By: Rebecca Graze, New York Times
The treatment of nuclear weapons has been a frequently discussed topic since they were first created in the 1940s as a result of their highly dangerous potential. During the Cold War, Major Powers put extensive effort into creating bigger and more destructive nuclear weapons, causing heightened tensions over how dangerous these weapons could be under use of leaders who aimed to inflict fear into others.
As the Cold War continued, the United States and the United Kingdom decided to work together by signing an agreement called the Quebec agreement, which allowed them to store their weapons in the region and they could only use them with the other country’s permission.
By the 1960s the United Kingdom, France, China, United States and the USSR were all in possession of operational nuclear warheads and came to the realization that extreme destruction and damage could be the result if one accident involving nuclear weapons would occur, contributing to a strong force against the proliferation of nuclear weapons that led the United Nations to form and pass the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), with its goal to bring world powers together with a collective goal of reducing the development of nuclear weapons and finding actions to restrict the possession of them, States with nuclear weapons in their possession in 1967 who had signed the treaty would begin disarmament and develop nuclear technology for peaceful uses.
As technology improved, nuclear weapons became more powerful and destructive. One of the largest being the Tsar Bomba, created by the Russians which was tested in 1960, with a destructive ability of almost 100 megatones. Once this was developed many countries were pressured to slow their testing of these weapons due to the health complications, after the Tsar Bomba was dropped the radiation released was clearly shown to have long-term negative health effects and continued testing would have hugely unfavourable impacted around the globe where the radiation moved to. Due to the outcome of the testing, the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty passed in 1963, which highly restricted the testing of nuclear weapons to only allowing them to be tested underground, where the effects of them would be the least catastrophic on the environment and civilians.
To this day the proliferation of nuclear weapons is a highly discussed topic and the questions about whether the world can continue to expand and improve technology safely with these weapons still in existence and therefore how are these weapons going to be safely disposed of are very prevalent in the modern world.