The International Day against Nuclear
Tests: time to bring the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force

Vienna, 27 August 2010

The declaration of 29 August as the International Day against Nuclear Tests is an acknowledgement of the need to halt nuclear testing once and for all, Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said today. (Full message here) (watch the video)

“The will to pursue a nuclear-weapon-free world is not in short measure but we need to observe 29 August as a time to act and not to wait,” Tóth said.

Last year the United Nations General Assembly unanimously agreed to declare 29 August the International Day against Nuclear Tests.

“Now is the time for the nine States whose ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) will bring it into force to show the political will and fully endorse it,” Tóth said.

The CTBT has been signed by 182 States and ratified by 153, but to become international law 44 States that were significant nuclear technology holders at the time it opened for signature in 1996 must ratify. Currently 35 have done so. Nine remain. These are China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.

When the Treaty becomes law it will prohibit all nuclear explosions. “The hands of States seeking to develop nuclear weapons and the hands of those that already have them will be tied without their ability to test,” said Tóth.

The nuclear arms race began on 29 August 1949 when the Soviet Union followed the United States and detonated its first nuclear device on the steppes of Kazakhstan at the Semipalatinsk test site, also known as the Polygon. The event came four years after the explosion of the first nuclear bomb by the United States.

The site was shut down at the order of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev on 29 August 1991, after over 450 nuclear bombs had been tested. From 1945 to 1996, over 2,000 nuclear devices were detonated by the United States, the Soviet Union, France, the United Kingdom and China.

After testing ended at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan also returned to Russia the huge nuclear arsenal it had inherited from the break-up of the Soviet Union. The 1,400 strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems amounted to the world’s fourth largest nuclear stockpile.

Kazakhstan has demonstrated that the security of the modern State has no need to be invested in nuclear weapons, said Tóth. It shares the achievement with South Africa, Belarus and Ukraine, which also relinquished their nuclear arsenals.

The declaration of 29 August as the International Day against Nuclear Tests was agreed to following a proposal from Kazakhstan.

Multimedia products available:
  1. Watch the YouTube video:
    International Day against Nuclear Tests

  2. Audio package:
    Sound bites and Transcript from CTBTO’s Executive Secretary, Chairperson and Spokesperson.

  3. Loosely-cut 9 minute TV news package for broadcasters available upon request

  4. Photos (CTBTO Flickr)

Official web site - International Day against Nuclear Tests
For further information contact: Annika Thunborg, Spokesperson and Chief, Public Information  
T    +43 1 26030-6375 
E    [email protected]
M    +43 699 1459 6375      
I For multi-media products:
Kirstie Gregorich Hansen
E: [email protected]
T: +43 1 26030 6470
M: +43 (0)699 12265648

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