Stanford Professor Emeritus Martin Hellman, a friend of SIAI and the Lifeboat Foundation, was recently featured in a press release by Stanford University, “Chance of nuclear war is greater than you think: Stanford engineer makes risk analysis”:
What are the chances of a nuclear world war? What is the risk of a nuclear attack on United States soil? The risk of a child born today suffering an early death due to nuclear war is at least 10 percent, according to Martin Hellman, a tall, thin and talkative Stanford Professor Emeritus in Engineering.
Nuclear tensions in Iran and North Korea are increasing the need to take a long look at how the United States handles weapons of mass destruction, Hellman said.
Auto manufacturers assess the risk of injury to drivers, and engineers assess potential risks of a new nuclear power plant. So why havenâ€™t we assessed the risk of nuclear conflict based on our current arms strategy? Hellman and a group of defense experts, Nobel laureates and Stanford professors are calling for an in-depth analysis.
With more than 25,000 nuclear weapons in existence and the ability to build many times more, the choice is between creating a safer world and having no world at all, Hellman wrote in his paper â€œRisk Analysis of Nuclear Deterrence.â€
Weapons from the Cold War still remain, but public concern for nuclear strategy has dissipated, Hellman said. Many of those who do think about it, such as political leaders, say the fantasy of nuclear disarmament is too risky for national defense, he explained.
â€œPeople who are saying change is too risky are implicitly assuming that the current approach is risk free, but no one really knows what the risk is if we donâ€™t change,â€ Hellman said.
Here is a video of Martin Hellman speaking at last year’s Catastrophic Risk Conference in Mountain View: