The restoration and renewal of the ecology which is the link between living beings such as animals, plants and micro-organisms and their environment after it has been ruined or decayed due to human intervention.
The change or amelioration of a condition or an object towards a better and more complete state.
Nuclear test sites
The piece of land or place where nuclear weapons which are created by the energy related to the nucleus of an atom are tested to verify and check their efficiency.
We count two types of nuclear weapons, the atomic bomb which explodes after the breakage of the nucleus, and the thermonuclear weapon also called hydrogen bomb, that is supposedly 1000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb, which reacts to the merging of nucleuses. The phenomenon of the modification of atoms nucleuses is also called radioactivity.
The shock a population can receive after a fatal event, in this case an explosion, this could lead to people getting hurt, wounded, ill or even dying.
The contamination of the environment by toxins that can come naturally or by energies and disrupts the climate.
Removal and withdrawal of weapons from a country which can be seen as dangerous and threatening. In this case we talk about nuclear disarmament to prevent the use of nuclear weapons during times of conflict or even to avoid tests who can menace one’s life or health.
Major Countries and Organisations Involved
Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)
Founded on the 19th of November 1996, this organization prepares the application of the treaty opened for signatures on the 24th of September 1996 and it forbids the use of nuclear weapons on the surface of the earth, underwater, underground and in the air. The CTBTO helps with the prevention of the development of nuclear weapons for countries trying to get it and complicates the process of making bombs stronger for countries who already own them. It diminishes the damage done to humans and to the environment after an explosion.
This organization enters into force when all the countries have signed the treaty but is already in partnership with the International Monitoring System (IMS), the IMS, monitors seismic stations, distinguishes very low frequency waves, discloses radioactive particles in the atmosphere. Upon getting the information from the IMS, the consultation and clarification requests an on-site inspection which has to be accepted by at least 30 of 51 members of the CTBTO for the inspection to take place.
- International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
Alliance of non-administrative organizations of more than a 100 countries which started in Australia and then launched in Austria in 2007. This campaign’s goal is to raise awareness about the use of nuclear weapons and to help the implementation of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons by the United Nations, which was approved and put in place on July 7th 2017 in New York. In 2017, ICAN was rewarded a Nobel Peace Prize for its attempts to highlight the effects of nuclear weapons and for collaborating with great associations such as the red cross and 468 more partners.
ICAN’s mission is to focus on the humanitarian consequences and the environmental effect of the explosion of nuclear weapons which can affect someone’s health for a long period of time and ruin ecosystems. They want to draw attention to all the aftereffects of the detonation of a nuclear weapons such as an atomic or hydrogen bomb.
- United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)
Office of the UN since its establishment in January 1998 and at its head since the 1st of May 2017, Izumi Nakamitsu, a Japanese lady who is the Under secretary general and a high representative. The mission of the office is to
implicate nuclear weapon disarmament and to prevent their proliferation.
- United States of America (USA)
The united states of America also known as one of the five nuclear weapons states had around 30 000 weapons during the Cold War but since the NewStart treaty, the number of missiles was reduced to 1550 active and ready to use ones (deployed). The NewStart treaty signed in 2010 but adopted on February 5th 2011, between Russia and the USA which requires the considerable decrease in weapons detained by these countries. However, the stockpile that indicates the utter number of explosives owned by the US is more important. In 2010, President Barack Hussein Obama revealed the number of weapons which was 5113.
As we can see on the chart, the number of weapons has been importantly reduced. In 1962, it counted 25 540 projectiles and in 2017 it reached 3822. This great contrast shows how much the stockpile was weakened over the years.
On the 16th of July 1945, the US tests the first ever atomic bomb in history in New Mexico. They had been working on its construction since August 1942 with the Manhattan Project which gathers Canadian, British and American scientists and researchers to create this dangerous and deadly weapon. During the 2nd World War and on the 6th and 9th of August 1945, they detonated two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that result in the surrender of Japan from the war which offered the victory to the USA and its allies and displayed the power of an atomic bomb.
The States were the only country with the atomic bomb until 1949 where the Russians had built an atomic bomb of their own. On the 1st of November 1952, the USA tests its first thermonuclear weapon on the Eniwetok atoll in the Pacific which gives them the upper hand for a short period of time as they were the first to ever test a hydrogen bomb until the soviet created and tested their own a year later.
Russia is known as the 2nd nuclear state in the world. Their first atomic bomb was tested in Kazakhstan, in the region of Semipalatinsk on the 29th of August. This test site was often used by the USSR to test their weapons from 1949 to 1991 when the site was officially closed, many deaths were caused by these tests because some people were living in that region and suffered directly and others were harmed by the side-effects like radiation which is very dangerous for the body.
Russia had around 40 000 warheads but had to reduce that number and reached around 4300 missiles in 2017. After the NewStart treaty evoked earlier, it had to have 1550 weapons.
During the cold war, the nuclear race began between the Russians and the americans as they both developed powerful nuclear weapons and caught up to each other as soon as the other had made progress. Russia’s first hydrogen bomb was on the 12th of August 1953 and it exploded at the Semipalatinsk test site however the biggest hydrogen bomb of all history is the Tsar bomba which exploded in 1961.
In 1960, France tested its first nuclear weapon in the Sahara Desert in Algeria. This country had already established chemical weapons during World War I but never a weapon this powerful. Nowadays t is believed that France possesses around 300 explosives which include submarine and atmospheric missiles, they have a limited number of missiles but they are different and fit multiple environments. In 2008, president Nicolas Sarkozy declared that France will keep its submarine weapons in place but cut down on the air-launched ones leading to the count of 290 explosives.
The United Kingdom is the third country to have developed nuclear weapons after the United States of America and Russia. In 1940, the Tube Alloys program of nuclear weapons started researching about nuclear weapons. In 1943, the UK joins forces with the US during the Quebec Agreement act and forms the first atomic bomb with the help of Canada. On the 3rd of October 1952, the United Kingdom testes its first atomic bomb whose code-name was “Hurricane” in the Montebello Islands in Western Australia. From 1952 to 1957, 12 nuclear weapons were tested in Australian areas such as The Montebello Islands, Maralinga and Emu fields. On the 15th of May 1957, they tested their first hydrogen bomb but it wasn’t a successful explosion, it was weak and not as powerful as they thought it would be. Nowadays it is believed that the United Kingdom possesses around 215 warheads.
In china, the development of nuclear weapons started in 1955 which led to their first atomic bomb test on the 16th October 1964. It was believed that the Chinese scientists were helped by the Russians which made the USA feel threatened after realizing how important the success of the explosion was however they weren’t shocked by the test as rumors announced that China was establishing a nuclear weapon. On the 17th of June 1967, China tested its first thermonuclear bomb in the northwest of the country. The 29th of July 1996 was marked as the day where the 45th which is the last Chinese nuclear bomb was tested a few months prior to china’s signature of the comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty. Nowadays, the estimated number of warheads in China is around 270 weapons which can be distributed by air, land and sea.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
This organization was founded on the 29th of July 1957 and its objective is to rehabilitate the environment after it has been damaged by nuclear explosions. They repair the polluted soils and the water and recover the sites where nuclear weapons have been tested for them to be reusable. This agency also raises awareness about the humanitarian impact of explosions which can affect your health dangerously.
Timeline of Events
- August 19, 1943
The Quebec Agreement was signed, it says that the US and the UK would have to get each other’s agreement before using their nuclear weapons against one other or against other countries.
- July 16, 1945
- Trinity site: The first nuclear test ever of an atomic bomb by the United states (US) with the backing of the United Kingdom and Canada in New Mexico during World War II and was part of the Manhattan project which developed the first nuclear weapon.
- August 6 and 9, 1945
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were deposited by the US during World War II which then forced the Japanese to surrender. These two bombings are the most known ones as they were the only uses of nuclear weapons in wartimes.
- From 1949 to 1991
The Union of Soviet Socialists Republics (USSR) tested around 456 nuclear weapons in their first testing site in Semipalatinsk in northeast Khazakstan. The Russians tested their weapons with no care of the suroundings, the populations and the environment, the radiation directly touched the people living there. The soviets announced that Semipalatinsk was a deserted place with no human being but the truth was then revealed when the site was officially closed in 1991 by the president of Khazakstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.
- November 1, 1952
Ivy Mike: The first hydrogen Bomb which was 700 times more powerful than the first ever atomic bomb was deposited by the US government over the Marshall Island. The Elugelab Island an Atoll of the Marshall Island disappeared after the bombing.
- February 28, 1954
Castle Bravo: This blast was the first bombing of the Castle series, bombing over the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Castle Bravo is the largest and most powerful US detonation ever. It was followed by the bomb of Castle Romeo and was tested in Open Water, it was considered the third strongest test of the Castle Series. Around the same time the bomb of Castle Yankee was deposited and was considered the second most powerful of the Castle Series Tests in 1954.
- October 30, 1961
The Tsar Bomba: On this day the USSR deposited the most powerful and biggest man made explosion ever created. It was believed that the Tsar bomba a hydrogen bomb layed in Northern Russia was 3000 times stronger than Hiroshima.
Previous Attempts to solve the Issue
In 2009, serious concerns of the Government of Kazakhstan rose in regards to the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing ground closed in 1991. The UN’s General Assembly called on the Government in tackling the challenges of rehabilitating the region and its inhabitants while implementing a local programme to face the problems from the previous nuclear testing grounds. A draft resolution named “International cooperation and coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan” (document A/63/L.67) where the Assembly expressed an important worry when in regards to the negative effects of nuclear testing on the region’s ecosystem and the accumulation of radioactive substances in the soil which created problems with the pillars of the sustainable goals.
In the resolution “International cooperation and coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan”, the general assembly expressed its concern about the dispersal of radioactive substances. In order to solve this issue, troops were sent to add clean soil to the old polluted ground of the test site between 2011 and 2013 to attenuate the consequences of the explosion and to limit the contaminated soil from spreading because of the wind.
There is an urgent need to solve this issue as the explosions of nuclear weapons can be very harmful and dangerous to a person’s health.
A feasible solution to the problem of nuclear test sites being radioactive is to completely end nuclear tests which cause more harm than good, the grounds of the test sites are contaminated which prevents the plantation of vegetables who can be the source of income to live of a farmer and his family. The environment is polluted, the populations living in these areas and the ones surrounding the test sites breathe an unsanitary air which can cause illnesses.
Another possible solution is to integrate this issue in the educational system in order to raise awareness, to teach students, teachers and even parents about nuclear tests and test sites and for them to understand the effects they have on the environment and their humanitarian impact.
Specific hospitals can be built to cure diseases of a radioactive origin where doctors, nurses, surgeons and the staff are specialised in this field and can easily heal people whose lives are in danger because of their presence in the surroundings of nuclear test sites or even prevent them from getting sick by giving them a sanitary procedure to follow.
These days with the importance of technology and the large use of social media, spreading knowledge around the world becomes an easier procedure. A few specialist of the ecological rehabilitation can reach out to the populations of the world using social media and inform them about all the information they need to know. They can also encourage them to build campaigns against nuclear tests to raise awareness and to inform their circle of acquaintances as this issue is not very popular.
Laws can be put in place to forbid the use and the testing of nuclear weapons. These will prevent countries who hold missiles of this sort of using them in case of a conflict and a time of war or even to test their power and their efficiency.