Nuclear weapons

Education, advocacy and campaigning on nuclear weapons issues are core to the work of MAPW.

  • There are currently around 19,000 nuclear weapons in the world, owned by just nine nations. Russia and the USA possess over 94% of today’s nuclear weapons. more...
  • Nations that possess nuclear weapons are: the United States of America, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. The Federation of American Scientists has made an estimate of the size of each country's nuclear arsenal using the best information available. more...
  • Nuclear weapons are bad for your health. If exploded they would create a nuclear wasteland in which no medical help is really possible. Even in their production they are dangerous, creating deadly nuclear waste and posing the risk of accidents. 
  • The production and maintenance of nuclear weapons takes vital resources away from healthcare and other essential services. In the USA alone, about US$40 billion is spent on nuclear weapons each year. 
  • Nuclear weapons are unique in their capacity to cause human suffering. The first nuclear weapons, used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people before the end of that year.
  • Nuclear weapons create international instability and insecurity, rather than act as a deterrent. 
  • Australia has around 40% of the worlds known uranium resources, making us a key supplier to nuclear nations, including a number of nuclear-armed nations. more...
  • While Australia does not have nuclear weapons, we have a clear responsibility to work towards abolishing these ultimate weapons of mass destruction. more...

Australia is party to a number of key international agreements on nuclear weapons issues. Successive Australian governments have worked to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, ban nuclear weapons testing and negotiate a fissile materials cut-off treaty. There is still much more work to be done towards the total abolition of nuclear weapons, and MAPW continues to advocate strongly with our government and others on these issues.

In 2007, MAPW and IPPNW launched the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN). ICAN is the core commitment of MAPW and IPPNW to education of the community as well as advocacy with governments towards a nuclear weapons free world. Along with partners such as the Mayors for Peace international campaign, ICAN is raising a strong international voice for nuclear abolition.

You can learn more about nuclear weapons and our work through the links in the left-hand menu.

Key resources:

  • Zero is the only option. A major IPPNW briefing paper on the health and environment effects of a nuclear war: available at the nuclear-zero website
  • Nuclear Weapons: This MAPW 2006 Powerpoint presentation gives a broad overview of nuclear risks and related issues.
  • ICAN: Check out the ICAN website