International Day against Nuclear Tests

In December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 29 August as the International Day against Nuclear Tests. This day was proposed by Kazakhstan as it marks both the closure of the former Soviet Semipalatinsk Test Site in 1991 in modern-day Kazakhstan and the date of the first Soviet nuclear test conducted there in 1949.

The first Soviet nuclear test was conducted on 29 August 1949, four years after the first U.S. nuclear test.

According to UNGA resolution 64/35 establishing the day, the International Day against Nuclear Tests aims to prevent more of the “devastating and harmful effects on the lives and health of people and the environment” caused by nuclear testing. Over 2,000 nuclear tests have been conducted since the very first nuclear explosion, the Trinity test on 16 July 1945 in New Mexico, United States. 

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans all nuclear tests by anyone, anywhere. The Treaty has created and sustained a global norm against nuclear testing so powerful that fewer than a dozen nuclear tests have been conducted since it opened for signature in 1996.

For the CTBT to enter into force, it still has to be ratified by nine States from a list of 44 defined as nuclear technology holders in Annex 2 of the Treaty (China, DPRK, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, and the United States). Once the Treaty has entered into force, on-site inspections can be requested by any State Party to verify whether a nuclear test has been conducted.