Editorial : Stirring up the nuclear pot

Nuclear debate : Use as war equipment and as energy producer

  • At the same time, using the nuclear genie and harnessing it for prosperity was the best dream.
  • Nuclear weapons have ceased to be viable as instruments of war because of the unpredictability of the consequences of a nuclear war.
  • No one can trust even the use of tactical nuclear weapons without collateral damage for the user.

Nuclear as a Threat

  • Will be threat as reached in the wrong hand like 9/11 incidents.
  • After Fukushima, nuclear power too is receding as a sensible component of the energy mix.
  • The threat of terrorism looms larger than the threat of nuclear weapons.
  • One clean-up operation after an accident can demolish many years of technological advancement and hopes of having cheap power.
  • The sun shines as a source of energy, not the glittering nuclear reactors which seem to emit mushroom clouds.

Non Proliferation Treaty : A shift from the aim

  • The three pillars of the treaty — non-proliferation, disarmament and nuclear energy for peaceful purposes
  • The first non-proliferation, has got watered down and disarmament has become the priority.
  • They also worry that dangerous technologies like enrichment are within the reach of the non-weapon states.
  • In the context of Japan and South Korea debating acquisition of nuclear weapons, they feel that non-proliferation should be brought back to be the first priority of the NPT.
  • The promotional function of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is also a concern for them.
  • The NPT votaries now advocate that non-proliferation should be emphasised to the exclusion of disarmament and nuclear energy promotion.

Global nuclear ban under UN

  • More than 120 nations in October 2016 voted on a UN General Assembly resolution to convene the conference to negotiate a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading to their total elimination.
  • Britain, France, Russia and the U.S. voted no, while China, India and Pakistan abstained.
  • Though India had recommended the convening of such a conference, it abstained on the resolution as it was not convinced that the conference could accomplish much at this time.
  • India supported the commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention, which in addition to prohibition and elimination also includes verification.
  • The U.S. and others wanted to accept the reality that such conferences would serve no purpose.
  • The conference has failed even before it commenced.