In her speech about nuclear weapons, Erika Gregory outlines a dire picture before pointing to ways in which the world can outgrow this dangerous and outdated weaponry.
She begins her speech by talking about the physical impact that today's nuclear weapons have. The weapons that exist today are hundreds of times stronger than what was dropped in Hiroshima, and there are 15,000 in existence today when less than 100 have the capacity to destroy all life on earth. She speaks to the vulnerability of the weapons, both in how they currently exist and in the ways they will be modernized. There have already been accidents by human fault related to these weapons, terrorist organizations are trying to obtain access to them, a black market for nuclear materials exists, and with the modernization of these weapons would come new and frightening implications for how cyber wars would be conducted. These vulnerabilities coupled with heightening international tensions leaves the world in a dangerous position, where "mutually assured destruction" is not enough to deter this impending threat.
Her speech is not completely hopeless, as she points out that through international cooperation, collaboration and innovation that the world can rid itself of these dangerous weapons by 2045. Although this sounds impossible, she points to the Megatons to Megawatts program that existed from 1993 to 2013 as an example to aspire to. This program involved cooperation between the US and Russia, in which Russia sold low-enriched uranium from its defense arsenals to the US, and this converted nuclear energy powered 10% of electricity in the US. Gregory points to this example as hope that people across borders will be able to work towards creating a future in which nuclear holocaust is not a constant threat.
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