Today marks the 74th anniversary of the last time that an atomic bomb was used in warfare. On 9th August 1945 the United States dropped a plutonium bomb on the city of Nagasaki, 3 days after the city of Hiroshima had been destroyed by a uranium bomb. By the end of the year 250,000 people were killed as a consequence of both bombs and tens of thousands have died since from the effects of burns, radiation and related illnesses. Those two bombs changed the world and brought in the nuclear age. The two bombs dropped on Japan were rather small compared to the thousands that threaten us today. The collapse of arms control and disarmament treaties, heightened international tensions, the increased risks of proliferation, and the development of smaller ‘more usable’ warheads (still more powerful than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) are threatening the survival of life on the planet.
At this time, the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES) renews the message of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the hibakusha: Either humanity destroys the atomic bomb, or the atomic bomb will destroy humanity.
A few days ago, the United States withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the US and Russia which banned medium-range missiles, accelerating a new nuclear arms race which does not sit well with the cowboy diplomacy currently being practiced by certain nuclear weapon states.
INES joins with the international call to all states who have not done so already, to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as a first step towards the total abolition of all nuclear weapons.
We also call for the removal of all US nuclear weapons from Europe and the cancellation of orders for new aircraft that would be used to deliver them. In addition, we call on NATO to adopt a policy of no first use in its nuclear doctrine.
In the interests of all, and to enable science and technology becoming a benefit rather than threat to humanity, we call on all nuclear-weapon states to halt their programs on the modernization of their nuclear arsenals and redirect the money towards the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.