Australians understand that nuclear weapons kill indiscriminately and widely. Most of us know that the effects of nuclear weapons last for decades and longer. We also know that using nuclear weapons is simply a step too far in the name of security. The impact on humanity would be an unacceptable catastrophe.
Yet many of us don’t know that today there are more than 15,000 nuclear weapons, each one far more powerful than those used in Japan in 1945. It’s also alarming that 1,800 bombs are always on high alert.
Many may not remember that nuclear bombs killed as many as 210,000 people in 1945. Thousands have died since from sickness caused by the nuclear fallout. And the fallout still causes daily suffering for too many Japanese families.
Even closer to home Indigenous Australians still suffer from the effects of nuclear weapons testing in their homelands at Maralinga, from 1956-1963.
In 1945, the International Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement called on all “States to ensure they are never used again and to prohibit their use and eliminate them.”
World leaders are inching closer to making this happen.
Australian and global leaders increasingly recognise that the perceived security that modern nuclear weapons provide is at the risk of indiscriminate killing, widespread suffering and environmental damage on a massive scale.
They understand that every day, the risks mount of a nuclear incident triggered by aggression, an accidental explosion and cyber-attack or of nuclear weapons being appropriated by malicious armed groups.