Skip to main content

The prohibition on using nuclear weapons

Today’s nine nuclear-armed states possess the unique capability to start or engage in a nuclear war, which could – under some extreme scenarios – end all human life on Earth. Nuclear weapons have not been used since August 1945 when the United States dropped a nuclear weapon first on Hiroshima and then, three days later, on Nagasaki. No state has therefore contravened the prohibition on use of nuclear weapons since the TPNW was adopted in 2017.

NWBM suitcase
A military aide carries a briefcase containing launch codes for nuclear weapons as US President Donald Trump returns to the White House in Washington DC, 24 July 2018. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters/NTB
Compliance Compability 6

Immediate fatalities and injuries from one 100 kiloton nuclear weapon

Fig 16 Fatalities Injuries logo
Statistics on the number of fatalities and injured are from NUKEMAP by Alex Wellerstein, using population density information and nuclear effects information. Fatalities and injuries are based on the immediate impact of the detonation and do not account for long-term radiation deaths and injuries or the lasting environmental impact a large-scale nuclear detonation could cause. All of the detonations calculated were airbursts, not surface detonations. See,