“The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five” – Carl Sagan.
Although considered highly unlikely by experts, 2017 showed that nuclear war is still a relevant existential threat. The year saw North Korea engaging in a multitude of nuclear weapons tests and the US and North Korea exchanging nuclear threats. ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. Despite this, some experts believe in the benefits of nuclear deterrence, which is the idea that countries are deterred from using nuclear weapons because they know other countries would immediately retaliate with nuclear weapons.
- Nuclear war could be started by accident – see a list of past extremely close calls here
- Nuclear war could be started by a government
- Nanotechnology could make nuclear weapons increasingly small and difficult to detect
- An individual or organization could launch a cyber attack and take control of government nuclear weapons
- A nuclear bomb or reactor could be set off within a country by accident
- Several security experts estimate the probability of a nuclear terrorist attack at 29% over the next 10 years
- North Korea tested a variety of nuclear weapons in 2017
- ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize
- The UN is trying to create the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but prominent countries including the US, the UK, and France didn’t attend negotiation conferences