“From August 1945, the margin of survival has narrowed appallingly. . . In the years succeeding 1945 the path of safety started to shrink to a tight-rope along which we had to walk with our eyes deliberately closed to the depths beneath us. “In any single moment of the years since then the fatal slip might have been made. It is a miracle that it was not. It is a double miracle that can go on happening for years.
But sooner or later that slip will occur . . . whether through malice, carelessness or sheer accident; the balance will have been lost and the destruction let loose”.
The atomic bombing raids killed between one and two hundred thousand Japanese civilians and military personnel outright, with the heat, radiation, and blast effects. Many tens of thousands would later die of radiation sickness and related cancers. (Rezelman, David; F.G. Gosling and Terrence R. Fehner (2000). “The atomic bombing of Hiroshima” and The Manhattan Project: An Interactive History, U.S. Department of Energy).
State of play
South Africa has the unique status of a nation that developed nuclear weapons but then disassembled its arsenal before joining the NPT.