U.N. officials seek global ban on nuclear tests

The United Nations asked its Member States on Thursday to take action and ban nuclear testing as part of its observance of the fourth International Day Against Nuclear Tests.

The call for action came with a strong reminder of what nuclear testing can do to the environment and to the lives of humans.

"We should all remember the terrible toll of nuclear tests," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said. "It is time to address the horrific human and environmental effects of nuclear tests through a global ban, the most reliable means to meet these challenges."

President of the United Nations General Assembly Vuk Jeremic addressed the general assembly after Ban. Jeremic echoed Ban's sentiments and called for all Member States to take part in the first high-level meeting of the general assembly on nuclear disarmament, which will take place later in September.

"There are some who see nothing wrong with stockpiling atomic bombs that can destroy entire cities in a heartbeat," Jeremic said. "Let them go to Hiroshima; let them stand before the cenotaph-the sombre monument to the victims of an unparalleled calamity inflicted by the hand of man."

Another address was made by Representative of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Geoffrey Shaw. He reviewed the IAEA's key role in making sure Member States are compliant with their commitment to use nuclear material in a safe matter and in a way that complies with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

A final speaker, Minister for Emergency Situations of Kazakhstan Vladimir Bozhko, spoke about the importance of International Day Against Nuclear Tests, which is commemorated on August 29 because that was the day nuclear tests in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan were stopped.

"It highlights their catastrophic humanitarian consequences on human wellbeing, health (and) the genetics of survivors, as well as impact on the world's climate and food production and water supply," Bozhko said.