The United Nations Commission for Conventional Armaments determined in 1948 that one of the categories of weapons of mass destruction was “radioactive material weapons”, now known as radiological weapons. They would, i f produced and used, disperse radioactive substances in order to cause injury to human beings. While such weapons are not known to exist at present, the United Nations has worked to prohibit them since 1969, when the General Assembly adopted resolution 2602 C (XXIV). Initiated by Malta, that resolution called on the CCD to consider effective means of control against radiological methods of warfare conducted independently of nuclear explosions, and recommended that that body examine the need for effective control of nuclear weapons that maximize radioactive effects. In 1970, however, the CCD questioned the practicality of discussing measures pertaining to radio logical warfare, given the relative shortage of available information. Not until 1976 did further discussions occur. That year the United States, concerned about the rapid accumulation of nuclear materials as a by-product of reactor operations, suggested that the General Assembly consider reaching an agreement that would prevent their use.

Related Subject(s): Disarmament
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