The Project for the CTBT supports the work of NGOs and experts to build public and policymaker understanding of the CTBT.

“It is Almost Certain that the U.S. Will Not Test Again,” Says Former NNSA Administrator

Amb. Linton Brooks, the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration during the George W. Bush administration, said there is practically no chance of the United States resuming nuclear testing.

Brooks, speaking at an ACA-sponsored Nov. 28 event on “The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty at 15: a Status Update,” described the political bar to testing as “too high” and stated that testing is not the best use of time or resources.

Brooks expressed his confidence in the NNSA's Science Based Stockpile Stewardship and Management program ability to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear arsenal, saying that it would be “extremely difficult” to conceive of a problem that could not be solved by the program and require a resumption of nuclear testing to substantiate. He noted that in the past eighteen years, no national laboratory director has ever called for a resumption of testing in their annual stockpile report to Congress.

The event, sponsored by the Arms Control Association and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, also included remarks by Marvin Adams from Texas A & M University, Jenifer Mackby of the Center Strategic and International Studies, and Daryl Kimball of ACA.

160+ States Meet Sept. 23 on CTBT Entry Into Force

Fifteen years after the CTBT was opened for signature, more than 160 senior government representatives gathered and 53 spoke at UN Headquarters to highlight the value of the Treaty and call upon the remaining 9 CTBT "hold out" states to sign and/or ratify to facilitate formal entry into force. The gathering is the seventh such Article XIV Conference on Facilitating Entry Into Force, which has been held every other year since 1999.

The final conference declaration “urge[s] all remaining States … to sign and ratify the Treaty without delay” and endorses bilateral, regional, and multilateral initiatives to achieve the treaty’s “earliest entry into force.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon probably summed up the spirit and substance of the meeting best. He noted the growing calls—at the international political level and from the many victims and survivors of nuclear testing—for bringing the treaty into force.

“My message is clear: Do not wait for others move first. Take the initiative. Lead. The time for waiting has passed,” he stated.

“We must make the most of existing—and potentially short-lived—opportunities,” Ban said.

Nuclear Experts Propose Making CTBTO Institutions Permanent

A number of leading nuclear arms control proponents said last week that the international community should act promptly to make key features of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty permanent, despite a widespread view that the pact itself will not be formally implemented for many years to come.

Because it has not yet entered into force, the organizations created to promote the agreement and build its verification regime were labeled temporary from the outset.

"We propose to eliminate [the] words 'provisional' and 'preparatory' from the letterheads" of CTBT-related institutions and from international "lexicon," Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center, said at a Thursday event.

For more details, see:

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

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 

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——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.

State Department Makes Case for CTBT (Again)

Following up on the May 10 address on "The Case for the CTBT" by Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller spoke on June 9 in Chicago on the importance of the treaty and on June 14 in Vienna to the CTBT Preparatory Commission.

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