There are at least 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. Detonation of even a single nuclear weapon in a populated area, whether rural or urban, would almost definitely have catastrophic humanitarian consequences.
In most conceivable cases, it is not feasible to build an adequate humanitarian response capacity to address the humanitarian problems and the suffering of a nuclear detonation. Nuclear weapons have not been used in conflict since 1945, but many accidents, mishaps, and miscalculations involving nuclear weapons have come to light and continue to do so. In addition, there is the continuing risk of diversion of nuclear weapons to terrorist groups. While nuclear weapons continue to exist, the risk of their detonation cannot be eliminated. It is a paradox that these weapons of mass destruction have not already been made illegal in the same way as chemical and biological weapons.