INTRODUCTION: During the past decades life expectancy doubled as enormous life threatening diseases got uprooted and eradicated. This paved way to an era of new horizon. But we should not become an “owl in the day” and only praise scientific and technological discoveries. Considering the darker aspect of the sight, we have devalued the life quality improving measures by advancing in nuclear technology and building nuclear bombs, a human invention possessing the tendency of destroying life on earth in an instant. Just with a trigger or button-press life can transform to death. People owing to nuclear Armageddon fear, link the power of atom synonymous with global destruction.
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: Factual analysis procures that the advancement in nuclear physics in 1898 by Pierre and Marie Curie, discovering pitchblende, an ore of uranium and services to nuclear physics by Ernst Rutherford and Fredrick Soddy deserve significant blame in heading today’s world towards the present climacteric situation, where there is no room left for complicacy.
Winston Churchill speculated its lethal and fatal military implications and in 1924 connoted “Might not a bomb no bigger than an orange be found to possess a secret power to destroy a whole block of building- nay to concentrate the force of a thousand tons of cordite and blast a township at a stroke.”
Expressing the scenario in this perspective Leo Szilard who in 1934 patented the idea of nuclear chain reactions via neutrons, Irene and Frederic Joliot Curie who discovered artificial radioactivity in 1934, Otto Hann and Fritz Stassman who detected Barium in 1938 after bombarding uranium with neutrons and mainly the scientists at Columbia University who on January 25, 1939 conducted a successful first nuclear experiment in US which gave passage to the identification of an active uranium isotope U-235, fall under the blame game zone. But this deems unjust. Political factionalism is the keystone and fundamental linchpin that paved way to enriching uranium, polonium and flourishing weapon grading systems. Credit of bolstering in the field of nuclear technology goes to both physicists and political legislature/public office bearers. So rather than being a direful fission reaction, it’s a binary fusion- fission reaction, involving a game of two notations, one being scientific advancements and the other being nuclear armament race for political acumen.
CIRCUMSTANCS INSINUATING NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION URGE: The Manhattan project led by US and the attack on Pearl Harbor enlivened the desideratum of nuclear armament for national defense, security and indemnity. During the era of World War 2 on July 16, 1945, first nuclear test with code name “trinity” was successfully conducted in New Mexico. On July 26, 1945 Potsdam declaration was issued to Japan containing an ultimatum to either surrender or otherwise face utter destruction. On August 6, 1945 the world underwent the biggest catastrophic situation when uranium graded nuclear bomb coded as “little boy” was detonated above the Japanese city of Hiroshima and after a gap of three days polonium based weapon was dropped down at Nagasaki exploding the yield of around 12,500 tons of TNT. The two atomic raids killed around 75 thousand Japanese where as tens of thousands died later owing to radiation sickness and destroyed nearly 50,000 building.
In the mean time nuclear anxiety spread across Europe expedite and wealthy industrialized states of that time like Italy, Sweden etc started working to explore nuclear option anxiously.
MEASURES FOR CURBING NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION
Taking into consideration the destructions that would be visited upon in case of a nuclear war and perceiving that the proliferation of nuclear arms would seriously enhance the vulnerability to life, a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly was passed calling for the conclusion of an agreement on the prevention of wider dissemination of nuclear technology.
THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA)
The IAEA was established by a unanimous resolution of United Nations in 1957 with the aim of assuring that international community honors the treaty and uses nuclear technology for peaceful progression. The IAEA was authorized to inspect and maintain a check and balance on material accountability, Physical security and containment and surveillance of nuclear material
NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION TREATY (NPT)
In the year 1968 a treaty named Nuclear Proliferation Treaty was opened for signature to curb nuclear proliferation and in 1970 it entered into force. According to United Nations Office for Disarmament affairs (UNODA), USA, USSR, UK, France and China are the five states possessing nuclear technology out of total 191 signatories till 1995.
NPT AS A NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION SAFEGUARD
NPT serves as a commitment that the countries would neither transfer nuclear weapons nor assist non-nuclear states in attaining this technology. The treaty is reviewed on five yearly bases. NPT has been a perceptible international success in curtailing civil uranium for military uses. NPT stipulates and pursuit negotiations in good faith taking into consideration the cessation of nuclear arms race. It permits peaceful usage of nuclear energy which can contribute positively to mankind.
Only four recognized sovereign states India, Pakistan, Israel and are not parties to this treaty. Though they have attained nuclear capability after 1967 but they would need to dismantle their nuclear weapons and place nuclear material under international protection before signing in the NPT, the pathway only adopted by South Africa up till today. In short, the treaty has not been properly abided and is facing mounting challenges.
India conducted nuclear tests in 1974. Though India indulged in dialogical process with NPT but didn’t join it criticizing it as discriminatory. India’s nuclear test gave momentum to Pakistan’s nuclear aspiration.
PAKISTAN: Pakistan’s nuclear program was successfully completed in 1975 when Dr. Qadir Khan launched a centrifuge plant at Kahuta. In May 1988 Pakistan conducted five nuclear tests.
Israel according to some sources developed nuclear technology in 1960’s with assistance from French firms at Dimona but has not conducted nuclear tests publically as its arsenal.
North Korea possesses active nuclear weapons program and has tested nuclear explosive devices in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016. Being capable of enriching Uranium and producing weapon grade polonium, North Korea has deployed ballistic missiles and in January 2003 Pyongyang withdrew from the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear weapons (NPT) for the sake of not allowing the country’s security and the dignity to be infringed upon. In December 2015 Kim Jong Un claimed to possess thermonuclear capabilities and on September 3, 2017 North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test stating it to be a thermonuclear weapon/hydrogen bomb. This test soared tension and prompted great international condemnation.
Iran endorsed NPT in 1970, describing its nuclear program subject to the IAEA’s verification; hence she has been in talks over its nuclear program with world powers. In 2006 the UN Security Council passed resolution 1696 and imposed sanctions on Iran after its refusal of suspension of its undergoing uranium enriching programs because that might trigger an arm race in the Middle East. In 2015 the Islamic Republic of Iran and the five world power :P5+1 (the permanent members of United Nations Security Council), signed a framework agreement which hindered Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapon armament and in return was given an incentive of uplifting of economic sanctions from Tehran.
Nuclear non-proliferation is a set of measures and restrictions that may aid in culminating the nuclear weapon technology and minimizing the existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons. To reach this milestone we need to draft a global alliance for developing a system of layered nuclear fuel assurance for combating nuclear terrorism. Valuing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), NPT, Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Zangger Committee and modeling new emboldened nuclear arm control treaties and recognizing their worth can play positively for nuclear elimination.
ASPECTS LINKED TO NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
Here a question arises:
Can we permanently get rid of terribly devastating consequences that we might have to face in future by dint of nuclear terrorism?
Technically, off course. Definitely we can. And moreover we can achieve this target cordially and amicably with unity. Rather than implying any harsh non-proliferation action like Operation Opera of 1981,in which Israel destroyed nuclear reactors in Iraq through air strikes, international political architecture possess the tendency to address this agenda and override its vulnerability through negotiations and dialogical process, keeping aside the status quo for the sake of economic bloom/escalation imperative for global burgeon and progression.
The following measures may prove fruitful in this regard:
A peaceful, stable and individualistic forum trusted worldwide which ensures absolute prohibition of nuclear technology use for military purpose.
Formulization of an international security system based on global mutual trust, equality and cooperation for aided countries in nuclear disarmament in a diplomatic manner.
Establishment of an international nuclear fuel bank where nuclear states may fabricate their nuclear assets and then that material could be used as a source of energy for peaceful scientific advancements.Use of thorium fuel cycles which would limit the production of destructive uranium isotope with time.
Burning out the material in nuclear reactors and converting it into electricity for generating cheap power source.
The states possessing nuclear arsenals should disarm themselves gradually giving a positive message to the others.
All nuclear weapon states should renounce the nuclear deterrence policy and imply legal instruments in this regard.
Both nuclear-bearing and non-nuclear weapon states should agree to use nuclear technology for peaceful advancements and forgo the “nuclear umbrella” policy.
The terribly devastating consequences brought up by the nuclear bombings upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki reminds us of its deadly ruinous and irreconcilable impacts. Secondly, the currently prevailing North Korean issue also holds nuclear armament as a base root. As a matter of fact recent trends have brought the nuclear non-proliferation regime to a moment of grave crisis. Bolstering international restraints on the world’s deadliest weapon requires such realistic and concrete steps which strengthens and rebounds the existing treaties, partnerships and institutions. The need of the hour is to draft a global alliance for developing a system of layered nuclear fuel assurance for combating nuclear terrorism, improving economic stats rather than military strengthening, resulting in improvement in the life of a common man by reduced poverty rate.
As it is said “a man with a hammer sees every problem as a nail”
So, I being a modest political technologist and tranquility promoting social leader feel nuclear non-proliferation a key to global peace and harmony conductive to increased trade linkages and lessened derogatory relations among nations imperative for global opulence and prosperity.