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Opposing Nuclear Weapons Testing in the Global South: A Comparative Perspective


During the Cold War, nuclear weapon states outsourced their nuclear testing programmes to their hinterlands or overseas territories. Countries such as the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), France and the Soviet Union conducted more than 750 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands, Australia, the Algerian Sahara, French Polynesia and Kazakhstan, respectively. In these cases, nuclear activities did not go unchallenged as they affected people’s health and the environment. To different extents, nuclear testing met with opposition from local, regional and international actors. A comparative perspective on anti-nuclear movements – in different regions and time frameworks – that struggled against nuclear colonialism in the form of nuclear testing highlights the impact left by anti-nuclear movements in the Global South, which is relevant to discussions on how the non-proliferation regime is structured today.
Keywords: nuclear testing; social movements; environmental justice; nuclear colonialism; peripheralisation