Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Risks of nuclear catastrophe are "real" - weapons expert

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 25 (Saba) -- Professor Gareth Evans of Australia on Monday warned that the risks associated with existing nuclear weapons, including the risk of nuclear terrorism, are "real" and that it is "sheer damn luck" that a nuclear catastrophe did not happen since World War II, according to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

Evans, co-Chairman of the International Commission on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (ICNND), presented the December 2009 report "Eliminating Nuclear Threats" during a press conference and warned that "the risks associated with existing nuclear arsenals ..., with new countries joining the list ..., with nuclear terrorism, are real".

"It's sheer damn luck that we have succeeded as a world in surviving ... a major nuclear catastrophe since 1945. It was not a function of good policy or anything else rather than luck," he added.

He noted that the world has come "hellishly close to a (nuclear) catastrophe on many occasions during the Cold War, which only now are beginning to come to light after all these years".

He warned that one "cannot make any assumption at all that the status quo will continue, that we can live with 20,000 or more nuclear weapons without (the risk) of nuclear catastrophe".

The status quo is "not an option" and "we must move seriously, not just make progress on this front, but ultimately to achieve abolition of nuclear weapons completely and create a world without them".
"As long as any state has nuclear weapons, others would want them. So long as any state retains any nuclear weapons, they're bound one day to be used, by accident or miscalculation, if not by deliberate design. Any such use would be catastrophic for life on this planet as we know it," he warned.

The 230-page report, the most comprehensive of its kind yet produced, is the unanimous product of an independent global panel of fifteen commissioners, supported by a high-level international advisory board and worldwide network of research centres.

It stated that with new U.S. and Russian leaderships seriously committed to nuclear disarmament action, there is a new opportunity - the first since the immediate post-World War II and post-Cold War years - to halt, and reverse, the problem of nuclear weapons once and for all.

On the Iran issue, he expressed hope that it will be solved diplomatically and that Iran does not cross the "red line of weaponisation".

Source: Saba (

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