Scientific Report on Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Due This Month

A long-awaited scientific report on technical matters related to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is to be released at the end of the month, Bloomberg reported on Sunday (see GSN, Feb. 22).

A special panel of the National Research Council is scheduled to issue the results of a three-year study on March 30, according to the committee's website.

The report is a follow-up to a 2002 analysis from the National Academies. It will study "the ability of the United States to maintain the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile" without explosive testing, according to a released statement.  Additionally, the report is to analyze such matters as "the capability to detect, locate and identify nuclear explosions."

The Obama administration has repeatedly signaled its determination to secure Senate approval of the pact, which supporters say promotes nonproliferation by barring member states from conducting nuclear tests needed to develop new or better weapons. The United States has observed a voluntary moratorium on nuclear trials since 1992.

Republican lawmakers, though, have also telegraphed their intent to oppose ratification. They have questioned the technical merits of the global of the global system for detecting nuclear blasts and say the country might one day need to carry out such tests.

"The report is likely to confirm that the Stockpile Stewardship Program has been very effective and that there are no technical reasons to resume testing," Arms Control Association Executive Director Daryl Kimball told Bloomberg. 

The stewardship program employs sophisticated computer models and other systems to verify the safety, effectiveness and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has been ratified by 157 countries. A total of 44 "Annex 2" nations must ratify the nonproliferation pact for its entry into force; the holdouts from that group are China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States (Viola Gienger, Bloomberg, March 16).

 

March 19, 2012
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A long-awaited scientific report on technical matters related to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is to be released at the end of the month, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.

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