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Activity name

NUCSEM:  Use of nuclear weapons towards a Nordic country: Scenarios, impact assessments and protective measures

NKS-B Research Area Emergency Preparedness
Project summary

After the cold war, the use of nuclear weapons towards countries in Northern Europe has been seen as an increasingly unlikely scenario. In the last few years, however, there has been significant changes in the international security environment, and the view has now changed. In 2017, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its famous Doomsday Clock a half-minute closer to midnight, partly because of what they refer to as reckless approaches towards nuclear weapons.

 

In addition to the threat of international nuclear weapons use, there have been several books and reports detailing alarming numbers of mishaps with these weapons during and after the cold war, including near the Nordic countries. These discoveries are largely based on recently declassified documents from nuclear weapons states, and cover situations with loss of command and control structures, technical errors and miscommunication, among others. The then US president Barack Obama stated at the Nuclear Security Summit in 2016 that he considered the danger of a terrorist group obtainting and using a nuclear weapon to be one of the greatest threats to global security.

 

With the three international conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons held during 2013 and 2014, renewed attention has been drawn to the risks and consequences of nuclear detonations. The first conference, held in Oslo, established that "It is unlikely that any state or international body could address the immediate humanitarian emergency caused by a nuclear weapon detonation in an adequate manner and provide sufficient assistance to those affected. Moreover it might not be possible to establish such capacities, even if it were attempted". The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) followed on by concluding that the United Nations humanitarian system would not be able to render adequate assistance to states in nuclear detonation events. The official position of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is also that it is lacking any adequate humanitarian response capacity to nuclear detonations. It is therefore important for states themselves to assess the risk and work towards an adequate level of preparedness.

 

Several Nordic countries have currently an interest in scenarios related to the use and detonation of nuclear weapons within their borders. In order to coordinate efforts, and exchange knowledge and views in this work, we would like to have a workshop on scenarios, impact assessments and possible protective measures related to the use of nuclear weapons towards a Nordic country.

 

The workshop will be held in the Oslo area in Norway in 2020. It will be divided in three parts: Part A) Scenarios, Part B) Impact assessments and methodologies, and Part C) Protective measures. The workshop will have presentations and disccusions on each topic, and key speakers will be invited to the workshop.

Lead Organization DSA
Contact Person

Øyvind Gjølme Selnæs:  oyvind.selnaes@dsa.no 

phone number: +47 67 16 26 74

 

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Website last modified: 03 July 2020