Project News

New "Close the Door on Nuclear Testing" Campaign Launched

The CTBTO is inviting people the world over to submit their video messages and photos explaining why they support a world without nuclear testing.

Make your voice heard! Add your "Close the Door on Nuclear Testing" message to the campaign!

Watch the campaign video and submit your own (< 15 seconds) video clip here.

Alternatively, send in a picture of yourself closing a door or holding a "Close the Door on Nuclear Testing" sign. Submit to [email protected]

The best entries will be included in a compilation and broadcast worldwide

Fmr. Energy Sec. O'Leary's LATimes Oped: "Ratify the CTBT"

In an oped in today's Los Angeles Times, former Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary outlines the case for careful Senate reconsideration and ratification of the Treaty. She notes that:

"In 1999, opponents of the treaty expressed concern that it would hamper America's ability to maintain a robust nuclear arsenal. Those worries are now moot. Thanks to technological progress over the last decade, nuclear scientists can determine with high confidence that warheads work without detonating them. Indeed, the United States hasn't conducted a nuclear test explosion since 1992."

O'Leary, who served as U.S. Energy Secretary from 1993-1997, was instrumental in the Clinton administration to extend the nuclear test moratorium first mandated by Congress and pursue a "zero-yield" test ban treaty, and under her watch the Department developed the stockpile stewardship program.

"By ratifying the treaty," O'Leary writes, "the United States would gain the political and moral leverage to end nuclear testing worldwide. And we'd help establish the kind of robust framework needed by the international community to monitor and deter the nuclear activities of the most dangerous countries."

"Now is the time for the Senate to seriously reconsider and approve the test ban treaty."

The oped, "Ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,' by O'Leary and Daryl Kimball is  available online.

States Urge Action on CTBT at Sept. 2 Informal Session of UNGA

To mark the August 29 International Day Against Nuclear Tests, dozens of UN member states met for more than four hours at UN Headquarters in an informal session of the General Assembly on Sept. 2. In a series of statements from the floor, senior diplomats from key countries, including Russia, China, France,  acknowledged the 20th anniversary of the historic events that led to the closure of the former Soviet nuclear test site of Semipalatinsk, where more than 456 explosions contaminated the land and its people.

At the end of the session, ACA--on behalf of nongovernmental organizations--addressed the gathering and delivered a statement endorsed by 24 organizations from 8 countries.  See: http://www.armscontrol.org/events/International-Day-Against-Nuclear-Tests-Translating-Words-Into-Action

International Day Against Nuclear Tests: Translating Words Into Action

August 29, 2011 is the second official International Day Against Nuclear Tests. It coincides with the 20th anniversary of the historic events that led to the closure of the former Soviet nuclear test site of Semipalatinsk, where more than 456 explosions contaminated the land and its inhabitants.

The courageous efforts of the Kazakh people and their allies forced Moscow’s communist regime to halt nuclear weapons testing and catalyzed actions elsewhere around the globe that eventually led to a  U.S. nuclear testing halt and the negotiation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The damage caused by nuclear testing and the job of bringing a permanent and verifiable ban on all nuclear testing is, however incomplete.

As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on August 25: “We urgently need new progress in achieving a world free of both nuclear tests and nuclear weapons,” Ban said. “Current voluntary moratoriums on nuclear weapon tests are valuable, yet they are no substitute for a global ban,” he stated.

The August 29 commemoration should spur nongovernmental organizations and policymakers to redouble stalled efforts to secure entry into force of the CTBT and improve programs to better understand and responsibly address the health and environmental damage caused by past nuclear testing.

For more, see the new essay on ArmsControlNow.org 

The Pentagon's Role in Nuclear Test Monitoring

The U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System (USAEDS), a sensor system established in 1947, is capable of detecting “nuclear explosions that occur under land or sea, in the atmosphere or in space”, according to a July 12, 2011 Department of Defense news report. This detection system monitors three important nuclear treaties, the Limited Test Ban Treaty (1963), the Threshold Ban Treaty (1974), and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (1976), and is based out of the U.S. Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC).

The news report states that USAEDS is comprised of sensors aboard over 20 satellites that are a part of the Global Positioning System and the Defense Support Program. This Defense Support Program has infrared-sensing satellites that are used to detect launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles and are equipped with sensors that “look for phenomenology from a nuclear explosion that occurs in space or in the atmosphere, whether it’s nuclear radiation or the flash from the fireball”, according to AFTAC chief scientist David O’Brien. 

P5 Reiterate Commitment to CTBT

During a June 30th-July 1st NPT Review Conference follow-up meeting, the P5 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) reaffirmed their continued commitment to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The following is an excerpt from the Final Joint Press Statement of the P5: 

“The P5 States recalled their commitment to promote and ensure the swift entry into force of the CTBT and its universalization. They called upon all States to uphold the moratorium on nuclear weapons-test explosions or any other nuclear explosion, and to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty pending its entry into force.”

“The Reagan Vision” Web site Supports CTBT

 A new multimedia Web site—TheReaganVision.org—has been launched to advance former President Ronald Reagan’s dream of creating a world without nuclear weapons. 

The privately supported site includes background information on key issues including the Test Ban Treaty, frequent news updates, opinion pieces, and most interestingly, a professionally-produced online ad encouraging support for the CTBT.

Rebutting the Heritage Foundation’s Myths

Staunch opponents of the CTBT have taken notice of the Obama administration’s effort to engage the Senate on the CTBT. Unfortunately, these “pro-testers” are only too willing to ignore key facts and repeat outdated myths about the Test Ban Treaty.

Supporters of the nuclear test ban will need to address legitimate questions that Senators may have about the treaty, but not allow misinformation to shape the terms of the developing debate.

In a recent Web Memo, opeds, and a blogpost, commentators from the Heritage Foundation have claimed that “nothing has changed” over the past decade, that any effort to reconsider the merits of the treaty is an “attack” on the Senate, and they even suggest that the U.S. needs to resume nuclear testing.

Such hyperbole defies common sense and is out of step with current technical and geopolitical realities. A new ACA Issue Brief counters the Heritage Foundation’s myths about the CTBT.