Astana Updates its Nuclear Narrative in a New Edition of “Building a Nuclear Safe World”

bookTHE HAGUE – The foreign ministry of Kazakhstan has updated its 2011 book, “Building a Nuclear Safe World: The Kazakhstan Way,” to reflect the country’s ongoing work to strengthen nuclear security, including efforts to bring an end to nuclear testing and, eventually, to create a world without nuclear weapons.

The 200-page book with several dozen photos covers the country’s nuclear past and present, from the horrors of 40 years of nuclear testing at the infamous Soviet Semipalatinsk test site to the decision and mechanisms of the country’s own disarmament, Kazakhstan’s peaceful nuclear energy projects and current international commentary on the country’s responsible nuclear example.

The revised edition includes an updated timeline marking the young nation’s path from nuclear victim to moral victor, information about Kazakhstan’s progress toward hosting the low-enriched uranium bank for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a new chapter on Kazakhstan’s most recent nuclear nonproliferation initiative, the ATOM Project. Initiated by President Nazarbayev in 2012, the ATOM Project (“Abolish Testing. Our Mission.”) seeks to facilitate global engagement with the issue of nuclear testing through an online petition and education campaign.

The ATOM Project Honorary Ambassador Karipbek Kuyukov, artist and survivor of nuclear testing, have spent the past few years travelling the globe, presenting the stories of Kazakhstan’s nuclear past and calling on the citizens of the world to bring an end to nuclear tests.

“Today, with Kazakhstan having banished nuclear weapons and joined in creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia, Semipalatinsk has become a powerful symbol. It tells us that a world free of nuclear weapons is achievable,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on August 29, 2010, marking the first International Day Against Nuclear Tests. Through multiple national and global efforts like the ATOM Project, Kazakhstan is working toward that goal.

In his 2001 book, “Epicentre of Peace,” President Nursultan Nazarbayev wrote, “We built a new non-nuclear history for the country, laying the foundation for a new narrative tradition about how to rise above a world threat.” The country has been creating that narrative since then, showing how to bring about the ideal of disarmament in the real world.

“Building a Nuclear Safe World: The Kazakhstan Way” in its updated edition provides the most recent pages of that narrative, as it reaches wider audiences and commands attention from more and more of the world. The new publication is distributed at the third Nuclear Security Summit, held in The Hague from March 24-25, 2014.

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