Cessation of Nuclear Testing and Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

  • Date: Jan 01 1996
  • Policy Number: 9605

Key Words: Nuclear War Weapons Wastes, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Waste

The American Public Health Association,

Recognizing the public health hazards created by nuclear-weapons production and explosive testing, whether conducted in the atmosphere or underground;1,2

Recalling that the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association has adopted public policy statements opposing the production of nuclear weapons3 and opposing explosive nuclear-weapons testing by France in the islands of the South Pacific Ocean,4by the United States at its Nevada test site, and by other nations;5and

Noting that on September 10, 1996, the United Nations, by an overwhelming margin, adopted and opened for ratification by the world's nations the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which contains a "zero-yield" testing threshold and bans "peaceful nuclear explosions"; and

Noting that other weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction have been banned by the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 and the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993;6 and

Noting that an increasing number of countries and of international and national medical and public health associations, including the Canadian Public Health Association,7 have urged the timebound abolition of nuclear weapons; and

Noting with concern the US, 1996 funding through the Department of Energy for the development and testing of a new generation of nuclear weapons at the national-weapons laboratories; and

Noting that the International Court of Justice ruled on July 8, 1996, by a unanimous vote that nations have "an obligation to pursue in good faith and to bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects"; and

Noting that the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, composed of prominent physicians, political leaders, generals, and scientists from both the nuclear weapons states and other nations, released on August 14, 1996, a report outlining a plan for the total abolition of nuclear weapons and reaffirming disarmament as the world's only option; therefore

  1. Calls upon all nations of the world to respect the moratorium on explosive nuclear-weapons testing currently being formally observed by the declared nuclear-weapons nations, and informally observed by the undeclared nuclear-weapons nations; and
  2. Calls upon all nations of the world to ratify promptly the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;
  3. Calls upon the United States to join all nations in negotiating promptly a comprehensive treaty banning new weapons development at the national weapons laboratories, banning the production of all weapons-usable fissile material, and placing existing stockpiles of such material under international safeguards; and
  4. Calls upon all nations to initiate immediately and conclude by the year 2000 negotiations on a nuclear-weapons convention that requires the phased elimination of nuclear weapons within a timebound framework under strict and effective international control.

References

  1. International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Radioactive Heaven and Earth: The Health and Environmental Effects of Nuclear Weapons Testing in, on and above the Earth. New York, NY: Apex Press; 1991.
  2. Makhijani A, Hu H, Yih K, eds. Nuclear Wastelands. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 1995.
  3. American Public Health Association Policy Statement No. 8917: Public Health Hazards at Nuclear Weapons Facilities. APHA Policy Statements, 1948 to Present, Cumulative. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association; current volume.
  4. American Public Health Association Policy Statement No. 8307: Nuclear Testing and Dumping of Nuclear Waste Materials in the Pacific Ocean. APHA Policy Statements, 1948 to Present, Cumulative. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association; current volume.
  5. American Public Health Association Policy Statement No. 8715: End to Nuclear Weapons Testing and the Strategic Defense Initiative. APHA Policy Statements, 1948 to Present, Cumulative. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association; current volume.
  6. Sidel V. The End of the Beginning: Progress towards the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. Med War. 1995:11(3):71-78.
  7. Canadian Public Health Association 1996 Resolution No. 9: The Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. Ottawa: Canadian Public Health Association.

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