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Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Establishes that Nuclear Weapons are Unacceptable

The Corporation’s Carl Robichaud and Karim Kamel examine the importance of the new treaty that outlaws the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, among other actions


In January 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which outlaws — among other actions — the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, came into force. But what is the true value of a treaty that not only “lacks verification and enforcement mechanisms” but hasn’t been signed by any state currently holding such weapons?

In an article published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Carl Robichaud, a program officer in the International Peace and Security program at Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Karim Kamel, an analyst in the program, contend that the real value of this new treaty is that it establishes, “in clear and certain terms, that nuclear weapons are unacceptable.”

While dismantling the world’s nuclear arms programs will require “a multi-generation project that brings together verification science with extraordinary foresight, diplomatic skill, and political leadership,” Robichaud and Kamel write, the ban treaty represents a crucial first step: “a change in our collective beliefs about nuclear weapons.”

Read Robichaud and Kamel’s full Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article “The True Value of the Nuclear Ban Treaty.”



TOP: Members attend the signing ceremony for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on September 20, 2017 at the United Nations in New York. (Credit: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images)