-nuclear-weapon-should-be-abolished/



Are atomic bombs banned in war?
Yes, atomic bombs are banned in war. The use of atomic bombs is considered a war crime, and is punishable by death.
Can atomic bombs be stopped?
Yes, atomic bombs can be stopped. However, it is difficult to do so once they have been detonated.
Why nuclear weapons should be abolished?
1. They are inhumane and cause needless suffering. 2. They are a threat to global security and stability.
Why should nuclear weapons be allowed?
The threat of mutually assured nuclear destruction deters countries from engaging in total interstate wars and gives countries incentive to strengthen international institutions through arms control treaties and collective security measures.
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