Abolition 2000 – Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

Leaders of two Abolition 2000 member organisations are amongst the winners of the Nuclear Free Future Awards (NFFA) announced in Munich yesterday.

Karipbek Kuyukov, Honorary Ambassador of the ATOM Project and a second generation victim of nuclear tests conducted in his homeland Kazakhstan, was chosen by the NFFA international jury as the winner of the Education award.

Kuyukov was born without arms in a small village near the site of Soviet atomic testing, a victim of his parents’ exposure to radiation from the tests. He has become an international spokesperson for the victims of atomic testing, using his evocative art — which he paints using his feet and mouth — and frequent speaking engagements to ensure that such atrocities are never repeated.

Karipbek features in the new documentary ‘Where the Wind Blew‘ about the impact of nuclear tests in Kazakhstan and the United States, and the civil society movements from these two countries that joined together to end nuclear tests.

Karipbek Kuyukov speakng at an assembly of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament

Linda Walker, founder of the Chernobyl Children’s Project UK, was chosen to receive the Solutions Award.

Ms Walker established a relief program for children from Belarus, the most radiologically impacted country in the aftermath of the deadly Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in Ukraine in 1986. She has provided “radiation vacations” for affected children who travel to Britain and also humanitarian aid in the form of ambulances, medical supplies and respite centers in Belarus itself.

In a March 30, 2006 article in The Guardian, marking the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, Linda reminded readers that more needs to be done to address the dreadful legacy left by the nuclear catastrophe.

“Regular visitors to Belarus cannot fail to be aware of the many health problems which, even today, seem to be more acute in the contaminated parts of the country,” she wrote.  “Twenty years on, young parents are giving birth to babies with disabilities or genetic disorders, or who develop serious diseases in their early months. But as far as we know, no research is being conducted into these issues.” That same year, Linda was awarded a well-deserved MBE.

Linda Walker with a Belarus child impacted by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident

Other recipients of the Nuclear Free Future Award included Jeffrey Lee of Australia who won the award for Resistance, Didier and Paulette Anger of France who won Lifetime Achievement Award, and Peter Weish of Austria who also won a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lee, the sole surviving member of his Djok aboriginal clan, single-handedly defended the land he inherited against uranium mining corporations, refusing huge monetary offers and instead choosing to preserve its precious ecology and cultural and spiritual significance. Eventually, Lee’s land became incorporated into Kakadu National Park, a World Heritage site, permanently protecting it from uranium mining.

The Angers have resisted the construction of the Flamanville nuclear reactors, exposed the deadly health impacts due to radioactive leaks and releases from the La Hague reprocessing site, and opposed the stationing of nuclear submarines at Cherbourg, among other campaigns. Over the years, they have become known as the “godparents” of the French anti-nuclear movement.

Weish is the longtime leading light in the Austrian anti-nuclear movement in a country that today has no nuclear power plants, forbids nuclear waste transportation, has banned nuclear weapons, and has led on a number of nuclear disarmament initiatives at the United Nations. For a time, Weish worked within the Institute for Radiation Protection, lending him specialized knowledge that made him a formidable force when arguing against nuclear energy.

The 2018 Award ceremony will take place on October 24, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria, and is celebrating its 20th year. The event, which is open to the public, also includes an international Think Nuclear-Free Symposium the next day, where the winners further expound on their work.