Nuclear Weapons

As of 2015, there have been only two major uses of nuclear weapons in war up to now.  Both uses were by the United States against Japan during World War II.  The first occurred with the dropping of the “Little Boy” bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.  The second occurred with the dropping of the “Fat Man” bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

Though there are times in the world when we have come perilously close to situations where nuclear bombs might have been used again (e.g. the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis) and though there have been cases of the use of nuclear materials in warfare (e.g. depleted uranium usage during the 1991 Gulf War), we have thankfully been spared additional major uses of nuclear weapons in war or in peace.

Currently there are nine nations around the world that are known to have or are highly suspected of having nuclear weapons.  They include the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China (which are the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council), and Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea.  It is suggested that many more nations have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons in a very short amount of time.

Nuclear weapons testing, however, has also left a legacy of illness and death that has affected a number of communities throughout the world.  Even in the mining operations required to excavate the raw materials needed for nuclear weapons, additional impacts on human and non-human populations have been observed.  The genetic legacy of the exposure of living matter to radiation from nuclear weapons remains to be fully seen.

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