The Basics

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					Nuclear Weapons Today

    A presentation prepared by the
   Medical Association for Prevention
                of War
Nuclear Weapons Today

   The Weapons
   The Effects
   The Locations
   The International

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The Basics
Nuclear Weapon Cores
  Fission weapons require “fissile isotopes”
  Most important - plutonium-239 (Pu-239)
   and uranium-235 (U-235)
  Some weapons are made from both
  Basic nuclear weapons rely on nuclear
   fission chain reaction to produce large
   amount of energy in a very short time
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Nuclear Explosions
    Explosive power measured by the mass
     equivalent of TNT:
      A 1 kiloton bomb has an explosive yield
       equivalent to 1000 tons of TNT
      A 1 megaton bomb has an explosive yield
       equivalent to 1,000,000 tons of TNT

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  Weapons grade - produced in military
   plutonium-production reactors specifically
   for nuclear weapons use
  Reactor grade - produced in all nuclear-
   power reactors
        For electricity production, but can be used to
         make weapons

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   Powerful nuclear
   Highly radioactive
    and toxic
   The half-life of
    plutonium is 24,500
   Remains hazardous
    for 250,000 years

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  Naturally occurring uranium contains
   0.7% U-235
  Weapons use highly-enriched uranium
   (HEU) - proportion of U-235 increased
  Weapons grade - usually enriched to
   greater than 90%, but lower percentages
   still useable

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Separated Plutonium Stocks
   Country    Military                Civil plutonium
   Russia    95 tonnes                   88 tonnes
   US        47 tonnes                   45 tonnes
   UK        3.2 tonnes                 96.2 tonnes
   France     5 tonnes                  78.6 tonnes
   China     4.8 tonnes                       -
   Israel    0.6 tonnes                       -
   India     0.4 tonnes                  1.5 tonnes
   Japan          -                      5.4 tonnes
   Germany        -                     12.5 tonnes
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Estimated HEU stocks

  Country      Military highly-enriched
  Russia                    1070 tonnes
  US                         575 tonnes
  UK                        21.9 tonnes
  France                      29 tonnes
  China                       20 tonnes
  Pakistan                    1.1 tonnes

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Core requirements
    A 20 kt nuclear bomb requires:
       4-5 kg of weapons grade plutonium OR
      10-15 kg of weapons grade uranium

    A 1kt nuclear weapon could be made
        1 kg of weapons-grade plutonium OR
        2.5 kg of weapons-grade uranium

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The fission process
  Nucleus of U-235 or Pu-329 captures a
   neutron - U-236, Pu-240 nucleus formed.
  U-236, Pu-240 very unstable, rapidly split
   into two (fission)
  Neutrons and a large burst of energy are
        Complete fissioning of 1 gram of U-235
         releases 23,000 kilowatt-hours of heat

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The fission process

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Critical mass
  Each nucleus undergoing fission must
   produce a neutron that splits another
  Critical mass - the minimum mass of fissile
   material that can sustain a nuclear fission
   chain reaction
  Sphere is optimum shape

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Nuclear explosions
  Nuclear explosions occur at super-critical
  Basic weapons contain fissile material less than
   critical mass.
  Within half a millionth of a second:
     Temperatures - hundreds of millions degrees
      centigrade, and pressures - millions of
      atmospheres, build up

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  Isotopes of hydrogen - deuterium and tritium
  Extremely high temperatures required for
   reaction to occur
  Require a fission bomb to provide energy to
   initiate reaction
  Used mainly to „boost‟ fission bombs - increase
   fission rate by providing more high energy

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Main Components Of Nuclear Weapons

  High quality, high purity conventional high
   explosives and reliable detonators
  Electronic circuits
  A tamper and neutron reflector
  A core of fissile material
  A neutron source

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Detonation techniques
 Gun technique
    Only used with HEU
    Mass of sub-critical HEU fired at another -
     sum of two masses supercritical
    Simple technique

    Long assembly time

    Hiroshima bomb

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Detonation techniques
    Implosion technique
      1/10 the assembly time of the gun technique
      HEU or plutonium can be used

      Fissile core surrounded by conventional
       high explosives

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Detonation techniques
    Implosion technique
      Explosives detonate and uniformly
       compress the core and increase its density,
       making it super-critical
      Neutrons also fired into fissile material to
       encourage fission chain reaction

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Delivery Systems:

   Gravity Bombs
   Ballistic Missile
   Cruise Missile

     Other Forms:
  -   Anti-ballistic Missiles
  -   Anti-submarine Warfare

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Tactical vs. Strategic Nuclear Weapons

  Tactical:
    US and Russian definition - less than
     500 km range
  Strategic:
    Intended to be detonated in other
     countries, i.e. intercontinental delivery

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Launch on Warning (LoW)
  Retaliation with nuclear weapons to a
   perceived nuclear attack by another
  Response to a warning (by radar or
   satellite sensors) of attacking missiles
  Decision must be made in minutes

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The Effects of Nuclear Weapons
August 6, 1945

     US detonated a 15
      kiloton bomb over
      Hiroshima, Japan

   Deaths – 66,000
   Injuries - 69,000

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August 9, 1945

     US detonated a 21 kiloton bomb over
      Nagasaki, Japan

   Deaths - 73,884
   Injuries - 74,909
   6.7 million square metres leveled

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki
     Ground temperatures
      reached about 7,000

     “Black rain” containing
      radioactive fallout
      poured down for hours
      after the explosions

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One-Megaton Bomb Detonated In The Air

    Flash
      Intense flash of light, a thousand times
       brighter than lightning
      Pulse of heat radiation - sets fire to
       combustible material 14 km away
      Pulse of X-rays, lethal within 3 km

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One-Megaton Bomb Detonated In The Air

    Fireball
      Forms after the „flash‟ and rises in the air
      Can permanently blind people up to 80 km
      All exposed body parts burned deeply within
       10 km
      Superficial burns within fifteen km

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One-Megaton Bomb Detonated In The Air

    Blast
      Powerful blast wave - starts immediately,
       but travels slower than the flash and
      Destroys everything within 2 km

      100% fatalities within 3 km

      50% of people killed within 8 km

      Major damage to buildings within 14 km,
       windows broken out to 20-30 km
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One-Megaton Bomb Detonated In The Air

    Blast
      Hurricane force winds, first outwards, then
      Tornado force winds (six hundred km/hr),
       within four km - can drive glass splinters into
      People picked up and hurled into any object
       strong enough to be still standing

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One-Megaton Bomb Detonated In The Air

    Firestorm
      Fires started by the first flash coalesce
      Cause sufficient updraft to form their
       own wind, which blows inwards from all
       sides - increasing the intensity of the fire
      Fire uses all available oxygen

      “People caught in the open would melt,
       those in shelters would probably be

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One-Megaton Bomb Detonated In The Air

    Acute Radiation Exposure
      Central nervous system dysfunction
      Gastrointestinal damage

      Uncontrolled internal bleeding

      Bleeding from gums or within the skin

      Massive infections

      Death

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One-Megaton Bomb Detonated In The Air

    Delayed Radiation
      Everything in vicinity of explosion radioactive
      Hiroshima - radioactive rainstorms

      1/3 of original fissile material not destroyed

      Widespread contamination
      Increased risk of developing cancer for

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One-Megaton Bomb Detonated In The Air

    In case of a nuclear bomb - don‟t bother
     to call your doctor
      No significant medical response possible
      Hospitals destroyed, most health care
       providers killed

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One-Megaton Bomb Detonated In The Air

    Medical response barriers
      No electricity, water or telephone service
      No drugs, sterile IV solutions, bandages

      Impassable roads, inaccessible areas

      Overloading of emergency/ hospital
       services in surrounding areas
      Rescuers risk radiation exposure

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One-Megaton Bomb Detonated In The Air

    Medical problems: one city of 1-2 million
      Fifty times more severe burns than burn beds
       in North America
      A year‟s supply of blood for transfusions
       needed immediately
      Bottlenecks and delays due to the need for
       radioactivity assays
      Most of injured die, even from easily treated

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One-Megaton Bomb Detonated At
  Enormous crater - 400 metres wide and 70
   metres deep
  Major fallout of radioactive particulates,
   potentially lethal hundreds of kilometres
  Area of blast damage and immediate deaths
   about one half of air detonation scenario
  More deaths days to weeks after bomb due to
   radiation sickness from fallout

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Effect Of Nuclear War
  Many nuclear bombs exploded
  Radioactive contamination of whole
  Permanent large scale damage to
  Nuclear winter

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Nuclear Winter
  Airborne contaminants absorb and
   reflect the sun‟s rays
  Results in an extended period of semi-
   darkness and freezing temperatures
  Potentially generated from less than 100

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Nuclear Winter

      The view of the Earth from Apollo 10 (18 May 1969)
     from 26,000 nautical miles on its journey to the Moon

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Nuclear Winter

    This is what the world would look like after a large-scale
                       nuclear holocaust
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Nuclear Winter
    Nuclear winter could occur with detonation
     of 100 nuclear warheads over major cities
    30,000 weapons currently, deployed –
     90% reduction of deployed weapons could
     still cause nuclear winter
    This puts nuclear weapons are in a league
     of their own

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Nuclear Weapons Testing
Nuclear Testing
     2,058 nuclear test
      explosions by 8

   United States – 1,030
   Russia (USSR) - 715
   France - 210
   United Kingdom - 45
   China - 45
   India - 7
   Pakistan - 6
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Effects of Nuclear Testing

  •2.4 million people
  estimated to die from
  cancer as a result of
  nuclear testing

  •Tests sites around
  the world

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Nuclear Terrorism
Nuclear Terrorism
    Only 20kg of HEU and 10kg of Plutonium

   Possibilities:
 -primitive nuclear explosive
 -attacking a nuclear-power reactor
 -nuclear weapon
 -transport attack
 -“dirty bomb”
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Nuclear Material Availability
  Fissile materials are not controlled or accounted
   for effectively
  At least 40 kg of weapons-usable uranium and
   plutonium has been stolen
  Only 1/3 of an estimated 600 tonnes of
   weapons-usable material in the former USSR
   has been secured

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Terrorism And Nuclear Energy
  The International Atomic Energy Agency has
   confirmed that current nuclear power plants are
   structurally vulnerable against the Sept. 11
   attack scenario
  Over 120 documented cases of nuclear
  Credible threats reported by security agencies

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States Possessing Nuclear
Nuclear Weapons -Declared States

           Strategic     Tactical             Reserve   Total

      USA 4530           780                  5000      10,310
   Russia 3800           3400                 11000     18,200

    France 290           60                             350
    China 400            150                            550
    Britain 185                               15        200

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Nuclear Weapons - De Facto States

  Israel – 75-200

  India – 40-50

  Pakistan – 25-50

  Nth Korea - ?

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Nuclear Weapons

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Numbers by Region

  12000                                   US
  10000                                   Europe
   8000                                   Middle East
   6000                                   Asia
          30,000 Nuclear Weapons

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Arms Control and
International Law and Nuclear Weapons

  Multilateral (3 or more states)
  Bilateral (2 states)
  Unilateral (1 state)
  In existence: proliferation, testing,
   geographic limitations
  Not in existence: complete
   disarmament, fissile material control

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Key Terms

        Disarmament                  Arms Control
     Decrease in                 Limitations
      number                      „General and
     „General and                 Complete‟
      Complete‟                   Weapon Specific
     Weapon Specific             Non-Proliferation
     Abolition
                                Vertical   Horizontal

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United Nations
 Main roles:
  Forum
  Facilitating
  Verification & Enforcement
  Education
 UN Treaties:
    Antarctica Treaty, PTBT, Outer Space Treaty, NPT,
     Sea-Bed Treaty, NWFZs, CTBT

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  Established by UN in 1957
  Nuclear non-proliferation
  Nuclear Science and Technology in
   Sustainable Development
  Nuclear Safety and Security

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Conference on Disarmament

   UN Body
   Established in 1979
   66 countries are members
   Agreement by Consensus
   Based in Geneva, Switzerland

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Major Treaties (Bilateral & Multilateral)
    INF
    START
    NPT
    CTBT

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Intermediate-Range Forces (INF) Treaty

     Missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 km
     World-first in disarmament talks:
     a)   Nuclear arsenal reduction
     b)   Category of weapon eliminated
     c)   Extensive on-site verification
     Signed 8 December 1987

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Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START)

 •START I - signed in 1991
   – US and Russia agreed to reduce ICBMs,
     SLBMs and warheads
 •START II - signed in 1993
   – Reduction of strategic nuclear arsenals
     to 3,000-3,500 by 2007
 •START III – superceded by SORT
 •SORT – not verified or reversible

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Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
    Opened for signature in 1968

    More signatures than any other arms
     control treaty

    Two-part bargain between nuclear
     weapon states (NWS) and non-nuclear
     weapon states (NNWS)

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(NPT) Article VI
             “Each of the Parties to the Treaty
     undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on
              effective measures relating to
    cessation of the nuclear arms race
                at an early date and to
            nuclear disarmament,
                          and on a
      treaty on general and complete
      under strict and effective international control.”

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(NPT) Safeguards

     The International Atomic Energy Agency
      is responsible for a safeguards system to
      verify compliance with the NPT by
      conducting regular inspections of
      signatories to the Treaty

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(NPT) The Review Cycle

 Review Conference – (RevCon)
  every 5 years over 4 weeks
  meetings held at United Nations in New
  1995 – NPT indefinite extension
  2000 – 13 Point Action Plan

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NPT 2005 Review
    2-27 May 2005

    Disagreement over conference agenda:
     -Nth Korea, Iran, CTBT, disarmament,
     non-NPT states, past

    No substantive text produced
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Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
  Opened for signature 24 September
  Bans all nuclear tests
  All 44 “Annex II” must sign and ratify
  3 “Annex II” states still to sign
  11 “Annex II” states still to ratify
  CTBTO working from Vienna

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Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT or

   First suggested at the UN over 50 years ago
   Enthusiasm for a FMCT from early 1990s
   Talks at Conference on Disarmament
   Disagreement over:
    -Existing stocks
    -Scope of the treaty

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Security Council Res 1540
  28 April 2004
  Threat from Non-state actors
  Calls on states to enact national
  Member states must report to the 1540

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International Court of Justice

   Advisory Opinion, July 8, 1996:

   “...the threat or use of nuclear weapons
    would generally be contrary to the rules
    of international law applicable in armed
    conflict, and in particular the principles
    and rules of humanitarian law.”

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International Court of Justice -
    Supplements and reinforces the role of
     international laws (UN Charter,
     humanitarian law NPT etc)

    Nuclear weapons are now in effect illegal
     under international law

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Nuclear Free Zones (NWFZs)
    Treaties completely banning nuclear
     explosive devices in territories:
      Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelolco)
      South Pacific (Treaty of Rarotonga)

      South East Asia (Treaty of Bangkok)

      Africa (Treaty of Pelindaba)

    Proposed zones for Central Asia, Central
     Europe and the Middle East

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Existing NWFZs

                                         5                 4
                       2                                          3
   1. Antarctic Treaty 2. Treaty of Tlatelolco 3.Treaty of Rarotonga 4.Treaty of
                    Bangkok 5.Treaty of Pelindaba 6. Mongolia

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Status Of Key Treaties In 2006

   NPT: Signed-188, Ratified-188
   CTBT: Signed-175, Ratified-122
   (“Annex 2”-33)
   FMCT: Treaty in draft form
   NWC: Treaty in draft form

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Status Of The Non-proliferation &
Disarmament Regimes
   The risk of nuclear war has not gone away
    and is in fact increasing

   The opportunity presented by the end of
    the cold war was squandered

   Multilateral disarmament deadlocked

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The ICAN Campaign
  ICAN stands for International
  Campaign to Abolish Nuclear
  ICAN to address the erosion of the
   global nuclear disarmament regime
  Nuclear Weapons Convention –
   Review, update, progress
  MAPW to take a leading role within
   IPPNW and the global peace movement
   in the ICAN Campaign

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Model Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC)

  Draft text produced by NGOs
  Submitted to the UN by Costa Rica in 1997
  NWC would prohibit:
        development
        testing
        production
        stockpiling
        transfer
        use and threat of use

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What ICAN Would Aim For
  IPPNW members feel that a coordinated effort
   across states and institutions, in the
   framework of voluntary governmental and non-
   governmental participation, is necessary if
   there is to be a reversal of the nuclear threat.
  One element of such coordination will be a
   multilateral agreement to prohibit and
   eliminate nuclear weapons ~ a Nuclear
   Weapons Convention.

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How To Work Towards A NWC
    It is strongly felt that the campaign for a NWC
     would need to be based on an Ottawa style
     process that lead to the Landmines Treaty – a
     strong and effectively coordinated global
     coalition of NGO's and international
     organisations that drew in governments,
     starting with Canada, and achieved a treaty in
     the space of five years.

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Phases for Elimination

     All States possessing
      nuclear weapons will
      be required to
      destroy their
      arsenals according to
      a series of phases.

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Step by Step…
    The Convention outlines a series of five
     phases for the elimination of nuclear weapons
     beginning with:
        taking nuclear weapons off alert
        removing weapons from deployment
        removing nuclear warheads from their delivery
        disabling the warheads
        removing and disfiguring the "pits"
        and placing the fissile material under inter-national
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Fissile Materials And Delivery Vehicles

     The Convention also
      prohibits the production
      of weapons-usable
      fissile material and
      requires delivery
      vehicles to be destroyed
      or converted to make
      them non-nuclear

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Working Towards A Nuclear Weapons
Free World
  Today some of these issues may appear
   intractable, and there is no guarantee
   that they are soluble.
  However, a robust and open debate is
   the most likely - if not the only - way to
   generate creative solutions and engage
   the broad transnational and cross-
   industrial involvement necessary for a
   nuclear weapons free world.
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Nuclear Weapons Knowledge
    Nuclear weapons
     knowledge cannot be
     disinvented. However, a
     vast portion of the
     knowledge, design and
     maintenance information
     can and should be
     destroyed once it is no
     longer necessary for

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Our Responsibility
    Moreover, and precisely because we
     cannot return to a world innocent of
     nuclear weapons knowledge, the answer
     to the "genie out of the bottle" is to
     increase scientific responsibility and
     awareness of potential proliferation risks.

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Get Involved
    For further information about the NCW,
     please see:

    or contact the Medical Association for
     Prevention of War (Australia)
       phone: (03) 8344 1637

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   Medical Association for
Prevention of War Australia
   National Office: P.O. Box 1379, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
               Ph: 03 8344 1637 Fax: 03 8344 1638
  Australian affiliate of International Physicians for Prevention of
                      Nuclear War (IPPNW)

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