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INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST NUCLEAR TESTS 29 AUG

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INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST NUCLEAR TESTS 29 AUG

PEOPLE FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT (PND) NSW

COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY SHOULD ENTER INTO FORCE



Today (29 August) is the International Day Against Nuclear Tests. The date of 29 Aug was chosen by the United Nations at the suggestion of the Government of Kazakhstan, as it was the day on which the former Soviet nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk was closed.

Over 1100 nuclear tests were carried out by the United States in Nevada, Alaska, the Marshall Islands, other parts of the Pacific, and in outer space.

Tests carried out in Nevada resulted in large-scale contamination of downwind inhabitants and large-scale morbidity.

The Largest ever US test was the 15Megaton Castle Bravo test, which contaminated the crew of the Japanese fishing boat Lucky Dragon, bringing about an agonizing slow death from radiation sickness, and contaminating the Marshall Islands.

The largest nuclear test ever was carried out by the Soviets in the early '60s in Novaya Zemlya, a large island above the arctic circle, and known as 'Tsar Bomba' (King of Bombs). At 60megatons, it vaporized the sacred hunting grounds of the Nenets people, sent fallout right around the world and caused the planet to ring like a bell with seismic shock for hours. The Soviets carried out around 800 nuclear tests, many of them at the Semipalatinsk test site, and causing widespread radioactive contamination with catastrophic effects on local populations.

In addition, nuclear tests have been carried out by the UK, (many of them in Maralinga and Emu Field, Australia), France (Algeria and the Pacific), China (Sinkiang), India (Pokhran, Rajasthan) Pakistan (Baluchistan), and the DPRK. French, Chinese, and British tests have all inflicted radiation-based disease and death on local populations and participants.

Nuclear testing is the backbone of nuclear arms-racing and proliferation. A resumption of nuclear testing, or the conducting of a new nuclear test by any country – including the DPRK – helps to inch the world toward an abyss into which we hope it will never go.

The best way to halt proliferation and nail down a 'no nuclear testing' norm is for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which outlaws nuclear testing, to come into force.

The main obstacles currently to the entry into force of the CTBT is the refusal of the US Senate to ratify the treaty. If the US were to ratify the CTBT, a small but highly strategic cascade of other ratifications (China, and one or two others) would take place, and the CTBT would enter into force.

Other means might also be sought to cause the CTBT to enter into force.

Banning nuclear testing is both an important environmental protection and an important step toward the elimination of nuclear weapons altogether.

Contact:

John Hallam
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UN urges all States to sign, ratify Nuclear Test Ban as ‘critical step
on road to nuclear-free world’

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51744#.VeE7q30pq2A

A view of Semipalatinsk Test Site’s ground zero in Kurchatov,
Kazakhstan. Remote Semipalatinsk was once the Soviet Union’s primary
testing venue for nuclear weapons. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

28 August 2015 – For the fifth International Day against Nuclear
Tests, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed
voluntary moratoria on testing imposed by nuclear-armed states but
stressed that these cannot substitute for a legally-binding treaty.

“The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is essential for the
elimination of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Ban said in a message. “It is a
legally-binding, verifiable means by which to constrain the
quantitative and qualitative development of nuclear weapons.”

The UN General Assembly declared 29 August the International Day
against Nuclear Tests in December 2009, adopting a unanimous
resolution that calls for increasing awareness and education “about
the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear
explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of
achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.” 2010 marked the
inaugural commemoration of the International Day against Nuclear
Tests.

Reminding the world that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the
dawn of the nuclear age, the UN chief said 70 years ago in 1945, “the
Trinity Test unleashed the power of more than 20,000 tons of TNT and
precipitated over 2,000 additional nuclear tests.”

“Pristine environments and populated communities in Central Asia,
North Africa, North America and the South Pacific were hit,” he said.
“Many have never recovered from the resulting environmental, health
and economic damage. Poisoned groundwater, cancer, leukaemia,
radioactive fallout – these are among the poisonous legacies of
nuclear testing.”

“The best way to honour the victims of past tests is to prevent any in
the future,” he said, noting that two decades after the CTBT was
negotiated, “the time has long past for its entry-into-force.”

“I welcome the voluntary moratoria on testing imposed by nuclear-armed
States,” Mr. Ban said “At the same time, I stress that these cannot
substitute for a legally-binding Treaty.”

“On this International Day, I repeat my longstanding call on all
remaining States to sign and ratify the Treaty – especially the eight
necessary for its entry-into-force – as a critical step on the road to
a nuclear-weapon-free world,” he said.

The General Assembly resolution that established the world day was
initiated by Kazakhstan, together with a large number of sponsors and
cosponsors with a view to commemorate the closure of the Semipalatinsk
Nuclear Test site on 29 August 1991.

In his remarks, Assembly President Sam Kutesa said the recently held
2015 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of
Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had highlighted the stark reality of the
increasing divisions between the States parties over the future of
nuclear disarmament.

“It is now time to bridge the gap and work with more resolute
political will to ensure that the NPT continues to remain the
cornerstone of global security,” he declared.

Mr. Kutesa applauded the efforts of the Government of Kazakhstan, not
only for initiating the International Day, but also for its continuing
leadership in efforts to end nuclear weapons testing and to promote a
world free of nuclear weapons.

He also commend the recent announcement of the Joint Comprehensive
Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme, reached in Vienna
between the international negotiators and Iran as an important step
forward on this critical issue.

“I hope this agreement will benefit the non-proliferation regime and
will lead to greater mutual understanding and cooperation on the many
serious security challenges in the Middle East and beyond,” he said.

He also announced that on 10 September, he plans to convene an
informal meeting of the General Assembly to mark the International Day
under the overall theme ‘Towards Zero: Resolving the Contradictions.’






http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/28-Aug-2015/un-urges-all-states-to-sign-ratify-ctbt

UN urges all states to sign, ratify CTBT

Ban says comprehensive treaty essential for elimination of nuclear weapons

APP
August 28, 2015, 11:45 pm
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NEW YORK – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed voluntary
moratoria on testing imposed by nuclear-armed states but stressed that
these cannot substitute for a legally-binding treaty.


"A Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is essential for the
elimination of nuclear weapons,” the secretary-general said in a
message marking the fifth International Day against Nuclear Tests. “It
is a legally-binding, verifiable means by which to constrain the
quantitative and qualitative development of nuclear weapons," he said.


The UN General Assembly declared August 29 the International Day
against nuclear tests in December 2009, adopting a unanimous
resolution that calls for increasing awareness and education about the
effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear
explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of
achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world. 2010 marked the
inaugural commemoration of the International Day against Nuclear
Tests.


Reminding the world that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the
dawn of the nuclear age, the UN chief said that about 70 years ago in
1945, the Trinity Test unleashed the power of more than 20,000 tons of
TNT and precipitated over 2,000 additional nuclear tests. "Pristine
environments and populated communities in Central Asia, North Africa,
North America and the South Pacific were hit," he said.


– Nuclear weapon-free world –


"Many have never recovered from the resulting environmental, health
and economic damage. Poisoned groundwater, cancer, leukaemia,
radioactive fallout – these are among the poisonous legacies of
nuclear testing," he said. "The best way to honour the victims of past
tests is to prevent any in the future,” he said, noting that two
decades after the CTBT was negotiated, "the time has long past for its
entry-into-force."


"I welcome the voluntary moratoria on testing imposed by nuclear-armed
states," Ban said. "At the same time, I stress that these cannot
substitute for a legally-binding treaty," he said. "On this
international day, I repeat my longstanding call on all remaining
states to sign and ratify the treaty especially the eight necessary
for its entry-into-force as a critical step on the road to a nuclear
weapon-free world," he said.


– Pakistan, India and Israel –


Pakistan, India and Israel have declined to sign the NPT on grounds
that such a treaty is fundamentally discriminatory as it places
limitations on states that do not have nuclear weapons while making no
efforts to curb weapons development by declared nuclear states. The
General Assembly resolution that established the world day was
initiated by Kazakhstan, together with a large number of sponsors and
cosponsors with a view to commemorate the closure of the Semipalatinsk
Nuclear Test site on August 29, 1991.





http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/08/29/comment/what-happened-with-the-ctbt/

What happened with the CTBT?

7 hours ago BY Maimuna Ashraf

A grim reminder on International Day against Nuclear Tests

“Now we are all sons of b******”, an immediate response of Dr Kenneth
T Bainbridge, the physicist who directed the first atomic bomb test,
on the first ever detonation of nuclear weapon. “Trinity” was the
codename given to the world’s first nuclear explosion by Dr J Robert
Oppenheimer, known as the ‘father of atomic bomb’ for leading the
World War II Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic bomb.
His reaction to Trinity Test, in which he recalled line from
Bhagavad-Gita is also remarkable; “Now I am become death, the
destroyers of worlds.” ‘The foul and awesome display’ of this
plutonium implosion device was seen on July 16, 1945, at a site known
as “Jornade del Muerto” located in the New Mexico desert at
Alamogordo, some miles south of Los Alamos. The world lately observed
the 70th anniversary of the dawn of nuclear age.

Since this first nuclear explosion till now, 2,053 nuclear test
explosions have been recorded at dozens of test sites around the world
by eight states: P5, India, Pakistan and North Korea. US detonated
1,030 atomic bomb. Russia, the second nuclear power, tested 715
nuclear tests. UK carried out 45 nuclear weapon tests, France 210,
China 43. India tested its first nuclear device in 1974, while
reportedly 6 other nuclear tests were conducted in 1998. Responding to
India’s nuclear weapon explosions, Pakistan detonated 6 nuclear
devices at Chagai. North Korea exploded 3 nuclear weapons in 2006,
2009 and 2013 respectively. To ensure the protection of people’s lives
and environment, most of the atomic tests are conducted underwater or
underground, however almost 528 tests in early years were detonated in
the atmosphere, resulting in spread of radioactive material. Often the
underground nuclear explosions also vent radiations into the
atmosphere and leave radioactive contamination in soil.

To advocate the banning of nuclear tests and to educate the world
about the legacy impacts of nuclear detonation, UN unanimously
approved a draft resolution on December 02, 2009, to declare 29 August
the “International Day against Nuclear Tests”. The resolution was
initiated by the Republic of Kazakhstan with a view to commemorate the
closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear test facility on August 29, 1991,
which was the world’s largest underground nuclear test site containing
181 separate tunnels and almost 460 nuclear explosions were conducted
there, few reportedly resulted in dispersion of plutonium in the
environment. The facility was closed by Kazakhstan government after
dissolution of USSR in 1991. After the establishment of International
Day against Nuclear Test, all states parties to NPT committed
themselves to “achieve peace and security of world without nuclear
weapons” in May 2010. The inaugural commemoration of the International
Day against Nuclear Tests was marked on August 29, 2010.

Therein lies the question as to why states detonate nuclear weapons if
they jeopardise human health and environment. And is it enough to
celebrate an international day against nuclear tests or what other
international mechanism has been placed in this deference?
Pragmatically, states conduct nuclear tests to evaluate new warhead
designs and to create more sophisticated weapons. An international
instrument to ban all civilian or military purposed nuclear tests in
all environments is not novel agenda of nuclear arms control. In
August 1963, Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), signed by US, UK and
USSR, entered into force and banned the nuclear testing of signatory
states in the atmosphere, outer space, underwater but not underground.
Though underground, not only the nuclear weapons testing continued but
the quantity also increased.

Later, PTBT became redundant with the signing of Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaty (CTBT) in September 1996, which bans all nuclear explosions
in all environments. Before CTBT, all treaties entered into force
limit but not ban the nuclear tests. Nonetheless, CTBT will enter into
force only after the 44 states listed in the treaty ratify it. Of
which 41 signed the treaty, 36 ratified, while DPRK, India and
Pakistan have neither signed nor ratified. Interestingly, five
nuclear-capable states Egypt, Iran, Israel, including two NPT
signatory states China and US, have signed but not ratified CTBT.
Eight conferences on facilitating entry into force of CTBT have been
held and ninth will take place this year on September 29, 2015. Since
1996, India, Pakistan and DPRK have tested their nuclear weapons while
many states including US and Russia claim they have not tested nuclear
weapons since this timeframe.

Although, in 2009 President Obama outlined his vision of a world free
of nuclear weapons but later he forged new treaties to reduce the
number of and spread of nuclear arsenals. On the contrary, he promised
in his 2010 Nuclear Posture Review to uphold the triad of nuclear
arsenals supported by every former US president. At the end of 2010,
US ratified New START agreement with Russia to limit both sides’
arsenals to 1,550 but again no advancement ensued on a treaty which
puts a permanent ban on nuclear tests.

Notwithstanding that US and Russia did not explode nuclear weapons
after signing CTBT, since 1997-2014, US has held twenty-eight
‘subcritical, sub-zero tests in the form of computer simulations’ at
the Nevada National security site. Conversely, Russia has also been
conducting subcritical experiments involving both uranium and
weapons-grade plutonium at Novaya Zemlya test site near Arctic Circle.
It means that in the absence of an option for underground testing
which previously provided assurance about the reliability of deployed
nukes, the designers of nuclear weapons now depend on computer
simulations along with laboratory level nuclear tests to ensure and
enhance the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons.

Los Alamos National Laboratory was the first to conduct the
subcritical experiment in 1997. The website of US Department of State
on computer simulation says, “Today, weapons designers benefit from
better simulation tools and computers capable of running highly
detailed calculations. Successes to date indicate that a cadre of
world-class scientists and engineers can employ physics-based
simulations, modern experiments, validations against collections of
re-analysed data from previous underground nuclear explosive tests,
and peer reviews to support stockpile decisions well into the future
without the need to return to nuclear explosive testing. These
computer simulation advances provide the United States with the
ability to monitor and maintain the nuclear weapons stockpile without
nuclear explosive testing.”

Evidently, keeping an option by not ratifying CTBT and conducting
subcritical tests shows that the US aims to improve its arsenals
qualitatively and want to maintain its option or ability to conduct
onerous underground nuclear testing if it becomes indispensable.
Inevitably, Russia would also change its attitude towards CTBT
although it has ratified CTBT in 2000 if the safety or readiness of
their nuclear would no more comply with the treaty. CTBT is a
zero-yield ban but US and UK held “hydronuclear” tests with yields up
to four pounds, whereas Russia, France, and China chose yield limits
of 10 tons, 300 tons, or an exemption for peaceful nuclear detonation,
respectively. Such yield limits are unacceptable to many NNWS while a
preference for peaceful nuclear explosion exemption has been rejected
by almost every NNWS.

Thus the contour of subject is that there is still a possibility to
modernise the nuclear warheads components, verify the reliability of
aging nuclear stockpiles and stimulate the environmental effects even
if all 44 states ratify CTBT because it does not stop from
hydronuclear, subcritical test through computer simulation and allows
NWS to qualitatively improve their arsenals at sub-zero. A grim
reminder on International Day against Nuclear Test is that a
discriminatory CTBT would not fulfill the nuclear-test-ban ethos till
it removes any escape routes including explosives or non-explosive
tests.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 29 August 2015 16:31