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Surviving nuclear zero: A fresh perspective on disarmament in the 21st century

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The 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review present an opportunity for the UK to re-examine the role played by nuclear weapons in its security strategies. Whilst acknowledging the lack of appetite for nuclear disarmament, particularly among the five Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nuclear-weapon states, due to a range of political, security and economic reasons, UNA-UK is determined to stimulate informed debate on possible UK action that can deliver benefits for its citizens and further the UK’s international obligations.

Working with the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), UNA-UK hosted a thought experiment event entitled ‘Surviving Nuclear Zero’ to encourage nuclear experts and students to consider the value states attach to nuclear weapons from a new perspective. The project challenged participants to identify how a post-nuclear UK could protect itself and engage effectively in a world where others still possessed nuclear weapons and where grave threats remained. What would fill the perceived gap in the UK’s national security strategies?
What would diplomatic relations with allies and adversaries look like? Would British citizens be safer?
This report highlights the lessons drawn from the Surviving Nuclear Zero debates, and makes recommendations for current UK Government action which UNA-UK believes would represent an investment in Britain’s future and in a safer, fairer and more sustainable world.