President and Chief Operating Officer, NTI
Joan Rohlfing and James McKeon in USA Today: “Our nuclear weapons are much more powerful than Oppenheimer’s atomic bomb.”
Ahead of the release of the blockbuster movie Oppenheimer, Joan Rohlfing, president and COO of NTI, and James McKeon, senior program officer on the Global Nuclear Policy Program, wrote a piece for USA Today that set the scene by explaining current nuclear weapon dangers.
Rohlfing and McKeon write:
“Oppenheimer” is a historical film, but the threat posed by nuclear weapons is very real today. Nine countries now have nuclear weapons, with the United States and Russia possessing about 90% of the world’s nearly 13,000 weapons.
Unfortunately, public awareness of all these steadily increasing threats is very low, which is why many nuclear experts fear we could be sleepwalking into a nuclear disaster.
A few years after the end of World War II, Oppenheimer opposed the U.S. government’s plan to develop even larger nuclear weapons called hydrogen bombs, which were created anyway. Today, these kinds of weapons still exist in modern arsenals that include nuclear weapons 80 times more powerful compared with the bomb detonated over Hiroshima, and they have more accurate and survivable delivery systems (missiles, not just bombers) that can fly faster than the speed of sound.
Russia has plans to deploy even more powerful nuclear weapons soon. Oppenheimer and his colleagues predicted that a strategy of nuclear competition would cause an arms race, and he was right.”
Read the full piece in USA Today.
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