On 1 March 1954, the United States carried out its largest ever nuclear test. Named ‘Castle Bravo’, the test was part of a series of similar events, ‘Operation Bravo’, designed to assess the feasibility of high-yield and therefore high-energy devices. ‘Castle Bravo’ was expected to produce a yield of six megatons (375 times larger than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima) but the scientists involved miscalculated. The actual yield was fifteen megatons, 2.5 times higher than predicted and more than 900 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. Becky Alexis-Martin, author of Disarming Doomsday, describes the test as “the most significant radiological incident in US history.” How so?
Brochure by Daniel Rietiker and Manfred Mohr
The events of July 7, 2017 at the United Nations in New York deserve our attention. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)
constitutes a real paradigm shift, and the end of a period of stagnation in
nuclear disarmament of more than 20 years. After biological (1972) and
chemical weapons (1993), the remaining type of weapons of mass destruction will be banned once the treaty enters into force.
Even though there is considerable disagreement on the practical implications of the treaty for nuclear disarmament and international security, its significance has been confirmed by the fact that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the coalition that was instrumental in the negotiation and adoption of the treaty, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.