MAPW calls for fast track to zero nuclear weapons

MAPW today applauded a new Australia-sponsored report for recognising the destructive potential of nuclear weapons, but criticised the slow pace of disarmament proposed by the report.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANi) has also made detailed comment on the report.

“While recognising the importance, feasibility and urgency of nuclear disarmament, the Commission has failed in its major task: developing a plan to get to zero nuclear weapons”, said Association President Dr Bill Williams.

”The report proposes a 90% cut in nuclear weapons arsenals by 2025. This would still leave 2,000 nuclear warheads, and we now know that 100 warheads could cause unprecedented climatic effects, slashing food production and causing upwards of a billion people to starve.”

 The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament presented their report “Eliminating Nuclear Threats” to the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama today, 15 December 2009. 

Dr Williams welcomed the Commission’s reminder that nuclear weapons have a unique capacity to destroy life on this planet. 

He noted that the Commission recognises the need for a Nuclear Weapons Convention – advocated by MAPW, and recently supported by Australia’s 2009 parliamentary report on nuclear treaties. 

However Dr Williams regretted that the report represented a missed opportunity for boldness of vision. 

“There have been some really exciting developments in nuclear disarmament recently: what we need from our leaders now is clear direction and courageous steps. Unfortunately the Commission appears to be applying the brakes” he said.

"We are also alarmed that the report uncritically supports the nuclear power industry. It fails to recognise its key role in the proliferation of nuclear weapons, while perpetrating the myth of “peaceful nuclear energy”. The Commission acknowledges the need to manage the nuclear industry risks, particularly in relation to uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing. But the ‘proliferation-resistant’ technologies it refers to, do not yet exist.” 

“In a world facing the twin crises of climate change and nuclear weapons, the nuclear industry should not be encouraged to soak up money and resources. These should be allocated to research and innovation of safer technologies rather than those which expand the problem of nuclear weapons proliferation” Dr Williams concluded.