Sirens wail, telephones ring, people are running around in a panic. During a nuclear attack, every second counts. If you’re lucky, you have about 45 seconds to find shelter. Once the missile is launched, its irreversible.
Those who survived the first blast would likely become ill and could die a slow and painful death from radioactive contamination. Depending on the weather, a large area can remain uninhabitable for years.
The economic impact would be devastating. For decades, survivors, their children and grandchildren would be have health problems and be at risk.
Even if nuclear weapons are not used, they are still dangerous: the production of nuclear weapons leaves a contaminated legacy for countless generations. Nine countries have nuclear weapons.
There are 20 nuclear weapons at the Volkel air base in Noord-Brabant. A squadron of Dutch air force pilots train to drop these bombs from Dutch fighter jets. The bombs will be replaced soon with a new version. The technical changes, like the new guided tail kit, or the variable yield, might make some commanders think they aren't really all that bad. But, even the smallest nuclear bomb is still tremendously more destructive than any conventional weapon. Nuclear weapons are closer and riskier than you might think.
The citizens' initiative
PAX also provided information leading to the majority of the Dutch parliament's decision to ask the government to remove the American nuclear weapons stationed here. Public opinion polls consistently show that no matter what party, what age, what background - Dutch people don't like nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapon ban
In 2017, a comprehensive treaty banning all nuclear weapons was adopted at the United Nations. Many countries have already signed and ratified the treaty, and it will become international law on 22 January 2021.
Keep it going!
With the treaty now in place, lots of banks and pension funds are also banning their investments in nuclear weapons, showing that this is unacceptable for everyone, all the time.
The Nobel Prize Committee recognized the danger posed by nuclear weapons: "Nuclear weapons are a permanent threat to humanity and life on Earth."
PAX won too
Winning the award was a huge recognition for ICAN as a whole, but also for PAX. PAX has been a leader in the ICAN campaign, we coordinate the efforts to get the financial sector to end investments in companies that make nuclear weapons, and we've worked hard in the Netherlands for the nuclear weapons ban. Because of our citizen initiative, the Netherlands was the only country with nuclear weapons on its soil that participated in negotiating the nuclear ban treaty.
One way to build that pressure is to get banks and pension funds to stop investing in nuclear weapon producers. PAX is working on this and a lot more, and we need your help! Your voice matters. With your support, we can bring the nuclear weapons ban treaty to life.
Help us get rid of these terrible weapons once and for all. Go to paxforpeace.nl/nuclearweapons and join!