Fact Sheet

“Oppenheimer” and Nuclear Risks Today

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“Oppenheimer” and Nuclear Risks Today

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Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is the most high-profile film about nuclear weapons ever made. It’s the tale of the beginning of the atomic age and the man who led the Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer, out in theaters July 21, comes at an incredibly risky time, and the issues it raises are critically important.

Oppenheimer is not just history, and it’s not just a movie.

Today, there are 13,000 nuclear weapons spread across nine countries. Modern nuclear weapons are much more powerful (up to 80 times more powerful) than the bomb Oppenheimer created and those that were used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Nuclear threats also are getting worse. We’re on the precipice of a new nuclear arms race. China’s arsenal is growing. Russia avoided a near-civil war, and at any moment, the war in Ukraine could go nuclear. We’ve had tons of close calls in the past, and with the combination of last century’s weapons and this century’s threats (AI, cyber, terrorism), our luck could run out.

13,100 nuclear weapons in the world

9 countries with nuclear weapons

? more time until our luck runs out

The threat is real: Our nuclear weapons are much more powerful than Oppenheimer's atomic bomb

NTI's Joan Rohlfing and James McKeon break down current nuclear risks in USA Today ahead of the film's July 21 global release.

For Discussion

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Learn about the history of nuclear testing.

Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime Tutorial

Learn about efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons and eliminate them altogether.

History of the Nuclear World: A Series

The history behind America's quest to build the Bomb, written by nuclear expert Joe Cirincione.

Take Action: Join #CranesForOurFuture

Join people across the globe August 4-9 to demand a more peaceful, hopeful future by folding and sharing a paper crane or graphic on social media with the hashtag #CranesForOurFuture. Together, we can create a world without nuclear weapons.

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Experts Available to Discuss "Oppenheimer"

NTI experts can help put the film in context for reporters and reviewers.

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Our Work to Reduce Nuclear Risks

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What if a hacker shut down the security system at a highly sensitive nuclear materials storage facility, giving access to terrorists seeking highly enriched uranium to make a bomb?


Oppenheimer started the nuclear age. Together, we can help end it and build a safer world for generations to come.

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Statement by the EASLG: Advancing Global Nuclear “Fail-Safe”

Statement by the EASLG: Advancing Global Nuclear “Fail-Safe”

EASLG leaders Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Ernest J. Moniz, and Sam Nunn, along with 34 dignitaries from 12 countries, call for all nuclear-weapons states to conduct internal reviews of their nuclear command-and-control and weapons systems.

The Failsafe Review

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The Failsafe Review

Modern technologies like cyber are introducing new risks to nuclear systems and underscore the need and urgency of conducting a new failsafe review.


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