The Atom Project is entered into the U.S. Congressional Record
September 13, 2012
SPEECH OF HON. ENI F. H. FALEOMAVAEGA OF AMERICAN SAMOA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA.
- Mr. Speaker, I rise today to enter into the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD my recent speech before the international conference From a Nuclear Test Ban to a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World held in Astana, Kazakhstan on August 29, 2012.
- For historical purposes, I am also including a parliamentary appeal for nuclear abolition as well as a news article dated August 30, 2012 announcing Kazakhstan’s launch of the ATOM project to support the global movement against nuclear tests.
- The ATOM project, an acronym for “Abolish Testing. Our Mission” is an international petition campaign designed to unify public opinion against nuclear weapons testing. The ATOM project is the initiative of the Nazarbayev Center, and I encourage any person who opposes nuclear weapons to sign this online petition to the governments of the world calling for the permanent step to stop nuclear testing. Interested persons may sign the petition at www.TheATOMProject.org.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ENI F. H. FALEOMAVAEGA BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FROM A NUCLEAR TEST BAN TO A NUCLEAR-WEAPONS-FREE WORLD HELD IN ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN ON AUGUST 29, 2012
On December 2, 2009, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted resolution 64/35 which declares August 29 the International Day against Nuclear Tests in recognition of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s historic decision in 1991 on August 29 to close down the world’s second largest nuclear test site and dismantle the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal at Semipalatinsk.
The resolution–which was initiated by Kazakhstan and sponsored and cosponsored by many other governments–calls for increasing awareness and education “about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.”
In 2011, we commemorated the 20th anniversary of President Nazarbayev’s courageous act and, on March 7, 2012, the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands through their Nitijela at its 33rd Constitutional Regular Session passed a resolution calling for President Nazarbayev to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in tribute to victims and survivors of Cold War nuclear testing.
The President of the Marshall Islands, the Honorable Christopher J. Loeak, noted that the Committee has only recognized those who have inspected nuclear test sites or talked about the need to cooperate. At no time has the Committee bestowed the award for the actual abolishment of nuclear weaponry. So I join with the people and parliament of the Marshall Islands, and urge you to do the same, in calling upon the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to honor President Nazarbayev for promoting peace by changing the course of world history for the better.
Unlike any other government, the Republic of the Marshall Islands shares the same history and experience as Kazakhstan , having also been used as a nuclear testing ground during the Cold War. From 1946-1958, the United States began testing nuclear weapons in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and, during that period, the United States conducted 67 nuclear tests with an equivalent yield of 7,000 Hiroshima bombs.
On March 1, 1951, the United States detonated a 15 megaton hydrogen bomb code-named BRAVO in the Marshall Islands. The bomb was equivalent to 1,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs and was acknowledged as the greatest nuclear explosion ever detonated. The BRAVO test evaporated six islands and created a mushroom cloud of 25 miles in diameter.
On August 29, 1949, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear explosion code-named ‘First Lightening’ at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in eastern Kazakhstan . From 1949-1989, the Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests in Semipalatinsk and the cumulative power of those explosions is estimated to be equal to the power of 2,500 Hiroshima-sized bombs.
As a result of Soviet nuclear testings more than 1.5 million Kazakhs were exposed to nuclear radiation. As a result of U.S. testings, the people of the Marshall Islands were also exposed to the horrific effects of radiation poisoning. Neither the Soviet Union nor the U.S. have fulfilled their obligation in cleaning up the mess they left behind as a result of their Cold War arms race. Instead, they turn a blind eye to the human suffering that carries forward today.
This is why I will continue to speak out and praise President Nazarbayev for his choice to renounce nuclear weaponry. My position regarding this matter is no different than the position the United States took during a joint meeting between President Obama and President Nazarbayev on April 11, 2010 when President Obama stated that “the US. appreciates the leadership of President Nazarbayev and the contribution of Kazakhstan to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.”
While I applaud President Obama for stating on April 6, 2010 that “the United States will not conduct nuclear testing and will seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)” which bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, I believe, as the theme of this conference suggests, it is time to move from a nuclear test ban to a nuclear-weapons free world.
After all, the CTBT, like the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is based on a flawed and outdated premise. The NPT asserts that only five nations–the nuclear weapons states–namely, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China (which also happen to be the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council)–will pursue nuclear disarmament and share their technology for peaceful purposes if non-nuclear states agree never to acquire nuclear weapons. The NPT also states that only the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China, and France are permitted to own nuclear weapons because only they possessed nuclear weapons at the time the treaty was open for signature in 1968.
The world has changed since 1968. No longer can non-nuclear states support the outdated premise of the NPT and none of us should settle for what the CTBT offers, particularly since the signatories of the NPT are among the worst violators of the nuclear code.
From 1949-1990, Russia conducted over 700 nuclear tests. In roughly the same time period, the U.S. conducted over 1000 nuclear tests. Since 1964, China has conducted more than 43 nuclear tests. Between 1960 and 1991, France conducted more than 200 nuclear tests and, in 1996, despite being a signatory of the NPT, France broke a world moratorium conducting 6 more tests at Moruroa Atoll in the South Pacific while the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) silently consented.
It is time for all of us to say enough is enough. It is time for the world to follow Kazakhstan’s lead and begin the process of dismantling. IfKazakhstan can dismantle a nuclear arsenal which was larger than the combined nuclear arsenals of Great Britain, France and China combined, then certainly the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China can also do what is right.
Some twenty years ago, President Nazarbayev emerged to champion the cause of a nuclear weapons free world, and no other leader before or since has done what he has done to advance the rights of the human person by promoting nuclear disarmament among possessor states and preventing proliferation to new states.
As President Loeak stated, “Had Kazakhstan retained the nuclear arsenal it inherited after achieving independence and following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan could have altered the fragile peace brought about by the Cold War. But knowing the price Kazakhs and Marshallese paid to preserve international peace, President Nazarbayev chose to renounce and disarm.”
For this, the man deserves to be commended again and again. I commend President Nazarbayev for his initiative to move the world from a nuclear test ban to a nuclear-weapons free world, and for and on behalf of the people of Kazakhstan –and the Republic of the Marshall Islands–and all others now and yet to come–it is my sincere hope that we will hold together and stand firm in our support of this great cause.
PARLIAMENTARY APPEAL FOR NUCLEAR ABOLITION: FROM A NUCLEAR TEST BAN TO A NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREE WORLD ADOPTED IN ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN 29 AUGUST 2012
Parliamentarians, mayors, disarmament experts, and civil society representatives meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan at the international conference “From a Nuclear Test Ban to a Nuclear Weapons Free World” held on the International Day Against Nuclear Tests 29 August 2012, make the following appeal to parliaments and governments around the world:
Legislators and governments have a responsibility to protect the security of citizens living within their jurisdictions and to protect their respective localities and the global commons for future generations.
The catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences from the nuclear tests in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan –and from other nuclear test sites around the world–demonstrate that the effects of any use of nuclear weapons are uncontrollable in time and space.
The possession of nuclear weapons generates a threat of their proliferation and use that pose risks to current and future generations that are unacceptable, unnecessary, unsustainable and contrary to basic ethical considerations and international humanitarian law.
The approximately $100 billion spent annually on nuclear weapons by a few States consumes intellectual, scientific and financial resources desperately required to meet the environmental, social and human security needs of the 21st Century.
Some nations, like Kazakhstan , have decided to unilaterally abandon the possession of nuclear weapons and achieved greater security and prosperity as a result. Many nations, including all those in the Southern Hemisphere and a number in the Northern Hemisphere such as in Central Asia, have enhanced their security through establishing regional nuclear-weapon-free zones.
The United Nations General Assembly and the States Parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have called on States to establish the framework for a nuclear-weapons free world through negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or package of agreements.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has circulated a Five-Point Plan for Nuclear Disarmament which includes a Model Nuclear Weapons Convention as a guide to such negotiations. The UNSG’s plan has been supported by unanimous resolution of the Inter-Parliamentary Union representing over 150 parliaments and by various resolutions in national parliaments.
We commend President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the Republic of Kazakhstan for leadership in the global nuclear disarmament process including the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site on 29 August 1991, and the decision to voluntarily renounce the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world.
We also commend Kazakhstan for initiating the UN International Day Against Nuclear Tests, which was established by unanimous resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, with the aim to contribute to the goals of nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, a worldwide ban on nuclear tests, and a world free from nuclear weapons.
We welcome moves by the Nuclear Weapon States to complete the ratification process for the protocols to nuclear weapon-free zone treaties, as steps to significantly strengthen the architecture of regional and international security.
We welcome in particular the negotiations between the Central Asian States on one side, and China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States on the other side, on the protocols to the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, and call for its early completion.
We support the new initiative of President Nazarbayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the adoption, within the UN of a Universal Declaration on the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world, as another important step towards the adoption of a nuclear weapons convention.
We are strengthened in our resolve to advance nuclear disarmament measures, by having visited the former Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, where Soviet nuclear weapons were tested for more than forty years. 468 surface and underground nuclear tests were conducted from 1949 to 1989. One 50 megaton test alone was several thousand times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The tests have caused immeasurable medical and economic related suffering and death to millions of people.
Further progress needs to be made with concrete actions to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons, according to a multilateral, transparent, irreversible and verifiable schedule.
Therefore, we call on parliaments and governments to:
- maintain existing moratoria against nuclear tests, and fully support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, including full ratification and entry-into-force, financing and support for the international monitoring network;
- halt any further production of nuclear weapons;
- operationalize the reduction of the role of nuclear weapons in their security doctrines;
- establish prohibitions against nuclear weapons through action in their own legislatures;
- establish guidelines that prohibit investment of public funds in enterprises engaged directly in manufacturing nuclear weapons or their delivery systems;
- establish additional regional nuclear weapon free zones, as appropriate, especially in the Middle East, North East Asia and the Arctic;
- commence preparatory work to build the framework for a nuclear weapons free world including through negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or package of agreements.
We all stand united in our common determination to build nuclear-weapons-free world.
We pledge to act on and share this Appeal with legislative forums, decision makers and society.
Adopted in Astana on 29 August 2012.