The ATOM Project: Abolish Testing - Our Mission
“My goal is to be the last victim of nuclear weapon testing,’’ said Karipbek Kuyukov, Honorary Ambassador of the ATOM Project, during the opening ceremony of an exhibition at the Vienna International Centre, Austria, on 28 October 2013. The two-day event featured a photo exhibit entitled ‘A Lesson in Peace: The History of Dismantling of Soviet Nuclear Weapons in Kazakhstan’ and artwork by Kuyukov.
Addressing the audience, Kuyukov described the tragic consequences of nuclear testing, of which he is a survivor, and stressed the need to achieve a final and irrevocable ban on nuclear testing . He also urged support for the ATOM Project, which was launched by President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan on 29 August 2012.
My goal is to be the last victim of nuclear weapon testing.Karipbek Kuyukov, Honorary Ambassador of the ATOM Project
Abolish Testing: Our Mission
The event was organized jointly by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) as part of the ATOM Project, which stands for ‘Abolish Testing: Our Mission’. This international campaign has been developed to raise public awareness about the humanitarian and environmental consequences and dangers of nuclear testing. It provides global citizens with an opportunity to demonstrate to world leaders that they deserve and demand a world without nuclear weapons tests. The ATOM Project’s website features an internet petition calling for an end to nuclear weapons testing that can be signed by anyone: it already has over 70,000 signatures worldwide.
The ATOM Project is an expression of the strength of the people of Kazakhstan: in suffering, they found determination; in despair, they found awareness; in tragedy, they found firm conviction of a better world.CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo
Human and environmental costs of nuclear tests
During the opening ceremony, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said: “The ATOM Project is an expression of the strength of the people of Kazakhstan: in suffering, they found determination; in despair, they found awareness; in tragedy, they found firm conviction of a better world. While telling the stories of the survivors of nuclear tests, the ATOM Project creates awareness of the human and environmental cost of nuclear testing, and acts as a strong voice for millions of citizens all over the world united in their desire to stop nuclear testing forever and to choose a different future.” Zerbo reiterated the importance of the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT) and praised President Nazarbayev’s historic decision to shut down the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site on 29 August 1991, a date that has since been proclaimed as the International Day against Nuclear Tests by the United Nations. Read Zerbo’s full statement here.
Kazakhstan’s commitment to a nuclear-weapon-free world
Outlining Kazakhstan's initiatives in the fields of non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to Austria, Kairat K. Abdrakhmanov, also highlighted the importance of the CTBT: ’This exhibition represents only a part of the damage that was caused by half a century of nuclear weapons tests. Until the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty enters into force, the risks posed by nuclear tests will not be completely eliminated and the ultimate goal of a nuclear-free world will be left unattained.‘’
“The ATOM Project is an important instrument which is there to provide help and popular support for the noble efforts of the CTBTO,” stated Roman Y. Vassilenko, Ambassador-at-large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, who also attended the opening ceremony.
Similar exhibitions have been held at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, as well as at the UN Office in Geneva, the UN Headquarters in New York, and the Northern Virginia Community College near Washington, DC.