7 Biggest Pros and Cons of Nuclear Weapons

What usually comes to mind when you hear the words nuclear weapons? Yes, an extremely huge explosion that has a capacity to wipe out an entire place and everything else in it. Although they are often associated with death and devastation, nuclear weapons have a good side. Surprise, surprise! But the majority still believe nuclear weapons should be deactivated and hidden away where no one can have access to them.

Nuclear Weapon Overview

A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that goes off because of nuclear reactions – fission fusion, or when two energy released causes an explosion. Two of the most destructive display of nuclear weapons was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. It was in these events that people fully understood the strength and power of the explosive weapon. They definitely go everyone thinking about their deactivation.

There are two basic types of nuclear weapons, depending on the cause of explosion. A majority of the energy of fission weapons is derived from nuclear fission reactions, while energy of fusion weapons is derived from nuclear fusion reactions. There is a total of 16,000 nuclear warheads all over the world. More than 7,000 belong to the United States, 7,700 in Russia, 300 in France, 250 in China, 225 in United Kingdom, 110 in Pakistan, 100 in India, 80 in Israel, and 10 in North Korea.

List of Pros of Nuclear Weapons

1. Deters major wars from happening
As of 2015, the estimated nuclear warheads from armed states add up to 16,000 with more than 90% of which belonging to the United States and Russia. 10,000 warheads are in military service, while the rest is awaiting dismantlement. A nuclear arms state is less likely to be attacked by another nation even when it is equipped with nuclear weapons of their own. This comes from the fact that a good defense allows a nation to protect themselves well and to retaliate just as well. This results in more peacetime, and any conflict would have to be resolved by diplomatic talks first instead of an all-out war.

2. Negotiation becomes the first weapon of choice
As previously mentioned, other nations would think twice before launching an attack on a nuclear-armed country. So when there are conflicts that need to be resolved, both nations would first resort to negotiating to reach an agreement or compromise as a way to avoid massive destruction. This helps guarantee peace for as long as possible. Nations without nuclear weapons would also prefer to talk first before firing weapons of any kind. In fact, nuclear weapons are considered low-cost insurance against possible aggression, particularly from large power.

3. Increase a nation’s power and status
It is safe to say that nuclear weapons can bring about a certain level of respect, which is why nuclear armed nations benefit from the power and status of the weapons available within their territory. North Korea, for example, is often considered by many as small and insignificant, but other nations pay close attention to their wishes and actions, because no one wants to incite their anger. Who would want their homeland to be a recipient of a nuclear attack? Most nations work hard to avoid any conflict that may lead to an attack that involves nuclear weapons. This gives armed nations the power and status they want.

List of Cons of Nuclear Weapons

1. It is being used as a strategic excuse
Most nations equipped with nuclear weapons claim that they rely on them for strategic defense, and they are vulnerable to various attacks without these destructive weapons. Even with the high risk of destruction and devastation, they would prefer to keep nuclear bombs active and ready to go when necessary. Some defense experts say that scrapping nuclear weapons would work to a nation’s disadvantage because various hostile states are covertly acquiring nuclear weapons in large number. If they dismantle nuclear bombs, they will be vulnerable to attacks.

2. High cost and maintenance
Nuclear weapons are expensive to maintain and build, and some nations would rather fund development of nuclear weapons than ensure the welfare of citizens. This leads to a negative effect on the treasury and really harsh political criticism. North Korea, for example, is really poor where the citizens’ welfare is concerned but not in terms of weaponry. Only a handful of nations can invest in nuclear weapons and stay productive and wealthy at the same time. When more focus is on developing weapons of destruction, resources are often diverted from more productive uses. Precious resources are just funneled to nuke development.

3. Lack of morals
Remember political criticisms? When nuclear weapons come into play, the morals associated with a lawful nation and its people are put into question. Isn’t it more honorable to get rid of or reduce destructive weapons? United States and Russia already agreed to decrease the number of nuclear weapons deployed to set an example for other nations. Still, the presence of nuclear weapons is often considered highly immoral and very dangerous.

4. Comes with plenty of risks
Some of the after effects of nuclear experiment can linger decades after the experiments have been completed. This increases the risk to human life.

  • Nuclear weapons can accidentally lead to radiation disaster with a massive reach. Good enough if radiation would go away in an instant. Unfortunately, the dangers it poses on the environment and human kind remain.
  • The nuclear weapons industry produces a large volume of low-level radioactive waste that is present in regular items that people can come in contact with, such as clothing, water purifier resin, hand tools and the materials used in building nuclear reactors. Exposure to radiation will lead to disability and cancers, and the effect can continue for decades.
  • Residual radiation from nuclear weapons can destroy the environment and wildlife for centuries. The disaster that took place in Chernobyl is the perfect example of the damage and devastation that nuclear weapons can leave behind. Testing of nuclear weapons also causes pollution and destruction, which is why it was banned. There is little doubt, however, that creatures of nukes would find other ways to test their weapons, without taking into consideration the pollution and damage the process can leave behind.
About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.