he International Day against Nuclear Tests observed on August 29, was established at the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly by resolution 64/35, on December 2, 2009 and was adopted unanimously.
Each year, since then, the day has been observed by co-ordinating various activities throughout the world, such as symposiums, conferences, exhibitions, competitions, publications, media broadcasts etc.
The international instrument to put an end to all forms of nuclear testing is the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) -- a concept -- which has not yet been ratified.
Nuclear weapons have been tested in all environments since 1945 -- in the atmosphere, underground and underwater.
According to the 2000 Report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation to the UN General Assembly, radiation exposure can damage living cells, killing some and modifying others and may eventually lead to cancer.
Vegetation can also be contaminated when fallout is directly deposited on external surfaces of plants and absorbed through the roots. Further, people are exposed when they eat meat and milk from animals grazing on contaminated vegetation. Radiation exposure has been associated with most forms of leukaemia, as well as cancer of the thyroid, lung and breast.
The testing of nuclear weapons commenced in the mid-twentieth century, with the first test being carried out on 16 July 1945 under the ‘Manhattan Project’. Since then, over 2,000 nuclear tests have been carried out and little consideration paid to the devastating effects of testing nuclear weapons on human life, and the understanding of nuclear fallout from atmospheric tests.
On August 6, -- less than a month after the initial testing of the atom bomb -the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb (Little Boy) on the city of Hiroshima. American President Harry S. Truman called for Japan’s surrender 16 hours later, warning them to “expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.” Three days later, on August 9, the U.S. dropped a plutonium implosion-type bomb (Fat Man) on the city of Nagasaki.
The bombings killed between 90,000–146,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 in Nagasaki (conservative estimates). In both cities, most of the dead were civilians.
The atomic bombing of Japan was preceded by the US firebombing of Tokyo on 10 March. 279 bombers dropped 1,665 tons of bombs. The raid caused a massive conflagration that overwhelmed Tokyo’s civil defences and destroyed 16 square miles (41 km2) of buildings. The Tokyo police and fire department estimated that 83,793 people were killed during the air raid, 40,918 were injured and around a million homes were destroyed.
The exact number of those killed by those atomic bombs dropped on Japan will never be known. The destruction and chaos following the explosions made counting impossible. The two bombings, which killed at least 129,000 people, made the US the only country in the world to use nuclear weapons.
General (and later President) Dwight Eisenhower -- then Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces -- and the officer who created most of America’s WWII military plans for Europe and Japan said The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.
Today marks the 70th year since the US dropped the first nuclear weapon used in warfare.Though there are treaties banning biological and chemical weapons, cluster bombs, and landmines, there is no such ban on nuclear weapons which have a far more destructive and long-lasting impact on human beings, animals and the very earth on which we live. Currently 183 States have signed the Treaty and 162 have ratified it. However, countries like China, DPRK, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States have not signed the treaty.
In the US alone, more than US$ 44 billion has been spent on the production of nuclear weapons. ‘Clean Up’ is expected to cost more than US$ 300 billion through the year 2070, and even then the contaminated sites will require monitoring into the future. Plutonium takes around 250,000 years to turn into lead. The burial of radioactive materials is presently being touted as the ‘solution’ to radioactive waste ‘disposal’. According to Greenpeace, there is no solution to the problem of radioactive waste, there are no technologies that can clean up radiation, which is why the entire nuclear project needs to be stopped and stopped immediately.
Schlosser warns: “There are still about 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Terrorists only need to steal one”.