By Mary Granath & Camille Lyon Posted April 28, 2010
Though the actual use of nuclear weapons has never been common in the world’s history, these weapons continue to pose an imminent threat. It is for this reason that new treaties are being made and new legislation is being passed. Often referred to as the “nuclear club” there are nine nations believed to have nuclear weapons: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel.
Reducing and protecting the nuclear weapons in the world has been a priority of the Obama administration. Earlier this month, with the expiration of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), with Russia, President Obama was quick to act and re-instated the same principles of the treaty but with some new things added to it. This new treaty, signed in Prague, will be in effect for the next seven years. The treaty acts as an aid on arms control, and it improves U.S. and Russian relations.
The treaty will lower the use of long-range deployed nuclear warheads by 30%. The START treaty limits each side to 1,550 strategic nuclear weapons deployed and ready to fire, and to 700 deployed delivery systems (http://www.guardian.co.uk). However, according to the Center for Arms Control, this still leaves Russia and the United States with around 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons combined. Nevertheless, this is certainly a step toward a nuclear-free world.
On April 12 and 13 a nuclear summit was held in Washington D.C. to discuss the matter of protecting nuclear weapons in order to keep them away from terrorist groups. At this summit, President Viktor Yanukovich of Ukraine agreed to dispose of all of his country’s highly enriched uranium, which is used in nuclear weapons, within the next two years.
Recently the country of Chile has also decided to rid itself of nuclear weapons, therefore, turning over its entire store to the United States. The NNSA assistant deputy administrator, Andrew Bieniawski, stated that “When the material is no longer here, terrorists cannot acquire the material [and] the country is safer. That’s the bottom line.” (abcnews.go.com)