Nuclear Weapons Current Affairs - 2020

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International Day Against Nuclear Tests observed on August 29

The International Day Against Nuclear Tests is observed across every year across the world on 29 August with aim to raise awareness about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions.

Purpose of this day: (i) To promote peace and security world-wide and calls for urgent need to prevent nuclear catastrophes to avert devastating effects on humankind, environment and the planet. (ii) To highlight urgent need for cessation of nuclear weapons as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

About International Day Against Nuclear Tests

It was officially proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by unanimously adopting Resolution 64/35 in December 2009 initiated by Kazakhstan with support of large number of sponsors and cosponsors. It was observed for first time in 2010 and since then observed annually to galvanize necessity of banning nuclear weapon tests.

Why August 29? It seeks to commemorate closure of Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site (also known as The Polygon) on 29 August 1991. This nuclear test site was the primary testing venue for nuclear weapons of then Soviet Union. It is located on steppe in northeast Kazakhstan (then Kazakh SSR part of USSR), south of valley of the Irtysh River. On this test site, Soviet Union had conducted total 456 nuclear tests from 1949 until 1989 (340 underground and 116 atmospheric explosions i.e. roughly equivalent of 2500 Hiroshima atomic bombs) with little regard for their ill-effects of radiation on local people or environment.

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Pakistan could become world’s 5th largest nuclear weapons state: Report

According to recent report, Pakistan could become world’s 5th largest nuclear weapons state after Russia, United States, France and China in terms of possession of total nuclear warheads. Pakistan currently has 140 to 150 nuclear warheads and its stockpile is expected to increase to 220 to 250 by 2025 (surpassing United Kingdom) if its current proliferation trend continues.

Key Findings of Report

The current estimate of 140 to 150 nuclear weapons with Pakistan exceeds projection made by US Defense Intelligence Agency in 1999 that Pakistan would have 60 to 80 warheads by 2020. Pakistan is continuing to expand its nuclear arsenal with more warheads, delivery systems and growing fissile materials production industry.

The size of increase in Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will depend on many factors. Two key factors will be how many nuclear-capable launchers Pakistan plans to deploy, and how much Indian nuclear arsenal grows. Pakistan is developing several nuclear weapons delivery systems, four plutonium production reactor, and its uranium enrichment facilities are further expanding.

Pakistan is also modifying its nuclear posture with new short-range nuclear-capable weapon systems to counter military threats below the strategic level. Its nuclear program seeks to create full-spectrum deterrent that is designed not only to respond to nuclear attacks, but also to counter an Indian conventional incursion onto Pakistani territory.

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