I am currently focusing on my work supporting Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action (, so you find me posting here (except on rare occasion). I am, however, keeping my extensive listing of links related to (almost) all things nuclear up to date. Drop me an email at if you find a broken or out-of-date link. Thanks and Peace, Leonard

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

CTBT... What's in a Name???


The 16th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) passed yesterday with little, if any, fanfare.

The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996, but it has not yet entered into force.

When the treaty opened for signatures on September 24, 1996, it was signed by 71 States, including five of the eight then nuclear-capable states.  Since then the number of countries to have ratified the treaty has grown to 157.  Of the countries yet to sign, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States must ratify the treaty for it to enter into force (Note: The U.S. has signed but not ratified). 

Preparing for the world's first
nuclear weapons test, "Trinity".
There are a number of arguments both for and against U.S. ratification of the CTBT.  All other arguments aside, a strong case can be made that ratification by the major nuclear powers - Russian ratified the treaty in 2000) - would set an international standard that would push other nuclear-capable countries like North Korea, Pakistan, and India to sign.

The U.S. has set far too many conditions to be met for it to ratify the CTBT, and beyond that continues to engage in what many consider to be its own nuclear weapons testing, albeit nothing resembling the full scale nuclear weapons tests of yesteryear. 

The tests in question are what the U.S. refers to as "nonexplosive" or "subcritical" nuclear tests. 

"Scientists at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico scrutinized plutonium activity under high pressure and heat levels like those of a detonating nuclear bomb, the National Nuclear Security Administration personnel said. The Z machine can generate X-rays of unparalleled intensity to mimic the fusion reactions of nuclear warheads, the sources indicated." (GSI, Sept, 21, 2012)
A rose (or skunk cabbage) by any other name...  The U.S., just last month, conducted the sixth of these "nonexplosive" plutonium trials.  What is next?  When is a test not a test???

As the U.S. keeps pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into its nuclear weapons infrastructure to design, build ("refurbish"), test, maintain and deploy the most modern nuclear force anywhere, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty languishes, awaiting the final ink.

The U.S. should be leading the way to disarmament, and in the case of the CTBT it is far too late for that; 157 other nations have already led the way.  That being said, it is not too late for the U.S. to follow their lead and demonstrate that it is part of a community of nations working together for the sake of future generations.  There is little downside.

It is high time to finally ratify the CTBT!!!

Click here to demand an end to all nuclear weapons testing!





Wickipedia on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization

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