In its Voices of Tomorrow feature, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists invites graduate students, undergraduates, and high school scholars to submit essays, opinion pieces, and multimedia presentations addressing at least one of the Bulletin's core issues: nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change, biosecurity, and threats from emerging technologies.
The humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons is seen as one of the wild cards at the upcoming NPT Review Conference. In recent years, a growing number of non-nuclear weapons states (of the New Agenda Coalition) and civil society groups have been calling attention to the impact of nuclear weapons upon human welfare.
On Monday, diplomats will gather in New York for a conference to review the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Held once every five years, the Review Conference is an opportunity to assess progress on the treaty’s basic bargain: States without nuclear weapons promise not to build them if the five nuclear states promise to get rid of theirs. This conference comes at a critical time. For 70 years, the nonproliferation regime has limited the spread of nuclear weapons.
Speaking from the White House earlier this month, President Obama announced details of a framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1—the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany—that limits Iran’s path to building a nuclear weapon over the next 10 to 15 years.
Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have made countless headlines since 2013, when Tehran and six world powers reached an interim agreement on how to move forward. The country’s enrichment capacity, heavy water reactors, and past weaponization activities have all been under close scrutiny by the international community and press. But little attention has been paid to a crucial part of the discussions: nuclear safety.