The ATOM Project

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The ATOM Project (est. August 2012) is an international campaign by the Nazarbayev Center of Kazakhstan.[1] The primary goal of the campaign is to build international support for the abolishment of nuclear testing. ATOM stands for "Abolish Testing. Our Mission."[2][3][4] The goal is to achieve in force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty through online petitions and other methods.

History and post-test experiments in Kazakhstan[edit]

The campaign is an initiative of the Nazarbayev Center whose mission includes the "promotion of nuclear responsibility, nuclear disarmament, and nuclear nonproliferation according to the vision of President Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan)."[5][6] Kazakhstan has historically been concerned about nuclear issues because of the Semipalatinsk Test Site, which is where the first Soviet nuclear weapon was exploded in 1949, with 456 more to follow (overall 90 air, 26 land, 354 underground) until 1989, it was the primary Soviet nuclear test site. [7]

Project promotion[edit]

In 2013, the ATOM Project began a world tour visiting Moscow, New York City, Washington, D.C., Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, and Tokyo. On September 4, 2013, the ATOM Project presented their project to the United Nations headquarters in New York City along the framework of International Day against Nuclear Testing. On September 11, they presented the project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Northern Virginia Community College, and the Embassy of Kazakhstan. The project visited Vienna on October 30 presenting to the Kazakhstan Student Society and the governing body of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.[8]

On May 6, 2014 the five largest nuclear powers signed a guarantee not to use nuclear weapons in the territory of Central Asia. The powers: Britain, China, Russia, USA and France signed the 'Protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia' (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).[9][relevant? ]

2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the closure of Kazakhstan’s Semipalatinsk Test Site, where the Soviet Union conducted extensive nuclear tests over four decades.[10]

On August 29, 2016 Astana hosted plenary session of international conference "Building a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World." The keynote speakers included President Nazarbayev, Chairman of the Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO Lassina Zerbo. The main outcome of the conference was the adoption of the declaration "The Astana Vision: From a Radioactive Haze to a Nuclear-Weapon Free World."[11] The conference was held to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk testing site.[12]

Honorary Ambassador Karipbek Kuyukov[edit]

The "Honorary Ambassador" for the campaign is the artist and painter Karipbek Kuyukov (b. 1968) who was born without arms and experienced many nuclear tests as a child.[7] He became a renowned artist painting with his mouth and feet and an internationally recognised anti-nuclear weapons activist. In May 2016, he opened his first exhibition in Astana.[13] Kuyukov and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev were nominated in 2017 for the Nobel Peace Prize.[14]


  1. ^ George D. Gleboff. "The ATOM Project Seeks Minute of Silence to Commemorate Nuclear Weapons Testing Victims Worldwide". The Astana Times. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  2. ^ Alyn Ware (2012). "ATOM Project launched at parliamentary assembly in Kazakhstan". Global Security Institute. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  3. ^ Robert J. Guttman (September 11, 2013). "ATOM Project Comes To America". TransAtlantic Magazine. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  4. ^ "ATOM Project presented at the ICAN Civil Society Forum in Oslo". Nuclear News. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  5. ^ Nuclear Safe World, Nazarbayev Center
  6. ^ "ATOM Project". Embassy of Kazakhstan in Canada. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "The Atom Project Documentary on Nuclear Testing in Kazakhstan". Project for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Big Five pledge not to use n-arms against central Asian states". External link in |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ "Ministerial Meeting in Vienna Seeks Ways to Promote Nuclear Disarmament". 2016-06-14. Retrieved 2016-07-12.
  11. ^ "Kazakhstan Leads the Way to a Nuclear-Weapon Free World".
  13. ^ "Artist, ATOM Project Hon. Ambassador Opens First Astana Exhibition, Urges End to 'Nuclear Madness'".
  14. ^ "Kazakh President, ATOM Project Hon. Ambassador nominated for Nobel Peace Prize". The Astana Times.

External links[edit]