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Nuclear Famine

A billion people at risk

A report released Tuesday, April 24th at the Nobel Peace Laureates Summit in Chicago presents new data that should cause a fundamental rethinking of our nuclear policy. The study shows that even a limited nuclear war involving less than half a percent of the world's nuclear arsenals would cause climate disruption that could cause a global famine.

Read a CNN op-ed by Dr. Ira Helfand and Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala by clicking here.

Listen to a recording of a press conference from Tuesday, April 24th at 9:30AM with national and local reporters by clicking here.

Listen to a recording and read an article by New England Public Radio on the Nuclear Famine Report by clicking here.

Nobel Laureates (from Left to Right) Lech Walesa, Vappu Taipale, Mikhail Gorbachev, F.W. de Klerk, Jayantha Dhanapala

The study prepared by PSR and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), assumed that 100 Hiroshima sized bombs were used and estimated that one billion people, one sixth of the human race, could starve over the following decade.

The scenario in the study was based on a war between India and Pakistan,  and we do now need to understand that smaller nuclear powers, not just the US and Russia, pose a threat to the entire planet.

But the greater lesson concerns the nuclear forces of the big powers.  Each US Trident submarine can destroy 100 cities and produce the global famine described in the study.  The US has 14 of them.  And a fleet of land based nuclear missiles, and an arsenal of nuclear weapons that can be delivered by bombers. The Russians possess the same capacity.

President Barack Obama has articulated a vision for a world free of nuclear weapons and, yet, continues to propose budgets with significant increases in spending on our arsenal. Join us in writing to the President and asking for clear and bold leadership for nuclear abolition and in preventing this grave threat to human health.

Even the most ambitious arms reductions now being discussed would leave the US and Russia with 300 warheads each, most 10 to 30 times larger than a Hiroshima sized bomb:  an arsenal capable of producing the global famine scenario many, many times over.

It is time to begin urgent talks aimed at reducing the arsenals of all nuclear powers as the next essential step towards a binding, verifiable, enforceable treaty that eliminates them altogether.  


Nuclear Famine Report

Press Release

Action Alerts

More action alerts»


  • Video: Can We Prevent Nuclear War?

    The danger of nuclear war is real. PSR's Dr. Ira Helfand spoke at TEDx Vail on the threat to human survival posed by nuclear war and what we can do about it: we can all take action to end nuclear weapons in all forms. Read more »

  • Dr. Ira Helfand Speaks at the UN

    Dr. Ira Helfand spoke before the Untied Nations General Assembly on September 10, 2015 as part of a panel addressing the pursuit of a nuclear weapons free world. Read more »

  • Video: We Have an Iran Deal! Now What?

    Watch PSR Security Program's latest webinar to understand the details of the Iran Deal and what you can do to keep the deal safe from Congress. Featuring speaker Kelsey Davenport, Arms Control Association. Read more »

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