Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Jonathan E. Medalia. September 29, 2014.

A ban on all nuclear tests is the oldest item on the nuclear arms control agenda. Nuclear testing has a long history, beginning in 1945. The Natural Resources Defense Council states that the United States conducted 1,030 nuclear tests, the Soviet Union 715, the United Kingdom 45, France 210, and China 45. (Of the U.K. tests, 24 were held jointly with the United States and are not included in the foregoing U.S. total.) The last U.S. test was held in 1992; Russia claims it has not tested since 1990. In 1998, India and Pakistan announced several nuclear tests. Each declared a test moratorium; neither has signed the CTBT. North Korea announced that it conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, and 2013. Since 1997, the United States has held 27 “subcritical experiments” at the Nevada National Security Site, most recently in December 2012, to study how plutonium behaves under pressures generated by explosives. It asserts these experiments do not violate the CTBT because they cannot produce a self-sustaining chain reaction. Russia reportedly held some such experiments since 1998.

[PDF format, 73 pages, 700.73 KB].

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