International Day Against Nuclear Tests

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

The International Day against Nuclear Tests is meant to galvanize the efforts of the United Nations, Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, youth networks and the media in informing, educating and advocating the necessity of banning nuclear tests as a valuable step toward achieving a safer world.

International Day Against Nuclear Tests website

Embrace a World Free of Nuclear Weapons

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

The 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly declared 29 August as the International Day against Nuclear Tests through the unanimous adoption of its resolution 64/35 on 2 December 2009. The resolution emphasizes "that every effort should be made to end nuclear tests in order to avert devastating and harmful effects on the lives and health of people ...and, that the end of nuclear tests is one of the key means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world."

United Nations General Assembly resolution 64/35 (PDF)

Fiftieth Session of General Assembly Adopts Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
General Assembly Adopts Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban
Treaty - Photo Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

Though the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), signed in 1963, has prevented nuclear testing in the atmosphere, testing of nuclear weapons underground has continued. Some countries have unilaterally promised not to test nuclear weapons at all, but a voluntary moratorium will not necessarily bring an end to nuclear explosions. Bringing into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which would forever ban any further nuclear weapon test explosion, would be a significant advance in both nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

CTBO monitoring station in Antarctica
CTBTO monitoring station in Antarctica
Photo Credit: CTBTO

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is based in Vienna. The CTBTO's main tasks are the promotion of the Treaty and the build-up of the verification regime so that it is operational when the Treaty enters into force. A key element is the International Monitoring System (IMS) which will, when complete, consist of 337 facilities worldwide to monitor the planet for signs of nuclear explosions. Around 80 percent of the facilities are already up and running.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)

Nuclear test explosion at a Pacific atoll
Nuclear test explosion at a
Pacific atoll

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

Over 2000 nuclear tests were carried out between 1945 and 1996 when the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was opened for signature, most by the United States and the Soviet Union, but also by the United Kingdom, France and China. Three countries have tested nuclear weapons since 1996: India, Pakistan, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Nuclear explosions produce immediate and delayed destructive effects. Immediate effects from both the blast and thermal radiation cause significant destruction within seconds. Delayed effects from radioactive fallout have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts.

Multimedia map of nuclear explosions, 1945-1998

Effects of nuclear explosions

Location of Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan
Location of Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

The Government of Kazakhstan was the main sponsor of General Assembly resolution 64/35. Kazakhstan, which had been part of the former Soviet Union, closed the Semipalatinsk test site on 29 August 1991. It was forty-five years to the day when the first nuclear test explosion took place there.

Ending nuclear testing

A protest against nuclear testing
Photo Credit: Peter Drekmeier

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

Over the decades, and especially in recent years, civil society efforts in support of a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing have, for the most part, been connected to the larger enterprise of achieving the total elimination of nuclear weapons. To help bring the CTBT into force, NGOs, civil society and members of the public, especially in those countries that must ratify the Treaty for it to enter into force, can urge their — and other - governments and parliaments to sign and ratify the treaty.

Civil Society's Efforts