Stop nuclear tests, UN boss Ban urges

Tuesday June 18 2013

By STELLA CHERONO  in Vienna, Austria

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has urged countries to stop testing nuclear weapons.

He said there was need for the countries to implement the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996.

Mr Ban asked all countries to stop the manufacture of nuclear weapons stating that the steps taken so far in the efforts to eliminate the use of nuclear was remarkable.

“More efforts need to be put in place to ensure that all countries have signed and approved the treaty before it enters into force” Mr Ban stated during the Science and Technology Conference in Vienna, Austria Monday.

The conference, attended by top scientists in the world, will evaluate the extent of damages caused by nuclear tests and to exchange knowledge and ideas relating to the compliance of the CTBT.

Kenya is among the 183 countries that have signed the treaty. It has also ratified the treaty that bans all nuclear explosions on earth, whether for war or for peaceful purposes.

As of February this year, 159 countries had signed the treaty, including three of the nuclear capable states; France, Russia and Britain.

Of concern are 44 nuclear technology holder countries which must sign and approve the agreement before it can come into force.

China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the USA are under pressure to sign and approve the treaty. Indonesia is the latest state to approve the treaty in February 2012.

Nuclear weapons testing have been blamed for deaths and environmental hazards leading to fatal illnesses like cancer.

The 2000 Report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on states that the main man-made contribution to the exposure of the world's population to radiation has come from the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, from 1945 to 1980.

“The each nuclear test resulted in unrestrained release into the environment of substantial quantities of radioactive materials, which were widely dispersed in the atmosphere and deposited everywhere on the Earth’s surface.”  The report stated.

Although only two nuclear weapons have been used in the world for war (both by the United States), over 2,000 tests have been carried out across the world, emitting massive radioactivity to the atmosphere.

Since the treaty that bans the tests was open for signatures, three countries have tested nuclear. India and Pakistan tested two in 1998.

North Korea which tested the latest nuclear in 2013 has tested two others in 2006 and in 2009.