Nuclear weapons threat: main outputs

Decades of work by Scientists for Global Responsibility, and its predecessors including Scientists Against Nuclear Arms, have helped establish that use of nuclear weapons would be a catastrophe threatening human civilisation and the natural world.

For example, our research reports have built upon recent academic studies and show that launch of the nuclear weapons carried by a single Trident submarine could be sufficient to cause rapid and devastating global cooling - a 'nuclear winter'. We have also highlighed that the threat of nuclear war through miscalculation or accident is a very real risk.

Our work has contributed to a global campaign - ICAN - and a new UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). In 2017, this collective effort was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Most national governments now agree that nuclear weapons undermine global security and divert vast public resources away from meeting human needs. Disturbingly, the UK government is not among this majority.

Our work is helping to change this.

Below is a list of our main reports, presentations and articles on this issue. All recent material is indexed in the security and disarmament section of this website.

Reports, books and briefings

Nuclear weapons: a beginner’s guide to the threats
Philip Webber; latest update: July 2023

UK nuclear weapons: a catastrophe in the making?
Philip Webber, Stuart Parkinson; August 2015

The climatic impacts and humanitarian problems from the use of the UK's nuclear weapons
Philip Webber; February 2013

Humanitarian consequences: short case study of the direct humanitarian impacts from a single nuclear weapon detonation on Manchester, UK
Richard Moyes, Philip Webber and Greg Crowther; February 2013 (published by Article 36)

London after the bomb: what a nuclear attack really means
Owen Greene, Barry Rubin, Neil Turok, Philip Webber, and Graeme Wilkinson; 1982

Main presentations

What would a nuclear war look like?
Stuart Parkinson, Labour Party conference fringe, Liverpool; September 2022

The threat from nuclear winter
Stuart Parkinson, CND webinar, March 2022

Abolishing nuclear weapons
Stuart Parkinson, Lancaster, April 2018

Trident, nuclear winter and the delusion of deterrence
Philip Webber, York University, September 2017

UK nuclear weapons: an introduction to the risks
Stuart Parkinson, Lancaster, October 2016

Nuclear weapons and climate catastrophe
Philip Webber, SGR conference, London, October 2015

Humanitarian problems from the use of nuclear weapons - and some solutions?
Philip Webber, SGR conference, London, November 2013

Humanitarian problems from the use of a nuclear weapon on a UK city
Philip Webber, Town Hall, Manchester, October 2013

Main articles

Has our society forgotten the extreme horror of nuclear weapons?
Philip Webber, Reaponsible Science journal, March 2022

Nuclear weapons are now illegal
Philip Webber, Responsible Science journal
, August 2021

Brexit Britain’s security policy: cutting aid to spend on weapons
Stuart Parkinson, Responsible Science journal, May 2021

The threat of nuclear war is all too real
Philip Webber, Metro, May 2019

"Unaffordable" and "unachievable": the continuing problems of Trident renewal
Philip Webber and Stuart Parkinson, Responsible Science journal, February 2019

The history of accidents in the UK’s nuclear weapons programme
David Cullen and Peter Burt, SGR Newsletter, April 2018

Nuclear deterrence: a failed doctrine?
Philip Webber, Huffington Post UK, April 2018

Could Trident be hacked?
Aleem Datoo, SGR Newsletter, February 2017

Trident, deterrence and UK security
Philip Webber, SGR Newsletter, January 2016

Why now is the right time to abolish the UK's nuclear weapons
Philip Webber, New Scientist, May 2015

Too close for comfort: cases of near nuclear use and options for policy
Sasan Aghlani, SGR Newsletter, winter 2015

The humanitarian and climatic impacts of the use of the UK’s nuclear weapons
Philip Webber, Nuclear Monitor, April 2013

Deterrence irrelevance: Trident, Britain and nuclear weapons
Nick Ritchie, SGR Newsletter, spring 2009

High-alert nuclear weapons: the forgotten danger
Steven Starr, SGR Newsletter, autumn 2008

Could one Trident submarine cause 'nuclear winter'?
Philip Webber, SGR Newsletter, winter 2008

The costs of replacing Trident
Stuart Parkinson, Physics World, March 2007

Does anybody remember the nuclear winter?
Stuart Parkinson, SGR Newsletter, July 2003

Other outputs

Scientists welcome adoption of nuclear ban treaty
SGR press release, July 2017

Stephen Hawking and other leading scientists urge MPs to vote against Trident renewal
SGR press release, July 2016

Nobel physicians warn two billion at risk from nuclear famine
SGR press release, December 2013