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Remembering one of the most shameful nuclear episodes in history

The Semipalatinsk tests left hundreds of thousands of people with health problems 

As a lifelong anti-nuclear activist, it should really have come as no surprise that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would refuse to authorise the use of a nuclear weapon as prime minister.

The Labour leader was asked on the Today programme if he would ever press the button launching a nuclear missile.

He replied:

No, 187 countries don’t feel the need to have a nuclear weapon to protect their security, why should those five need it themselves? We are not in the era of the Cold War any more.

I am opposed to the use of nuclear weapons, I am opposed to the holding of nuclear weapons. I want to see a nuclear-free world. I believe it is possible.

The comments sparked a backlash among his shadow cabinet – Corbyn’s personal view is that the Trident nuclear deterrent should not be renewed – with shadow defence seretary Maria Eagle saying they were “unhelpful”.

Meanwhile, prime minister David Cameron told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show on a nuclear weapon: “There are circumstances that justify its use.”

Corbyn’s ‘admission’, the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, and the Iran nuclear deal have put the issue to the fore once again.

This timely video, from Seeker Stories, is called ‘The worst nuclear testing you’ve never heard of’. It details Soviet nuclear testing over many decades in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, an area thought to be uninhabited but actually home to 1.5 million people.

The true extent of the testing only emerged after the Cold War, tonnes of radioactive material were just left behind, and it is thought up to 200,000 people suffered health consequences as a result.

SemipalatinskA selection of US newspaper headlines on President Harry S Truman‘s announcement that Soviet Union had conducted its first nuclear weapon test on 24 September, 1949

SemipalatinskAn abandoned Soviet settlement near Semipalatinsk in 2009

SemipalatinskA specialist stands near equipment housings in nuclear explosion site P-1, in Semipalatinsk

SemipalatinskDina Kadyrova, one year and 9 months old, sleeps in a orphanage in Semipalatinsk in 2001

Unsurprisingly, Kazakhstan is one of those 187 countries Corbyn mentioned as not having a nuclear bomb.

Watch the video below:

HT Digg. Pictures via Getty–ZykAGtnmDg

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