Nuclear Ban and what is the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Before we jump on Nuclear ban first of all, do you know What is Nuclear Fission?

Nuclear fission is a spontaneous process in which an excited neutron when targeted on a high mass nuclei like Uranium or Plutonium, splits it into two smaller atoms producing tremendous amount of thermal energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation as well as kinetic energy of the fissured particles. Getting this reaction under human control is one of the most daring and technologically advanced techniques in Physics.

When Einstein gave his innovative scientific equation E=mc2, the foundation for nuclear sciences was laid although Einstein himself didn’t believe that humans could ever tap this energy on such a fundamental level. The famous equations described that matter and energy are inter-transformable thus a tiny amount of matter can be converted into an enormous amount of energy. Max Plank with his Nobel Prize winning equation for energy quanta, E= h f, made things even simpler for experimental physicists to push the boundaries of scientific endeavors and understanding to femtoscopic level.

 It didn’t take long when a German physicist Otto Hahn with his assistant Fritz successfully achieved fission. This led to the race for mass scaling the phenomenon to develop a nuclear bomb nicknamed as the A-bomb. Manhattan project was the most optimistic effort to make this idea a reality. More than 50 world-leading scientists were gathered under the guidance of Oppenheimer. 130,000 workers were employed and $2 billion dollars were spent to develop huge Calutrons to enrich fissile Uranium isotopes at the Los Alamos national laboratories.

This project went successful and the United States of America became the world’s first Nuclear Power. On 16 July 1945, first nuclear test “Trinity” was conducted and after watching such a scary mushroom cloud over the explosion, Oppenheimer said, “Now I become Death, the destroyer of worlds;”

Why Ban Nuclear Testing

From 1945 to 1992, more than a thousand nuclear tests were conducted just by the United States. 2000 nuclear tests have been registered all over the world before CTBT.

You might have come across the story of the Chernobyl Power Plant disaster, considered to be the worst nuclear disaster in the entire history followed by the Fukushima Power Plant incident in Japan (2011). The radiation level in the nearby region of the Chernobyl power plant went up to 2000 roentgen/hour. To put it into perspective it means that an unprotected rescue team member received a lethal dose in less than a minute. There is a comprehensive HBO documentary season on the Chernobyl incident. They were also testing to operate the reactor at 700 to 800 MW but it destabilized and there was no competent engineer available on site at that moment to be able to stabilize the reactor until it was too late. This test is not considered among standard nuclear explosion testing but the consequences of the incident on the environment were dire and thousands of humans and animals died of different kinds of cancers out of which mostly died of aplastic anemia a form of blood cancer which was also the cause of Marie Curie’s death who discovered Radioactivity.

Nuclear Test Banning Treaties

US President, John F Kennedy, on August, 1963 presented and signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (LNTBT). This treaty was signed on the 18th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear drop. Representative of the Great Britain and the Soviet Union also signed this treaty according to which, testing of nuclear weapons in underwater, atmosphere and even in outer-space (excluding underground tests) is strictly prohibited. In 1968, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was presented which prohibited non-nuclear countries from developing, acquiring or possessing any kind of nuclear weapons. This treaty was rejected by Pakistan, India and Israel on the grounds that it discriminates non-nuclear countries. In 1974, another effort was made to comprehensive ban on nuclear testing. This is known as the Threshold Test Ban Treaty. According to (TTBT), underground tests having a yield above 150 kilotons TNT had also been banned permanently. Later in 1996, a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CNTBT) had been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly prohibiting all sorts of nuclear tests. This treaty was signed by 180 countries excluding North Korea, Pakistan and India. However, CNTBT was rejected by the US senate with the argument that the treaty is compromising the safety of their countries and that there is no guarantee that all other states would abide by the compliance.

Conclusion

There are a handful of countries that didn’t sign any Nuclear Test Ban Treaty but North Korea in one that openly continued nuclear testing by exploding nuclear bombs or several test sites including underground, underwater and willing to test in outer space in the future. North Korea has successfully tested a thermonuclear bomb in 2017 with an estimated yield equivalent to 200- 300 kilotons of TNT. Comparing this to Fat-Man, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was around 18- 23 kilotons. It is our moral duty as rational human beings to put an end to these earth-ending devices and also stop spending billions of dollars production weapons of destruction. Instead, we must work together to alleviate poverty, hunger and suffering of mankind and join hands for a better tomorrow.

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