Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Weapons of Mass Destruction

LIVE on CNN the new Iraqi government is being sworn in today. Meanwhile a Nuclear Non-Proliferation conference is underway at the United Nations. Kamal Kharrazi, the Iranian foreign minister, has asserted its right to use nuclear technology for ‘peaceful purposes’. He said it was ‘unacceptable’ for nuclear technology to be used only by an ‘exclusive club’. He added that “Iran is determined to pursue all legal paths” to ensure their nuclear industry continues. This comes in the same week that the Independent newspaper, in the UK, ‘revealed’ that Tony Blair was to ‘upgrade Britain’s nuclear weapons’. Of the 32 known nuclear states in the world, only 5 are recognised in the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Of the 32 counties believed to have reactors capable of making a nuclear device, only India and Pakistan have declared to possess such weapons. Israel is believed to have up to 200 warheads and North Korea and Iran are suspected by many governments to have possession or be in the process of developing such weapons.

Non-Proliferation Treaty Members:
USA – 7,068 warheads / UK – 185 / France – 348 / Russia – 8,232 / China – 402

Countries not in the NPT:
Israel – 200 [estimated] / India – 30-40 [estimated] / Pakistan – 30-50 [estimated]
North Korea – 2 ? / Iran – unknown, believed to be developing weapons.
[source: SIPRA/CTBT Treaty]

Further reading: Nuclear Guide
Nuclear Power Stations

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