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The prohibition on use

No state has contravened the TPNW’s prohibition on use of nuclear weapons, but 2022 was a year of exceptional danger. The nuclear taboo, a 77-year norm of non-use, was eroded while still being protected. The risk that Russia’s war in Ukraine could escalate to nuclear weapon use remains a deep concern.

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An employee works in a pharmacy next to a sign reading ‘We don't have iodine tablets’ in Zagreb, Croatia, 3 March 2022, after residents bought all the iodine in pharmacies following Russian President Vladimir Putin's thinly veiled nuclear threats. Prompted by fears that the war in Ukraine could involve the use of a nuclear weapon or an incident at a nuclear power plant, shortages on iodine pills were in 2022 reported in pharmacies across Europe and further afield, according to The Lancet. The US Department of Health and Human Services also announced the purchase of US$290 million of an anti-radiation drug as part of its preparedness programme, and the US government and the state of New York released public service announcements and guidance on what to do in case of a nuclear attack. Photo: Denis Lovrovic/AFP/NTB