Home Articles Features INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST NUCLEAR TESTING 29 AUG 2021

INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST NUCLEAR TESTING 29 AUG 2021

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 INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST NUCLEAR TESTING 29 AUG 2021

PEOPLE FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

HUMAN SURVIVAL PROJECT

Today is the International Day Against Nuclear testing, being the 30th anniversary of the closure of the Polygon nuclear test site in Semipalatinsk Kazakhstan, at which some 468 Soviet nuclear tests took place from 1949 to 1990.

The deserts of southern Kazakhstan aren't by any means the only place in which testing ever took place. In Russia, the largest nuclear test on earth took place in 1963 at Novaya Zemlya in the arctic, with the explosion of Tsar Bomba (King of Bombs) a 50megaton monster 4 times the size of the largest ever US test at Castle bravo in the Pacific.

Nuclear tests have taken place in Nevada, on pacific islands, in Algeria, in the Australian desert at Maralinga, in Sinkiang, in Tibet, in Kazakhstan and Northern Russia, in Siberia, in the arctic, underground, above ground, and in outer space.

At one point the US government even planned to nuke the moon.

US and Soviet tests in outer space revealed a phenomenon known as 'electromagnetic pulse', whereby an explosion optimized for the production of gamma rays would short out electrical and electronic equipment on the earth below on a continent-wide scale, taking a high-tech society back to the 18th century in a nanosecond.

Nuclear test fallout has ruined entire societies, mostly impacting indigenous peoples. In Novaya Zemlya, the Nenets peoples sacred hunting grounds were vaporized by Tsar Bomba. In Australia groups of aboriginals walked through the fallout and died.

After the closing of the Polygon test site, Kazakhstan became a leader in the international movement against nuclear testing and for nuclear abolition. However, tests have continued with French tests in the Pacific in 1995, and Chinese tests the same time at Lop Nor – and a series of DPRK tests starting in 2006.

Though most countries have now signed the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty (CTBT) which bans nuclear testing and sets up a body to monitor such tests, 8 key governments including the United States, India, Pakistan and China, have this far resisted ratifying it, meaning it cannot officially enter into force. However, its monitoring body, the CTBTO continues to do its job.

The recalcitrant governments should shoulder their responsibilities and ratify. The US for example, can hardly condemn others (such as the DPRK) for doing what it refuses to ratify a treaty to say for sure it will not do.

 

John Hallam

People for Nuclear Disarmament

Human Survival Project

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