The creation of nuclear weapons we see in the Oscar-nominated film isn’t just an issue of the past. We’re still working to avert a nuclear catastrophe.

By Curtis Asplund, The Progressive

As a physicist concerned about nuclear policy, I have been amazed by the success of a three-hour movie about scientists struggling with the creation and consequences of nuclear weapons. “Oppenheimer” is nominated for 13 Academy Awards and is expected to crown its success with a Best Picture win at the Oscars. The film’s storyhowever, is far from over: Nuclear weapons still threaten us all, and they are a major reason the Doomsday Clock was recently kept at 90 seconds to midnight.

Military personnel observe a nuclear weapons test in Nevada, the United States, in 1951.

The good news is we can join the efforts of scientists, activists and members of Congress working to avert eventual nuclear catastrophe.

Decades after the Cold War, the United States today still has more than 1,500 nuclear weapons ready to attack, and each weapon is many times more destructive than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, which killed more than 110,000 people. Even a fraction of our arsenal could cause the death of billions of people through nuclear winter and the resulting famine.

To nations around Russia and North Korea, which are threatened by nuclear saber-rattling and missile tests, these weapons are a real and present danger. The nuclear weapons build-up by these nations is profoundly misguided and is making their people less safe, not to mention chewing up money and resources. We should in no way look to them as examples to follow.

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