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Advances and hurdles in nuclear weapons control

nuclear-weapons-3Nuclear arms control in a globalized world OUP Blog BY JOHN BAYLIS OCTOBER 23RD 2016  We live in a dangerous and uncertain world. While terrorism is the most immediate contemporary threat, the dangers of nuclear weapons remain an ever present concern. During the Cold War a series of nuclear arms control agreements helped to mitigate the worst excesses of the arms race and contributed to the easing of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, and their respective alliances. Since 1985, however, the salience of nuclear weapons in international relations has declined, even though the nine nuclear weapons states continue to possess in excess of 10,000 nuclear weapons between them. Many other states have the potential to develop nuclear arms, and fears exist that terrorist groups might acquire some form of nuclear capability. A key question in global security is whether nuclear arms control still has a future?

In 2010 the United States and Russia signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) which involved significant cuts to be made in strategic delivery vehicles (SDVs) and in nuclear warheads in the period up to February 2018. SDVs were to be cut to 700 and nuclear warheads to 1500. Despite the problems over the Ukraine and deteriorating US-Russian relations, both countries by 2016 are very close to these targets, and key provisions of the Treaty including data exchanges, notifications, and on-site inspections have all been met.

As well as New START, the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) Process, initiated by President Obama has also resulted in some important improvements. Starting in 2010, 53 countries have participated in a series of meetings designed to reduce the amount of dangerous nuclear materials (enriched uranium and plutonium) and to improve security of these materials. 12 of 22 NSS participating states are now free of enriched uranium, and 35 states have signed up to a joint statement binding them to strengthen their nuclear security. These summits have helped to set the foundations for a global nuclear security regime.

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October 24, 2016 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war

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