Monday, August 29, 2011

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

Craters from nuclear tests
at the Nevada Test Site
Today, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Geneva branch hosted a seminar commemorating the International Day against Nuclear Tests in conjunction with the UN Mission of Kazakhstan. The International Day against Nuclear Tests – August 29 – was  adopted by the United Nations General Assembly last year at the urging of Kazakhstan.

Today’s seminar looked at the history of the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan, where the Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests, causing untold damage to the land and downwind inhabitants. Kazakhstan closed the Semipalatinsk site 20 years ago today. The seminar also examined the importance of ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which still needs ratification from a few key nations, including the United States, to enter into force.

I am traveling to Las Vegas in October for the fall meeting of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability. As part of our meeting, we will take a tour of the Nevada Test Site, where the United States conducted 1,021 nuclear detonations between 1953 and 1992. The pictures of the Nevada Test Site (like the one above) and the testimony of those living downwind from the Nevada Test Site are shocking and sad. I’m sure that a visit in person to the test site will add another layer of strength to my belief that nuclear testing must be stopped forever, and a just compensation paid to the victims of nuclear testing around the world.

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