The Doomsday Clock is an internationally recognized design that conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making. First and foremost among these are nuclear weapons, but the dangers include climate-changing technologies, emerging... Read More
A typhoon was coming, the fuel pump failed, they had to switch planes, things were wired incorrectly, they missed their rendezvous, they couldn’t see the primary target, they ran out of gas on the way home, and they had to crash-land. But the worst part was when the Fat Man atomic bomb started to arm itself mid-flight.
In the classic film Dr. Strangelove, Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper was the ultimate insider threat. As the nuclear-armed B-52s that Ripper unilaterally dispatched proceeded toward their Soviet targets, the American president confronted Air Force Gen. Buck Turgidson in exasperation: "When you instituted the human reliability tests, you assured me there was no possibility of such a thing ever occurring." To which Turgidson replied, "Well, I don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir."
Since 1996, supporters have pushed for Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), arguing that the treaty would limit nuclear weapons proliferation and deter nuclear war. But the treaty does more than this -- it also has a health benefit. Put quite simply: No more tests, no more fallout.
The recognition of the need for nuclear disarmament and the question of how to achieve it are as old as the nuclear age. In June 1945, before the first nuclear weapon had been built, in what became known as the Franck Report, a group of scientists working on the U.S. atomic bomb program warned that:
On January 15, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by former secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and former Georgia Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, which 37 other national security experts also endorsed. Entitled "Toward A Nuclear-Free World," it was the second such essay in the Journal by these authors in as many years.