An opinion article is about honorary ambassador of the ATOM project Karipbek Kuyukov who suffered from the nuclear tests in the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site where the Soviet Union conducted nuclear tests between 1949 and 1991. He became an activist in an anti-nuclear weapons movement.
I was born 100 kilometres from the epicentre of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site where the Soviet Union exploded more than 600 nuclear devices between 1949 and 1991. My parents and thousands of others would watch those bright and vast mushroom clouds as they filled the sky. The tests have had terrible physical consequences for the people who lived near them.
In 1996, a major step was taken when the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was adopted by the United Nations. It has since been signed by 183 countries and ratified by 162. But the treaty cannot enter into force until it is signed and ratified by eight more countries: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States. These countries must send a clear message to the world that nuclear weapons are part of our past, and have no place in our future. They must ensure that not one more person suffers from the consequences of nuclear testing and nuclear weapons use in the future.
I weep when I hear those calling for a return of nuclear weapons. I fear for our planet when I read news stories about countries re-building their nuclear arsenals. After all the horror, all the fear, and all the danger have we learnt nothing? How many more, like me, must suffer? I have a vision: to make sure that every single person around me knows what was concealed for decades – the consequences of developing nuclear weapons.