It is such a supreme folly to believe that nuclear weapons are deadly only if they’re used. The fact that they exist at all, their presence in our lives, will wreak more havoc than we can begin to fathom. Nuclear weapons pervade our thinking. Control our behavior. Administer our societies. Inform our dreams. They bury themselves like meat hooks deep in the base of our brains. They are purveyors of madness. – Arundhathi Roy

Nuclear Weapons are Costly

The U.S. is on track to spend between $620 billion and $661 billion on nuclear weapons and related programs over the next decade. Escalating costs associated with so-called “modernization” plans are forcing Congress to divert funds from essential programs like education, health-care, and job training to invest in a force that is bloated and dangerous. These expensive plans are plagued with cost overruns and are ridiculed by watchdog groups for their poor management. 

As we negotiate bilateral and multilateral treaties to reduce the nuclear threat, the U.S. can not send the wrong message by spending unprecedented amounts on our nuclear arsenal. As President Obama signals to the world that the U.S. views disarmament as a priority, we create distrust with escalating spending on the nuclear arsenal. Urge Congress to reduce spending on unwise Life Extension Programs and invest in our economic competitiveness. 

Learn more about Life Extension Programs here

International Arms Control Cooperation is Building 

Over the past century, world governments have increasingly looked to create laws that govern the conduct of nations in war. The institutions that work to verify these international agreements have become robust and the rules enabling their ability to provide verifiable oversight have also been strengthened. Today, the international community has over 330 international monitoring stations that provide rapid data if any country attempts to test nuclear weapons (a step in developing a nuclear weapons program). Any international agreement that would move us closer to abolition would also include robust on-the-ground inspections using lessons learned from the process the U.S. and Russia have developed over years of nuclear arms control cooperation. The alternative to serious nuclear disarmament efforts is the status-quo where countries will continue to develop nuclear weapons programs over time and we will increasingly face a world that teeters on the brink of nuclear war.

Nuclear Weapons Humanitarian Consequences are Catastrophic

Nuclear weapons are unique in their destructive power and the threat they pose to the environment and human survival. They release vast amounts of energy in the form of blast, heat and radiation. No adequate humanitarian response is possible. In to the nuclear winter scenario that many are familiar with, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) studied how a regional nuclear war involving around 100 Hiroshima-sized weapons would disrupt the global climate and agricultural production so severely that more than a billion people would be at risk of famine.

In an International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War report, Zero is the Only Option, experts from PSR and around the world analyzed several scenarios concerning the use of nuclear weapons. From a medical perspective, the aftermath of a nuclear attack makes any effective medical responsible infeasible. The resulting conclusions describe a level of catastrophic harm that must compel all to act to abolish these weapons.

Learn more about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons at PSR and at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.