Since the beginning of the attack on Ukraine, Russian President Putin has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons, triggering the discussion on so-called tactical or "small" nuclear weapons. These terms are also increasingly appearing in the German debate. On this occasion, an IFSH briefing with Dr Moritz Kütt took place on 15 November in the institute's Berlin Office. Under the hypothesis "There are no small nuclear weapons.", Kütt presented current research results on the effects of nuclear weapons. Anja Dahlmann, Head of the Berlin Office, moderated the discussion round.
In his presentation, Kütt vividly explained the devastating short-, medium- and long-term consequences associated with a single nuclear explosion. For example, a nuclear explosion produces a shock wave, releases radioactive radiation and could possibly result in nuclear fallout. Moreover, even a single explosion can have an escalating effect, which may eventually lead to the outbreak of a global nuclear war. In addition to the immediate physical effects, there is also the danger of a nuclear winter, which would massively affect the food supply due to falling temperatures. The experts and stakeholders from science, think tanks and politics discussed these and other effects as well as questions of disarmament and possibilities to reduce nuclear escalation risks.
Dr Moritz Kütt presented his research results at the 2022 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons and at the 10th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Further information can be found here.