As the Cold War faded in the final years of the 20th century, the threat of global nuclear war seemed to recede. This was an opportunity to dismantle the structures and the logic of nuclear deterrence—and the world passed it by. Today, progress toward nuclear disarmament has stalled and new threats of nuclear proliferation are emerging. Tens of thousands of nuclear weapons exist today, capable of damage far greater than that of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945.

Despite the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), countries continue to possess nuclear weapons. Under Article VI of the NPT, regions or single states, including zones governed by international agreement, have established Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones (NWFZs) in which the stationing, testing, use and development of nuclear weapons are prohibited. It is the aim of NWFZ treaties ultimately to lead to the elimination of all nuclear weapons, making nuclear war impossible.


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