Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear weapons testing in Kazakhstan in photos

The Washington Post has a very moving series of photos today highlighting the human suffering in Kazakhstan as a result of the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons tests there from 1949 to 1989. With the Cold War long over, nuclear weapons can sometimes seem like a distant problem; I urge people to take a look at the photos to be reminded of just how dangerous these weapons are to human life and why banning nuclear testing makes sense.

Here are two of the captions for the photos:

The widespread contamination of soil and water prevents the land from being farmed, and most residents face unemployment because of the lack of opportunity….

National statistics show that the eastern Kazakhstan region has one of the highest mortality rates in the country. Many Kazakhs suffer deformities or have died from the radioactive fallout.

Russia ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to ban all nuclear test explosions in 2000 with Kazakhstan following in 2002. Meanwhile, the US has signed but not ratified the treaty, leaving the door open in the future to break our moratorium and return to testing. While the Obama administration has pledged to work with the US Senate for ratification, getting enough support in the Senate for the CTBT will be challenging. The Cable reports that there will probably be,

a delay until next year for a push to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as well. That agreement has even less chance than the START follow-on of garnering Republican support.