Dossier on nuclear issues

On April 8th, US-President Obama signed an agreement on nuclear missile reduction with the Russian President Medvedev. The reduction of the two largest nuclear arsenals is an important step to the future success of a global non-proliferation regime. The agreement comes in time for the US Nuclear Summit and upon the eve of the UN negotiations on the future of the non-proliferation treaty.


The risk of nuclear anarchy is no longer a distant horror scenario; it has entered the realms of possibility. Therefore Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung held its Annual Foreign Policy Conference on these issues. Renowned speakers from international politics, industry and civil society discussed the dangers posed by nuclear weapons in the 21st century’s multilateral world order. How can we prevent non-state actors, such as terrorists, gaining access to materials that can be used for making nuclear weapons? How can we strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime to protect the world from all-out nuclear anarchy?

A challenge for the before mentioned NPT Review Conference is the need to balance proliferation concerns with the inalienable right of all signatories to develop nuclear energy. With the argument of fighting climate change, the nuclear energy industry and some governments are pushing for a so-called “renaissance” of nuclear power, despite the unresolved question of nuclear waste management and despite the fact that no nuclear power plant on this planet has been built without massive public subsidies. A wide gap between myths and reality of nuclear power exists.

In the current global “renaissance” of nuclear energy both risks and prospects of nuclear technology are enormous. In a new study commissioned by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung the authors state that continued investment in nuclear power, in particular new nuclear power plant projects, constitutes a significant barrier for the necessary shift toward a sustainable and intelligent energy-services economy based on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, SYSTEMS FOR CHANGE: Nuclear Power vs. Energy Efficiency + Renewables

Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Lahore would like to generate debate on the future of nuclear weapons in the 21st century’s multilateral world order especially from a Pakistani perspective. As the Indo-US Nuclear deal in 2008 represents a significant milestone and a paradigm shift in foreign policy relations and its South Asian security policies some related analysis is provided at Heinrich Böll Stiftung Pakistan Website

In an exclusive paper Prof. Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy traces the early development of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, situates the weapons in the larger context of China and India, and goes on to discuss the crises that followed their operationalization after the 1998 tests. It argues that false assumptions, shifting goals, and a high level of risk-taking have made deterrence less effective with time. Using publicly available information, the current state of the nuclear arsenal, missiles, and aircraft is presented, together with a discussion of what might constrain further expansion. The loose nukes problem is discussed, together with Pakistani efforts to deal with it politically and technically. The prognosis for the next several years is that, barring a major US-led global denuclearization drive, both Pakistan and India will continue to rapidly expand their nuclear arsenals and delivery systems.