International Day against Nuclear Tests 2021: History, Significance and Objectives

The International Day against Nuclear Tests is an event that is held on August 29 each year. The organisers of the event aim to bring about awareness regarding the harmful effects of testing nuclear weapons and calls for an end to such tests. On the 12th anniversary of the event, we look at its history, significance and objectives.


The International Day against Nuclear Tests was established on December 2, 2009, by the United Nations General Assembly in its 64th session and adopted unanimously. Kazakhstan initiated this resolution to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the closing of the USSR-controlled Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site at Kazakhstan in 1991.

The first nuclear test, called Trinity, was conducted by the United States Army in a desert site in New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. The test gave the US confidence to drop atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. An estimated 200,000 casualties occurred while survivors suffered from radiation-induced cancers. Nuclear tests by the USA and USSR led to the Cold War, which lasted till 1991 when the USSR was dissolved. A total of 2000 nuclear test explosions were conducted between 1945 and 1996.

In 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was established by the United Nations General Assembly. 170 nations signed and ratified the treaty. 15 nations signed but did not ratify, while 11 nations did not sign.


The International Day against Nuclear Tests highlights the urgency of a ban on all forms of nuclear weapons tests and use. The signatories of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons pledged to secure peace and security from the threat posed by nuclear weapons. The UN hopes that the nations that haven’t yet signed the CTBT treaty do so as soon as possible to ensure a permanent end to the nuclear arms race and weapons testing.


The event organised by the UN creates public awareness about the effects of nuclear weapons tests, detonations and highlights the need for cessation of such tests.

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