Nuclear testing has had tragic consequences for humans, the environment, and all life forms. The international day against nuclear tests is a chance to reflect on this danger and join together to stop the testing of these disastrous weapons. International Day against Nuclear Tests is an opportunity to urge all countries to make the comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), a reality by ensuring its entry into force. This is also a time to recognize real progress.
International Day against Nuclear Tests 2021 is on Sunday, August 29, 2021. This day is also called Anti Nuclear Day.
International Day against Nuclear Tests is observed yearly on August 29. The United Nations (UN) established this day on December 2, 2009, at the 64th session of the General Assembly.
Why the Date, August 29
August 29 is the closure anniversary, in 1991, of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan. It shows that efforts to stop nuclear testing can succeed, and bring hope that one day, all nuclear weapons will be eliminated.
Theme and Purpose of International Day Against Nuclear Tests
The definite purpose and the theme of Anti Nuclear Day are to increase awareness about the “worst effects of the nuclear weapons test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation to achieve the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world”.
Activities of Anti Nuclear Day
- Attend the seminar or meeting, about this day, held by some institution or NGO.
- Read about nuclear issues in the world today.
- Watch a documentary or movie about nuclear disasters. Like, Trinity and Beyond(1995), The Day After (1983), Threads (1984).
- Aware the people about the devastating effects of nuclear weapons.
- Use social media to favor International Day against Nuclear Tests.
Background and History of Anti Nuclear Day
Role of Kazakhstan for International Day against Nuclear Tests
Following the creation of this Day, in May 2010 all state parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons assured to “achieve the peace and security of the world without nuclear weapons”.
On September 15, 2014, the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the United States held a conference at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. This conference focused on the issue of nuclear weapons testing and the road forward for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. The participants of the conference assured about the nuclear weapons non-proliferation.
What is the Semipalatinsk Test Site?
Semipalatinsk Test Site was the primary testing place for the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons. It is located in north-east Kazakhstan. The scientific buildings were located around 150 km west of the town of Semipalatinsk (later renamed Semey).
The Soviet Union executed 456 nuclear tests at this site including 340 underground shots and 116 atmospheric from 1949 to 1989. The bad effects of radiation exposure were hidden for many years by Soviet authorities and have only come to light since the test site closed in 1991.
From 1996 to 2012, Kazakh, Russian, and U.S. nuclear scientists and engineers secured the waste plutonium in a secret joint operation in the mountains of this test site.
The STS is the only atomic testing site in the world opened to the public.
The United Nations proposed a treaty (TPNW) to ban nuclear weapons. The 193-member UN General Assembly on 7 July 2017 approved this treaty, by a vote of 122 in favor, the Netherlands opposed, and Singapore abstaining. Iran voted in favor of this treaty. The five original nuclear powers — the US, Russia, China, Britain and four other countries India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel boycotted negotiations and the vote on the treaty.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has supported the nuclear weapons ban treaty, calling it a ‘very welcome initiative.
The United Nations has announced in October 2020 that 50 countries have ratified this UN treaty (TPNW) to ban nuclear weapons. Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning moved this hail along with anti-nuclear activists. The United States and the other major nuclear powers strongly opposed this treaty.