Proliferation Of Nuclear Weapons - AP Seminar - Research Paper

5919 words - 24 pages

September 2007, Vol 97, No. 9 | American Journal of Public Health Sidel and Levy | Peer Reviewed | Weapons of Mass Destruction | 1589
Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: Opportunities
for Control and Abolition
| Victor W. Sidel, MD, and Barry S. Levy, MD, MPHNuclear weapons pose a
particularly destructive threat.
Prevention of the proliferation
and use of nuclear weapons
is urgently important to pub-
lic health.
“Horizontal” proliferation
refers to nation-states or
nonstate entities that do not
have, but are acquiring, nu-
clear weapons or develop-
ing the capability and mate-
rials for producing them.
“Vertical” proliferation refers
to nation-states that do pos-
sess nuclear weapons and
are increasing their stock-
piles of these weapons, im-
proving the technical so-
phistication or reliability of
their weapons, or develop-
ing new weapons.
Because nation-states or
other entities that wish to
use or threaten to use nu-
clear weapons need meth-
ods for delivering those
weapons, proliferation of
delivery mechanisms must
also be prevented. Control-
ling proliferation—and ulti-
mately abolishing nuclear
weapons—involves national
governments, intergovern-
mental organizations, non-
governmental and profes-
sional organizations, and
society at large. (Am J Pub-
lic Health. 2007;97:1589–
1594. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2006.
proliferation of nuclear weapons
is one of the major challenges
we face as a global society. Given
that public health is “what we, as
a society, do collectively to en-
sure the conditions in which
people can be healthy,”1(p189) con-
trolling the proliferation of nu-
clear weapons—and ultimately
abolishing them—must be a
major global health priority.
The threat posed by the prolif-
eration of nuclear weapons has
3 major aspects:
1. The development of the capa-
bility for producing or acquir-
ing nuclear weapons by coun-
tries that do not currently have
nuclear weapons (horizontal
2. The increase of weapon
stockpiles by countries that
currently have nuclear weap-
ons, the improvement of tech-
nical sophistication or reliabil-
ity of these weapons, and the
development of new weapons,
such as “mini-nukes” or bat-
tlefield nuclear weapons (ver-
tical proliferation).
3. The acquisition of nuclear
weapons or the materials and
knowledge by individuals or
nonstate entities, often termed
“terrorists,” to produce nu-
clear weapons (another form
of horizontal proliferation).
Another important component
of the nuclear proliferation issue
involves delivery mechanisms. In
order to pose a nuclear threat,
nations or other entities not only
need these weapons but also
need missiles or other methods
for delivering them.
Controlling proliferation of nu-
clear weapons involves national
governments, intergovernmental
organizations, and nongovern-
mental (civil-society) organiza-
tions. Governments thus far have
attempted to control the prolifer-
ation of nuclear weapons
through bilateral ...

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