7 Oct 2017

Award reminder of impact of nuclear testing in Pacific

10:01 pm on 7 October 2017

The New Zealand branch of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) says the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize is a timely reminder of the impact the weapons have had on the Pacific.

Picture taken in 1971, showing a nuclear explosion in Mururoa atoll.

] The explosion from a French nuclear test at Mururoa in French Polynesia. France conducted 193 tests between 1966 and 1996. Photo: AFP

The campaign group seeking a global ban on nuclear arms was given the award by a Nobel Committee that cited the spread of weapons to North Korea and said the risk was growing of nuclear war.

The Nobel Committee has described the group's work for a UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, now adopted by 122 nation, as ground breaking.

The convenor of ICAN New Zealand, Edwina Hughes, said nuclear weapons had had a huge impact on the Pacific, which was subject to more than 350 full scale nuclear detonations.

"When something like this happens which is obviously very positive, we're thinking about those people and those communities, particularly in the Pacific, who suffered so much from the pursuit of nuclear weapons supremacy."

Ms Hughes said New Zealand had signed the nuclear weapon prohibition treaty, but it still needed to be ratified by the new government.