Project News

North Korea Reports Nuclear Test Site Closure

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

Following a late April announcement by Kim Jong Un, North Korea announced on May 24 that it had destroyed its nuclear testing site at Punggye-ri.

Notable Read: Shutting Down Punggye-ri: Confirming Dismantlement of North Korea’s Nuclear-Weapon Test Site

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

Tariq Rauf, an independent consultant for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, makes the case for a CTBTO presence at the upcoming closure of the Punggye-ri test site in a May 13 article.

Notable Read: Test and Effect

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

George Perkovich assesses the impact of India’s first nuclear tests, 20 years later, by reviewing then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s letter to U.S. President Bill Clinton explaining India’s rationale.

Notable Read: Make North Korea’s Nuclear Test Pause Permanent

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

Jon Wolfsthal, Global Zero’s Nuclear Crisis Group director, recommends steps North Korea can take to build on its pledge to shut down its Punggye-ri test site and stop further nuclear weapons tests in a May 7 article for 38 North.

Punggye-ri Test Site Damaged, But Still Useable, Experts Contend

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

Two different teams of Chinese geologists reported that North Korea’s sixth nuclear test damaged the mountain over the Punggye-ri test site, which North Korea promised to shut down in May. Neither research team concluded that the mountain damage rendered the site unusable, despite recent media reports to the contrary.

Five Chinese Test Detection Stations Certified

By Shervin Taheran

In just twelve months, China has certified its first five International Monitoring System (IMS) stations, of the twelve it is treaty-bound to certify in order to realize the completion of the global nuclear test detection system managed by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

China, as well as the United States, are two of eight countries left which need to ratify the CTBT for the 1996 treaty to enter into force. Both countries have signed, but not ratified, the treaty.

NPR Rejects CTBT Ratification; NNSA Shortens Testing Readiness Timeline

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre and Daryl Kimball

The Trump administration’s new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) asserts that “the United States does not support the ratification of the CTBT,” even though the United States and 182 other nations have signed the treaty, and even though there is no technical need to resume nuclear testing.*

The review, which generally defines U.S. policy regarding the role of nuclear weapons in security strategy, says “the United States will continue to support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Preparatory Committee” and “the related International Monitoring System and the International Data Center.”

The NPR calls upon other states not to conduct nuclear testing and states that “[t]he United States will not resume nuclear explosive testing unless necessary to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the U.S. arsenal ….”

Notable Read: “Utilizing Article XIV Conferences to Boost the Two Norms that Matter Most”

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Stimson Center, highlights the importance of the norms against nuclear use and testing in a Jan. 4 blog post. While applauding UNSCR 2310 as a step in the right direction, he regrets that it does not prevent “boll weevils with the Trump Administration and on Capitol Hill” from seeking to tear down impediments to resuming nuclear testing. To continue to bolster the nuclear testing taboo, he recommends reinvigorating CTBT Article XIV conferences, which focus on advancing towards the treaty’s entry into force. The full article is available here