Published By: Nibandh Vinod
Last Updated: August 29, 2023, 06:30 IST
INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST NUCLEAR TESTS: Director Christopher Nolan’s biographical film ‘Oppenheimer’ is all the rage at the moment. J. Robert Oppenheimer was the American theoretical physicist who developed the atom bomb and tested it in 1945 during World War II. Over 2000nucleartestshave taken place since then and they have poisoned the air, land and water, harming people and other life in the process. International Day against Nuclear Tests is observed on August 29 every year to demand an end to such tests.
International Day against Nuclear Tests 2023: History
The first nuclear test, dubbed ‘Trinity’ was conducted on July 16, 1945, in the deserts of New Mexico under the Manhattan Project of the United States government led by Oppenheimer. The bomb, dubbed the “gadget,” was created against Germany during World War II but eventually used against Japan.
The success of the Trinity test led to the US air-dropping “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” atom bombs on Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. Around 110,000 lives were lost as a result. The survivors and their progeny suffered from cancer and birth defects.
The U.S. further detonated 24nuclearbombs at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands from 1946 to 1958. Former Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France and China also conducted such tests. Then the nuclear arms race began between the United States and the Soviet Union, from 1947 and continued till 1991. Treaties such as the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Comprehensive Nuclear test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Semipalatinsk Treaty were signed.
Millions of Kazakh people suffered radioactive fallout due to Soviet nuclear tests in Kazakhstan’s Semipalatinsk site. Kazakhstan initiated a resolution in the United Nations which established August 29 as International Day against Nuclear Tests, on December 2, 2009.
International Day against Nuclear Tests 2023: Significance
Oppenheimer felt that by developing the atom bomb he had given people the power to destroy the world. Throughout his later life, he tried to stop the arms race and urged for nuclear arms control. As noted by the UN Secretary General, currently there are nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons stockpiled globally. The International Day against Nuclear Tests continues Oppenheimer’s fight against such stockpiling.