Front Burner

As war in Ukraine rages, assessing the nuclear risk

Today on Front Burner, a nuclear weapons expert discusses the arsenals of Russia and the United States, the destruction they could cause and why they still exist.
A technician inspects a missile underneath a fighter jet.
In this photo taken from video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, a Russian military technician checks a MiG-31K fighter of the Russian air force carrying a Kinzhal hypersonic cruise missile parked at an air field. Earlier this month, the Russian Defense Ministry announced massive drills of its strategic nuclear forces involving multiple practice missile launches, which they said Putin personally oversaw. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service/The Associated Press)

"A nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought," warned NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last Wednesday.

It's a prospect that many in Canada haven't had to consider since the end of the Cold War, but experts say the risk hasn't disappeared.

A few weeks ago, Front Burner did an episode about no-fly zones, and how some experts argue that the U.S. shouldn't enforce one in Ukraine because it could lead to an escalation that could put Russia and the United States, two nuclear powers, in direct conflict.

Today, guest host Jason D'Souza speaks with nuclear weapons expert Tom Collina about the state of these major powers' nuclear arsenals and the destruction they could cause. Collina, the director of policy at the Ploughshares Fund, says nuclear weapons are enabling Russia to "take Ukraine hostage and keep other nations out."