Nearly a decade since the United Nations declared that each Sept. 26 would be a day of reaffirming the global commitment to nuclear disarmament, the goal remains far off, with the U.S., Russia and China ramping up activity at their nuclear test sites.

The U.N. has sought to use the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, declared in December 2013 and marked annually since the following September, “to educate the public — and their leaders — about the real benefits of eliminating such weapons, and the social and economic costs of perpetuating them.”

But with nuclear powers in possession of approximately 12,512 warheads, according to a June estimate by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), and extensive programs underway in the United States, Russia and China to modernize their warheads — not to mention the February collapse of the last nuclear arms treaty between Washington and Moscow — headway toward even this modest goal of educating the public faces daunting challenges.