This title examines one of the world's critical issues, nuclear weapons. Readers will learn the historical background of this issue leading up to its current and future impact on society. Development of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, the Manhattan Project, fission and fusion bombs and their delivery systems, nuclear weapons testing, as well as nuclear power and nuclear-powered watercraft are discussed in detail. World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and the use of nuclear weapons on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan are covered. The nuclear arms race of the Big Five: United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China, and emerging nuclear states and nuclear terrorism are also covered. Affects of nuclear explosions including radiation on humans and the environment, and nuclear accidents are discussed. Legislation and programs to address nuclear weapons such as deterrence, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) treaties, Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty are also introduced. Engaging text, informative sidebars, and color photographs present information realistically, leaving readers with a thorough, honest interpretation of nuclear weapons. Features include a timeline, facts, additional resources, Web sites, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index. Essential Issues is a series in Essential Library, an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company.