15,000 nukes in 14 countries pose potential threat to human existence

explosion nuclear bomb in ocean

ISLAMABAD: Experts have highlighted that over 15,000 nuclear weapons at around 107 different sites in 14 countries pose a potential threat to human existence on earth as humankind is yet to develop the capacity to deal with the humanitarian consequences of a nuclear accident.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Landscape, the world at present was increasingly at a risk of a nuclear accident due to the growing number of warheads being developed and stored at different global sites.

Experts, while speaking at a roundtable discussion on “Building Bridges for Effective Nuclear Disarmament: Current Nuclear Challenges and Opportunities”, observed that currently there was no existing mechanism for capping the impact of a nuclear detonation.

It was also highlighted that nuclear accidents do happen and sometimes go unreported. Even after the end of the Nuclear Security Summit process, around 83 per cent of the world’s highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium were in military use and have not been addressed. The remaining 17 per cent under civilian use had been addressed as a result of the Nuclear Security Summit process.

On the issue of North Korea’s denuclearisation, the world had welcomed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) decision. Participants raised questions about who would verify the dismantling of DPRK’s nuclear devices.

The participants were informed that some countries believed that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should monitor the process. However, the IAEA was not mandated for this task. Other countries were of the view that Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) should oversee the closure and dismantling of DPRK’s nuclear programme, it was further informed.

However, Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (SSII) Director General (DG) Dr Shireen Mazari argued that although CTBT was a non-discriminatory treaty, it remained irrelevant until the United States (US) ratified it.

She suggested that Pakistan should engage other countries who objected to India’s membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) through its own diplomatic measures in order to effectively deal with the issue. Pakistan needs proactive and timely diplomacy to effectively counter this issue, she added.