The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons fills a significant gap in international law whereby nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a comprehensive ban.

An overwhelming majority of nations voted to adopt the Treaty in 2017 and steady progress is being made toward ratification. When ratified by 50 nations, the Treaty will enter into legal force.

Click here for details on the Treaty and how it works. Learn about current nuclear arsenals, government positions worldwide, and the status of ratification. Follow the significant events of the Nuclear Age since 1942 leading to the landmark adoption of the Treaty.


Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaski killed 214,000 people by the end of 1945. Even a limited regional nuclear war would disrupt global climate and agricultural production so severely that over a billion people would be at risk of famine.

Click here for more information about the impacts of nuclear weapons and the legacy of nuclear testing conducted between 1945 and 1996. Read the stories of Australians affected by nuclear testing in the outback between 1952 and 1963. Learn about the Humanitarian Initiative that laid the groundwork for the Treaty. 


The Australian Labor Party, which won government at the polls on 21 May 2022, made a pre-election pledge to sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Such a move would make Australia the first country currently under the United States’ so-called “nuclear umbrella” to become a TPNW state party.

Read about Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s longstanding commitment to nuclear disarmament and the TPNW. 


Australia joined the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty in 1973 and is a member of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone. Successive Australian governments have resisted calls to ban nuclear weapons, claiming that US nuclear weapons enhance Australia’s security. Nonetheless, support for the ban is emerging in Australian parliaments and in December 2018 the Australian Labor Party committed to sign and ratify the Treaty when in government.

Click here for a summary of Australia’s position and links to ICAN Australia policy papers since 2013. Read about ICAN’s global Parliamentary Pledge initiative and see which Australian parliamentarians have signed on.


ICAN works with partner organisations in 103 countries to build community support for the Treaty. The global Cities Appeal encourages cities and towns to call on their governments to sign and ratify the Treaty. In Australia, interfaith groups, unions, medical and legal organisations, and prominent Australians have declared support for Australia’s commitment to the Treaty.

Click here to find out who supports the ban, including ICAN partners, cities, faith-based groups, high profile Australians, unions, civil society and international law experts.


Australia has a complex history with nuclear weapons. It involves not only the weapons themselves but the mining of uranium and other materials for the manufacturing of these weapons, nuclear weapons testing and development, and nuclear waste dumping. 

Click here to learn more about the British nuclear testing program in Australia in the 1950s and 60s and its impact on First Nations people and service personnel. 


The Pacific has a unique voice to add to the calls for the ban on nuclear weapons, as we have a unique and toxic history with these weapons.

From 1946 to 1996, some 300 nuclear test explosions were conducted in the Pacific. Their impact on the fragile ecology of the region and the health and mental well-being of its peoples has been profound and long-lasting. Pacific nations have been among the earliest to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons since it opened for signature on 20 September 2017.