The Embassy of Kazakhstan in Washington, D.C. and Partners Hosted a Special Event to Mark International Day Against Nuclear Tests
"Nuclear Weapons Testing: History, Progress, Challenges"
DATE: Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, 12:30-5:00pm
LOCATION: United States Institute of Peace
2301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC
The Embassy of Kazakhstan, the Embassy of Canada, Green Cross International, the Atom Project, and the Arms Control Association hosted a mini-conference examining the human and security dimensions of nuclear testing, as well as the progress achieved to bring an end to nuclear weapons test explosions.
Dr. Ernest Moniz
The Security and Human Dimensions of Nuclear Testing
Andrew C. Weber, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs
Verification and Entry into Force of the CTBT
Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security (Gottemoeller Prepared Remarks)
|Dr. Lassina Zerbo
Executive Secretary, CTBTO
Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Federal News Service
PAUL HUGHES: Ladies and gentlemen, if I could ask you to take your seats, please. I’m Paul Hughes, the senior advisor for international security and peacebuilding here at the Institute of Peace, and it’s my distinct privilege and honor to welcome all of you to the United States Institute of Peace, America’s center for the prevention of international violent conflict, the mitigation of such conflict and the work to promote the stabilization following such conflicts. The Institute is celebrating its 30th year of existence and hard work around the world in some of the toughest spots you can imagine.
We are honored to have been selected as the site for this very important event on the important issue of the testing of nuclear weapons and we would like to welcome Secretary Moniz, Undersecretary Gottemoeller, Ambassador Akhinzhanov and the many other guests who will provide their thoughts about this issue. USIP was proud to have facilitated the work of the strategic posture review commission that was chaired by former Secretary of Defense William Perry and vice-chaired by former Secretary of Energy Jim Schlesinger, a Congressional commission that examined this issue as well as the many other issues related to nuclear arms nonproliferation and arms control.
As many of these – several of the panelists and members who will be speaking to you today were members of that commission, either as experts or as specialists advising the panelists. I would like to now introduce to you Deputy Ambassador Akhinzhanov, the chargé d'affaires of the Kazakhstan Embassy, who will welcome Secretary Moniz.
YERKIN AKHINZHANOV: Thank you, Paul for your kind introduction. Dear ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, in the outset I would like to note that it is very unfortunate that Ambassador Kairat Umarov could not be with us – cannot be with us – today. He was traveling to Washington after trip to Kazakhstan but, unfortunately, in the middle of his trip, his wife was hospitalized and had to undergo a very urgent, unscheduled surgery. And Ambassador Umarov was planning – still planning – to travel to Washington this morning, but the conditions of his wife didn’t allow him to do so and he sends his sincere apologies and his greetings to all of you. And our hope is that his wife will be recovering very soon.
So, thank you very much for your – for coming today. It is a pleasure to welcome all of you on this important occasion to commemorate the United Nations International Day against Nuclear Tests and discuss the importance of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty. As you may well know, the International Day against Nuclear Testing was first proposed by Kazakhstan and endorsed – adopted -- unanimously adopted – by the UN General Assembly in 2009. The date marks the day in 1991, when this infamous Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site was closed, where the Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests, many of them in the air and on surface.
Ironically, this is also the day when the first explosion on that test site was made and many of my colleagues – elder colleagues, our parents, our grandparents, remember those days. My father, personally, was telling me stories when – as a kid, he was evacuated from that place. He lived – he stayed there, and it was terrible. And it is quite symbolic that this year marks the 25th anniversary since the establishment of a grassroots anti-nuclear movement, Nevada Semipalatinsk. It brought people of Kazakhstan and United States together in their desire to eliminate the nuclear threat not only in our own countries, but all around the world.
More than one and a half million people in Kazakhstan have suffered early death, horrific birth defects and lifelong physical difficulties as a result of those tests. That stark reality led Kazakhstan to unilaterally give up the fourth-largest nuclear arsenal in the world shortly after we achieved independence. Since then, Kazakhstan has convincingly demonstrated to the international community (that a ?) peaceful foreign policy, openness and cooperation, known possession of weapons of mass destructions, or a threat to use it, is the main prerequisite for prosperity and security.
Due to the grave consequences brought upon us by nuclear testing, my president, Nursultan Nazarbayev and people of Kazakhstan are the steadfast advocates for the strengthening of global nuclear security and promoting a permanent end to all nuclear weapons testing. Having a comprehensive worldwide verification system in place, the time is right and conditions are right to make it happen.
So we are called – we call upon the remaining nuclear technology states, including the United States, to ratify and allow the entering into force of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. Kazakhstan’s commitment to the – to the CTBT is strong and rests on the firm verification grounds. We were among the first to sign the treaty back in 1996 and presently, five international monitoring stations, part of the worldwide global alarm system to detect nuclear explosions, are located on our soil, in Kazakhstan. We welcome the decision of the five nuclear weapons states, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, to sign the protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear and Weapon Free – Weapons Free Zone. It is a major positive development in the global nonproliferation efforts and we urge the United States and other nuclear arms states to ratify the treaty and -- in order for the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone to take effect.
Dear friends, together with our partners from the Arms Control Association, Green Cross International and the government of Canada, we sincerely hope that this conference will help us in educating the international community on the security benefits of the treaty, as well as the dangers to the health and environment posed by nuclear tests.
As President Nazarbayev stressed, a nuclear-free world isn’t achievable overnight, but we should proceed towards it and encourage all nations to support the cause. Almost four years ago, speaking here in Washington, my president called for a unique approach to security focused on what unites us, and he proposed adoption of a universal declaration of a nuclear weapons-free world. President Nazarbayev sees the case for such a declaration as both moral and political; nuclear disarmament is both the right thing to do and it is the most reliable means to prevent the use of such weapons.
In the interim, Kazakhstan calls for ending nuclear weapons testing through the CTBT, establishing and recognizing nuclear weapons-free zones, including in Central Asia, including in Middle East and elsewhere, and strengthening security assurances for countries like Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, which have renounced nuclear weapons. Ladies and gentleman, supporting President Obama’s initiative, Kazakhstan has endorsed all nuclear security summit goals, including promoting the safe use of nuclear energy, augmenting the IAEA’s role and authority in nuclear safety and security, adopting stronger measures to secure radiological sources and encouraging commercial nuclear power producers to stop using highly-enriched uranium. We are, indeed, strong partners with the United States on making world a safer place.
With this, we are privileged and honored to introduce Dr. Ernest Moniz, the United States secretary of energy, as the keynote speaker. As all of you know, Dr. Moniz has held his current post since May 2013. Immediately before his appointment, Dr. Moniz was professor of physics and engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was the founding director of the MIT Energy Initiative. Before that, Dr. Moniz was undersecretary of the Department of Energy, and he was responsible for overseeing the department’s science and energy programs.
His impressive resume includes serving as an associate director for science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. Dr. Moniz’s outstanding qualifications as a brilliant scientist and engineer are well-known and universally respected. With regard to nuclear security, Dr. Moniz and – is unquestionably in a leading position in spearheading multilateral nonproliferation efforts and in bolstering peace and security on our planet.
And allow me to be egotistic, to know that the only thing that has not yet accomplished in his distinguished career is a visit to Kazakhstan. So – but we hope that Secretary Moniz can do this to resolve this issue, as it is much easier as others we are going to discuss today. And, without further ado, please join me in welcoming United States Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz. (Applause.)
SECRETARY EARNEST MONIZ: Well, thank you. I wish my challenges and shortcomings could be as easily corrected as – and as pleasantly corrected as by going to Kazakhstan. And certainly you are fair to point out the shortcoming, and we will try to rectify that.
I also want to extend my thanks to Ambassador Umarov for the invitation to be here, and to extend our best wishes, especially for his wife’s recovery in this unfortunate turn of events, but hopefully that will be resolved soon in a very positive way.
I also want to thank the Institute for Peace and – of Peace, and Paul, the Embassy of Kazakhstan, and other partners for hosting this conference. Later on I’ll come back and talk a bit more about the important leadership that Kazakhstan has shown in support of banning nuclear testing. I’ll do that towards the end of my remarks.
I’ll just note – and my public affairs people are going to be very angry with this, but since Paul mentioned Jim Schlesinger, who, as you know, was the first energy secretary, established the department in – on October the 1st – the birthday is coming up – 1977. And Jim, of course, is a major figure and – as I think everyone here knows, he passed away in the – in this last year – and a major figure in both energy and security issues. So I’ll just say not quite all the details, but we will be soon announcing a new award in honor of Jim’s major contributions, and that will be – that will be coming up soon.
This conference is focused on the issue of nuclear weapons testing and the road forward for the CTBT. And let me just start out with two very simple messages. First, the United States continues to observe, of course, its nuclear test explosion moratorium, in place since 1992. Maintaining the moratorium is made possible by the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which in turn has allowed the United States to transform our nuclear security enterprise. And I’ll be coming back to describe where we are with that Stockpile Stewardship Program and its important implications for the subject of this meeting. Second, the United States remains committed to ratifying and entering into force the CTBT, which will lay the groundwork for a world with diminished reliance on nuclear weapons, reduced nuclear competition, and eventual nuclear disarmament.
To underscore the importance of our Stockpile Stewardship Program and this administration’s commitment to global nuclear security, I want to begin my remarks by highlighting the priority that President Obama has placed and continues to place on nonproliferation, disarmament and security. So the president has made eliminating and securing nuclear material, reducing nuclear stockpiles and increasing global cooperation a pillar of his foreign policy. Last summer in Berlin, the president echoed the vision he first put forward in his 2009 Prague speech, calling on the global community to secure vulnerable materials, decrease the number of nuclear weapons, and build a sustainable and secure nuclear energy industry.
Over the last five years we have seen some remarkable progress – lots to do but we also should note the progress. A few examples: Working with Russia under the New START treaty, we are reducing the number of deployed strategic warheads to the lowest level since the 1950s. Since 2009, America has partnered with 26 countries in Taiwan to eliminate more than 3,000 kilograms of HEU and plutonium, enough material for well over a hundred nuclear weapons, and has eliminated all HEU from 12 countries.
Last December we reached a major milestone in the Megatons to Megawatts Program, the final delivery to the United States of low-enriched uranium derived from 500 metric tons of HEU from Russian nuclear weapons. And this “Swords to Plowshares” partnership provided about 10 percent of American electricity over two decades. President Obama also launched the Nuclear Security Summit process, the first in D.C., in 2010, and 47 delegations, including 38 heads of state or government, the largest number of national leaders convened by a U.S. president since the 1945 U.N. Conference on International Organization – I think indicative of the importance attached to this.
In 2012 that was followed in Seoul, focusing on the progress made on the – on the initial agreements, and then in 2014, the third in The Hague, March of this year, really centering on results achieved and some future opportunities such as the agreement we were able to announce between the United States and Japan. And the president has announced, as I’m sure you know, that he will host a fourth summit here in the United States in 2016.
So the United States is committed to continuing to reduce the size of its active deployed stockpile while maintaining a credible and effective deterrent. And as the president said in Berlin, and I quote, “After a comprehensive review, I have determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third."
The president made clear at that time our readiness to negotiate further nuclear reductions with Russia, but Russia indicated no interest. Now, given current challenges with Russia, this is not a focus of our bilateral dialogue. Nonetheless, whether at New START levels or potentially lower levels in the future, we must maintain confidence in our remaining nuclear weapons without testing. And that’s where the Department of Energy’s science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program has allowed us to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of our nuclear arsenal in the absence of testing.
During my first tour at DOE as undersecretary of energy in the Clinton administration, the Stockpile Stewardship Program was in its early years and its future and successes were still unknown. Many of the new facilities were in the design phase. We had not fully established the role of large-scale numerical simulation and modeling, which works together with a new generation of high-performance computers that were developed with industry and our National Laboratories as an integrator of historical data with new non-nuclear experiments.
At the time, I served on the DOE-DOD Nuclear Weapons Council, and there was, frankly justifiably, a “show me” attitude about whether we could maintain the U.S. stockpile for an extended period with high confidence without nuclear testing. And I might say that was true in Congress as well. Today we can say with even greater certainty that we can meet the challenges of maintaining our stockpile with continued scientific leadership, not nuclear testing.
Next week will mark 22 years since the last United States nuclear explosive test, and because of the Stockpile Stewardship Program, the directors of the department’s National Security Laboratories have been able to certify the diminishing stockpile annually. Our lab directors believe that they actually understand more about how nuclear weapons work now than during the period of nuclear testing.
Nuclear testing provided confidence through end-to-end tests of the weapon systems. By contrast, our science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program has approached the problem by breaking down the operations of a weapon into a sequence of individual steps. We are then able to step back and analyze each of these mechanisms at a level of detail that was never available during the era of nuclear testing.
With suitable continuing investment in the science base and the manufacturing complex, we can continue with confidence into the future. The Stockpile Stewardship investments in supercomputing in the 1990s drove high performance computing to the 100 petaflops level. Applications to scientific discovery followed closely behind. Now there is a bit of a reversal. The drive to exascale in high-performance computing put forward in our latest budget request to Congress is now driven principally by scientific discovery and energy technology, with Stockpile Stewardship benefitting from those investments. This is a different type of swords-to-plowshares story.
The Department of Energy is committed to transforming the entire nuclear security enterprise to address a broad set of national and global security issues. At the former Nevada Test Site, which is now called the Nevada National Security Site, we have moved well beyond the 928 nuclear explosive tests conducted there. The site still hosts key Stockpile Stewardship work, but is also an experimental test bed and training ground for other missions, most notably nuclear nonproliferation and arms control, homeland security, and emergency operations.
Also last month, I was able to dedicate – to dedicate, with my colleague General Klotz, the new Kansas City Plant that is responsible for manufacturing non-nuclear components for the stockpile. The plant footprint has been reduced by 50 percent and provides an example of our need to modernize the complex, but also to size it appropriately to our expectations of a smaller stockpile.
While it is necessary for some details of sensitive Stockpile Stewardship work to remain classified, we will continue to release a significant amount of material to the public to explain the rationale, plans, challenges and successes of Stockpile Stewardship. So this – you know, 15 years beyond the CTBT hearing, Stockpile Stewardship really provides a very, very strong basis for going forward, reducing the stockpile and doing so with confidence without testing.
So again, I repeat that the United States remains committed to ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, along with the monitoring and verification regime. And this administration will continue making the case for U.S. CTBT ratification to build bipartisan support.
I came to the Department of Energy in my previous role in 1997, soon after the United States was the first to sign the treaty. I was also at the Department when the Senate considered the treaty for ratification in 1999 and remember sitting – not entirely happily – alongside Secretary Richardson at the Senate hearing on the treaty.
Clearly, we were disappointed that the ratification effort did not succeed at that time, but I believe we have a stronger case to make now due to two major developments: first what I already described, the robust Stockpile Stewardship Program that I just described, but second, also the advancements in international monitoring and verification over the past 17 years, to which the United States has made a number of significant contributions.
I visited – I visited the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna last year, and of course will be returning to Vienna the end of this week for the General Assembly. But in last year’s visit I was – I was impressed with the team of international experts in nuclear explosion monitoring and verification, supported by experts from the 183 state signatories.
The treaty’s verification regime, which was simply a concept, really, two decades ago, is now close to being a complete International Monitoring System, supported by the International Data Center. This system has demonstrated its capabilities, detecting and helping states identify the three declared nuclear explosive tests conducted by North Korea over the past several years. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis proved also how the International Monitoring System can serve important non-verification-related purposes, such as tsunami warnings and tracking radioactivity from nuclear accidents.
I’m pleased that nearly 90 percent of the planned International Monitoring System stations are already certified or installed, with plans for additional stations. A total of 89 countries spanning the globe will be part of the system. Thirty-five of the planned 37 United States International Monitoring System stations, along with a certified radionuclide laboratory, are fully operational and certified by the CTBTO.
A great deal of the technology used by the stations and in the radionuclide laboratory originated from Department of Energy experts in seismology, infrasound analysis, hydroacoustics and radiation detection. And recently I had the pleasure of giving one of the department’s highest honors, the E.O. Lawrence Award, to Dr. Stephen Myers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Myers, and a team drawn from other laboratories, developed a computer model to greatly improve location accuracy for seismic events detected by the International Monitoring System. And that’s just one of the many examples of technological advances that Department of Energy scientists have provided.
So again, on both the non-testing certification of our stockpile and on the global verification system, the two major issues which came up in the 1999 hearing, I believe we have seen now enormous progress in these 15 years. As I said, I believe we have a stronger case to make today than we had at that time.
In moving towards conclusion, I do want to say a little of Kazakhstan’s leadership in nuclear security, and today’s conference is just the latest example in a long line of important successes, as described earlier. So I may repeat a little bit, but this will provide, you know, verification.
On Kazakhstan's, again, first day of independence, August 29, 1991, the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was shut down by a unilateral presidential decree. And in the 20 years since President Nazarbaev’s dramatic decision, the United States and the Republic of Kazakhstan have worked together closely to achieve our shared nuclear security goals.
This collaboration, achieved with the support of many international partners, has helped eliminate or remove Kazakhstan’s nuclear stockpile of more than 1,400 nuclear warheads inherited after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and has led to the removal of hundreds of additional missiles and bombers. Kazakhstan has been the driving force behind the annual United Nations Day Against Nuclear Testing held on August 29th, and in 2011, Kazakhstan hosted the International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the closure of Semipalatinsk.
Kazakhstan has also been one of our strongest partners in nuclear nonproliferation. Our collaborations have resulted in major accomplishments such as Project Sapphire, under which 600 metric tons of highly enriched uranium was removed from Kazakhstan, and the safe shutdown of Kazakhstan’s plutonium production reactor at Aktau was accomplished.
The Department of Energy is currently working with Kazakhstan to minimize the use of HEU in civilian application, cooperating to establish a Nuclear Security Training Center, and conducting ongoing work to enhance Kazakhstan's ability to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear and radiological materials. Moreover, Kazakhstan helped lead the effort to create the Central Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone. The United States was pleased to join with the other NPT nuclear weapons states and sign the protocol to the treaty this past May in New York.
The United States looks forward to continuing to partner with Kazakhstan to strengthen nuclear security around the world and pursue our shared vision for a world without nuclear weapons. But I might add that Kazakhstan is taking a leadership role in other important security areas as well. The Central Reference Laboratory near Almaty, funded by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, will offer high security-security, high-tech lab space for studying dangerous pathogens. So again, we look forward to our ongoing collaboration.
So to conclude, the world will – I think everyone in this room agrees the world will be a safer and more secure place if nuclear testing is relegated to the pages of history. There was a time when an active and robust U.S. nuclear explosive testing program was necessary, but that time is more than 20 years in the past. Global nuclear security is of utmost importance to the United States. To achieve this goal, we need to advance arms control initiatives such as the CTBT, and to ensure that we continue to develop the science and technology that allow us to monitor arms control implementation.
So thank you again to the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Embassy of Kazakhstan and all the partners who are hosting this conference. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
PAUL WALKER: Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Paul Walker. I’m with Green Cross, International, I think as a lot of you know – colleagues and friends here in the audience know already. What we’ll do next is we’ll have our first panel discussion with three presentations of experts we have here, but first we’re going to show a short video, I think which will be quite interesting and help to introduce the subject matter of the first panel, which is on humanitarian aspects of nuclear weapons testing.
So if that’s ready to go, this will be, I think, 10 to 15 minutes, maybe, if I’m correct? Oh, just five minutes. OK, great. And then I’ll – write after that shows, I’ll call up my panelists and we’ll get rolling on the first panel. So if we’re ready in the back with audio/visual, we can roll the video.
PAUL WALKER: Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Paul Walker. I’m with Green Cross International, I think as a lot of you know, colleagues and friends here in the audience know already. What we’ll do next is we’ll have our first panel discussion with three presentations of experts we have here. But first, we’re going to show a short video, I think which will be quite interesting and help to introduce the subject matter of the first panel, which is on humanitarian aspects of nuclear weapons testing. So if that’s ready to go, this will be I think 10 to 15 minutes maybe, if I’m correct. Five? Oh, just five minutes. OK, great, and then I’ll – right after that shows, I’ll call up my panelists and we’ll get rolling on the first panel. So if we’re ready in the back with audiovisual, we can roll the video.
After that very moving introduction, I’d ask my panelists to come up. Togzhan and Jessica and Andy, yeah, take any of the four seats, musical chairs here. Let me first actually just express our appreciation for everyone who’s participated in pulling this conference together, particularly the Embassy of Kazakhstan, Ambassador Kairat Umarov, who we heard today is unable to make it and we wish his wife, you know, the best, best wishes really for a quick and speedy – speedy and full recovery. And particularly, our colleagues Dana and Talgat, who worked with us at some length to pull this together for the last few months, and also of course the Arms Control Association, Daryl Kimball and Shervin Taheran there and also the U.S. Institute of Peace here, Paul Hughes has been very, very good to work with.
We have three expert – we are very fortunate to have three expert panelists today. On my immediate left here is Andy Weber, who is the assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs at Department of Defense. On the far left is Togzhan Kassenova, who’s an associate with the nuclear policy program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In the middle, in the black suit there, is Jessica Schwartz, who’s the assistant professor of musicology at UCLA and cofounder of the Marshallese Educational Initiative, along with her colleague, April Brown, who’s here in the second row in the audience. We’re very pleased to have them all there. I won’t read – I won’t read bios because I know they’re all in the program. Urge you to look through the program at everyone’s bio here, and let me just say a few words in introducing this panel.
The Cold War, the two World Wars and the many regional wars of the last century have left enduring, dangerous, toxic legacies, which will haunt humankind for decades and possibly centuries to come. We can cite the thousands of sites with unexploded ordnances, what we call UXOs in the field, which continue to take lives even today across Europe and elsewhere.
We can cite the hundreds of thousands of tons of sea-dumped conventional and chemical weapons in every ocean of the world, possibly entering our food chain, the thousands of training and firing ranges around the world which continue to pollute the soil and groundwater, the thousands of military bases and formerly used defense sites, what we call FUDS, as you all know, with all sorts of pollution from motor pools, weapon burn sites, buried weapons, the practice of open burn and open detonation, what we call OBOD, of toxic materials including rocket propellant, explosives and other highly poisonous military substances and even our own “spring valley,” quote, unquote, here in Northwest Washington, D.C., where the Army – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been surveying and excavating old chemical weapons and agents from World War I for the last 20 years.
But the most toxic and longest lasting of all military pollutants has been radioactive waste and fallout, especially from nuclear testing and nuclear weapons development. These dangerous and toxic legacies will continue to haunt and position us for generations to come. There have been about 2,055 nuclear tests since the first Trinity test in New Mexico on July 16th, 1945. The U.S. has conducted over 50 percent of these and the Soviet Union another 715, about 35 percent, and the remaining 15 percent or so, about 300 nuclear tests, were conducted by France, Britain, India, Pakistan, likely Israel and North Korea. That’s the bad news.
Now, for some good news. The good news is that Russia stopped nuclear testing in 1990, Britain in 1991, the United States in 1992 – and I was on the armed services committee in the House of Representatives at the time and I can tell you that was not an easy thing to do from the Washington politics here – China in 1996, Pakistan and India in 1998. The only recent nuclear tests have been by North Korea in 2006, 2009 and 2013. So there’s been a de facto global moratorium on nuclear testing, as Secretary Moniz said earlier, for over 15 years now, with only three nuclear tests by North Korea since 2006. In the United States, this moratorium has now endured for 22 years and in Russia for 24 years, and this is really a major step forward as we all I think can agree, the good news.
The other good news is that a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, sponsored by Australia and 127 other countries was presented in the United Nations General Assembly on September 9th, 1996, 33 years after the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, which drove testing underground. The CTBT, as it’s called, was passed by the General Assembly the following day, September 10th, 1996, with the support of 158 countries, about three-quarters of the world or more. And two weeks later, September 24th, 1996, it was signed by the P-5 and 66 other countries and we’re very fortunate to have later today the executive secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, from Burkina Faso and the CTBTO in Vienna with us here.
So today, the CTBT counts 163 ratifications. That’s pretty good, 40-some-odd countries missing, 183 signatory states, a major step forward to permanently banning nuclear weapons tests globally. It also has a global verification system that Secretary Moniz noted earlier of 278 certified stations. I remember when I was dealing with this directly in the ’90s, we were talking about a few dozen stations back then.
Now, we’re up to 278 globally with another 59 on the way with seismic, hydroacoustic and radionuclide monitors which have shown their high value and capability, most recently with the three North Korean underground nuclear tests and the earthquake and tsunami and Fukushima nuclear meltdown about three years ago. CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo, as I noted, will talk more – much more about this later today.
The legacy of nuclear testing has left serious public health and environmental impacts, as we’ve just seen in this video here from Kazakhstan, around the globe, especially downwind of the testing sites in Utah and Nevada, in Semipalatinsk, in Kazakhstan, in Lop Nur, in China, in North Africa, in the South Pacific islands and beyond. Radioactive fallout from these nuclear blasts has impacted so-called atomic veterans, downwinders and many other innocent victims over the past half century and has left vast stretches of land uninhabitable.
We will hear from our three expert panelists this afternoon about the victims in the South Pacific, specifically the Marshall Islands, from Jessica Schwartz and in Semipalatinsk from Togzhan Kassenova, and about what has been done to address some of these challenges from Andrew Weber. So with that as a short introduction, I will turn the panel over to Andy Weber first and you’re welcome to speak from here, Andy, or at the – we’re all miked up as well. So we can speak from there too, whatever you prefer. Thank you very much.
ANDREW WEBER: OK, thanks. Thank you, Paul, and thank you to the sponsors of this event, the government of Kazakhstan, the government of Canada, the Arms Control Association, Daryl, Global Green, Paul and the ATOM Project, which we just saw that very moving, powerful video, and especially I’d like to thank Ambassador Kairat Umarov and wish his wife a speedy recovery. I’ve known Kairat Umarov since we were both much younger men and he was one of the members of the Semipalatinsk – Nevada Semipalatinsk movement, very involved as the Soviet Union was collapsing and that effort. Also, Paul and USIP, thank you for hosting this event.
The 20-plus years since Kazakhstan’s independence and President Nazarbayev’s decision to seek prosperity and security by the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, it’s been an honor to have worked with that country in support of those efforts to implement that early vision for eliminating WMD test sites, closing the Semipalatinsk nuclear weapons test site, the Vozrozhdeniya Island biological weapons test site in the Aral Sea, which is on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and many, many other projects related to nonproliferation.
I was on hand in Almaty and – on December 13th, 1993, when President Nazarbayev and Vice President Gore noted that day that the Kazakhstan had ratified the NPT as a non-nuclear state, and also they signed the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement that day, and I’ve had the privilege of working on that program much of my professional life.
I’m going to talk about a couple of specific projects, one that Secretary Moniz mentioned called Project Sapphire. When the Soviet Union broke up in a small factory in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, in East Kazakhstan, we learned of the existence of just under 600 kilograms of 90 percent enriched HEU that had been left there.
It was, as I found out during a visit that was arranged based on a meeting here in Washington, down in Blair House down the street, in January of 1994, I went up with an expert from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in March of 1994 to visit the facility to take an inventory. There’s a photograph here of some of the fuel rods, and that began a quiet partnership that led to the removal of nearly 600 kilograms of HEU for down-blending, and it was all at that time protected by a good padlock and a woman with a 9-mm Makarov pistol.
We had a major effort to package and transport this enormous amount of material in 448 of these barrel-sized containers in C-5 aircraft with no stops, aerial refueling. It was the longest C-5 flight ever, 20 hours to Dover, Delaware, and then a ground shipment to the Oak Ridge facility Y-12 where it was down-blended into low-enriched uranium for the power industry. And this was an incredible quiet success that was announced after its completion but for security reasons had been kept secret until then.
And after we finished, we were celebrating the success with one of the heroes of Kazakhstan’s nonproliferation effort, Vladimir Shkolnik. He pulled me aside and said, Andy, this was – that was just a test. He said, we have much more material. And he led us to the BN-350 breeder reactor in Aktau, on the Caspian Sea where Kazakhstan had three tons of weapons-grade plutonium and 300 tons of spent fuel there.
And that launched a project led by the Department of Energy on our side to decommission the BN-350 reactor so it would stop producing plutonium and to move the spent fuel 2,000 miles by train across Kazakhstan in 60 of these large casks where it is stored under IAEA safeguards in Eastern Kazakhstan at the moment. But it was enough material, according to the Department of Energy announcement, for over 775 nuclear weapons.
Kazakhstan closed, upon independence, the nuclear weapons test site, which is a very large area. It’s the size of Belgium, if you can imagine. And within that site, there was an area called the Degelen Mountain massif, about 300 square kilometers, where the tunnels – the test tunnels were located. And we launched a project in the mid-1990s to seal up those tunnels so they couldn’t be used for further nuclear weapons tests. And then, we became concerned after – especially after 9/11, that metal scavengers were going into the tunnels to recover copper wire and nonferrous metal.
But we learned from the Russian nuclear weapons testers that they had done a series of experiments in the ’70s and ’80s, and even right up until independence, of no-yield or low-yield tests that did not burn up the plutonium. So we launched a very quiet trilateral effort with the Russian experts who had done the experiments in the ’70s and ’80s and with the government of Kazakhstan to secure in place and remove to Russia several hundred kilograms of at-risk plutonium in the Degelen area.
And it was a quiet effort until it was announced at the Seoul nuclear security summit by Presidents Nazarbayev, Medvedev and Obama. They made a public announcement about this project. And at the site – that’s one of the trenches, by the way, that the metal scavengers had dug to retriever copper wire. So this was not just a couple of guys with shovels. This was a major operation to retrieve metal from all over the site. And we, of course, were worried of the potential that terrorists could hire some of these metal scavengers and direct them to recover fissile material. There is a monument now at that site with three sides that says 1996 to 2012, the world has become safer.
I’d also like to reinforce Secretary Moniz’s comments about how much progress has been made in the last 15 years in strengthening and in preparing the world for entry into force of the CTBT. In 1999, there were zero certified monitoring stations in the international monitoring system. Today, we have 278 of a planned 337 stations are certified. It is a global network that’s extremely sensitive and would make it very, very difficult for any country to conduct even small-scale nuclear tests without being found out. It’s an incredible capability to detect illegal testing.
The U.S. Department of Defense has contributed to this. We provide, as our national commitment, so far we have provided 35 certified stations and we plan two more. As well, we’re supporting the onsite inspection exercise this November in Jordan. So with the international detection and monitoring network combined with the stockpile stewardship program that Secretary Moniz described, the United States has absolutely no need to conduct nuclear weapons tests.
The body that I’m the staff director of, which is between the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, is called the Nuclear Weapons Council. Secretary Moniz mentioned he was serving on that in the late 1990s and Frank Klotz, who you’ll hear from, is a current member of it.
I’ve been attending Nuclear Weapons Council meetings for nearly five-and-a-half years as the staff director, and not once has there been a conversation about the resumption of nuclear weapons testing. So we’re not even considering it. The laboratory directors say there’s no need because of the science-based stockpile stewardship program and with our policy from the nuclear posture review of no new nuclear weapons or military capabilities, there is absolutely no need for the United States of America to conduct nuclear weapons tests.
Finally, I’d just like to conclude by noting some of the global efforts to eliminate and reduce threats of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. Recently we completed our support of an international operation led by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to destroy Syria’s 1,300 tons of declared chemical weapons. This was a huge global effort involving 30 countries. And the Kerry-Lavrov agreement was signed a year ago yesterday and already that removal and destruction of Syria’s stockpile has been completed.
Later this month, the White House will host the global health security agenda meeting on the 26th of September, and that’s a global effort to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks, no matter what their cause, natural outbreaks, as we’ve seen in West Africa with the Ebola crisis, bioterrorist attacks or accidental releases. The capacities that we need to detect and contain infectious disease outbreaks are common to all three of those, and we need to do more as a world, together with the World Health Organization and others, to put in place the capacities to prevent a situation like the one that we are seeing in Ebola.
As President Obama told Senators Nunn and Lugar when he honored them, we simply cannot allow the 21st century to be darkened by the worst weapons of the 20th century. And that takes an unwavering commitment from leaders like President Obama but also it takes partners around the world. All of these are global challenges and no single country can deal with them alone. And countries like Kazakhstan have been just incredible leaders in this global effort to eliminate threats from weapons of mass destruction. And it also takes people, dedicated, hardworking people like you, who I’m humbled to be with today, to make these efforts successful. So thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. WALKER: Thank you very much, Andy. And I congratulate you for staying right on time. So good example to follow. So next is Togzhan Kassenova, who will talk to us about Semipalatinsk. And we’ll – and we’ll break for Q&A after all three speakers.
TOGZHAN KASSENOVA: Could I ask for my presentation to be brought up? Thank you.
MR. WALKER: There we go.
MS. KASSENOVA: In a horrific scene of incineration, animals disappeared, buildings, cars and bridges evaporated. It was a rainy, windy early morning of August 29th, 1949, and the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test in Eastern Kazakhstan at the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site. That test was called the first lightning. Soviet scientists, and especially military, were eager to understand the potency of the bomb, and for that reason, they built a whole mini-city around the testing area.
They constructed buildings, parts of railroad, even a part of a highway with a concrete-reinforced bridge. They even built an electric power station, complete with diesel generators. They dug a metro tunnel and brought in military equipment. Animals, dogs, pigs, rats, mice and camels, oblivious to what was waiting for them, were also brought to the testing site.
All of that disappeared in an instant when the bomb went off. The Soviet Union officially became the nuclear power and the Kazakh Steppe became the first victim of this newly acquired might. The first nuclear test that ripped through the Kazakh Steppe was the first of hundreds to follow. The Soviet Union, determined not to be left behind by its enemy, the United States, threw its might into developing the nuclear arsenal and Kazakhstan was brought into this effort. The land and nature Kazakhs relied on for survival for centuries were now exploited for the sake of the ultimate weapon.
I work with quite a few archives because I’m trying to write a book on Kazakhstan’s experience and Kazakhstan’s nuclear history. And it’s really painful to read about the rationale behind the choice of Eastern Kazakhstan as the testing site. It’s all very scientific and of course non-emotional, ideal conditions, ideal geography. It’s an uninhabited area but actually, as you saw from the documentary and if you go to Kazakhstan and talk to people, you would realize that quite a few people were living there. There was a major city not that far away, but also several rural settlements.
And I know that every nation loves its land and has an affinity for it. I just want to spend a couple of minutes to explain why Kazakhs have such a strong affinity for the land, and that’s because the ancestors of Kazakhs worshiped their land and nature. They roamed the endless steppes in search of pastures for their cattle, the only source of their livelihood. They worshiped the god of sky, Tengri, and believed that life should be lived in harmony with nature. Centuries passed, religions changed and the nomads were gradually becoming a settled nation. But even though Kazakhs became settled, they kept a special affection for the land and nature.
As was referenced a couple of times today, almost 500 nuclear tests took place at Semipalatinsk. There were among them more than 80 atmospheric tests, around 30 ground and more than 300 underground tests. On the slide, you see the three tests that were especially harmful for the population, the very first test on August 29th, in 1949, and also several others but especially the one from September, 1951, as well as the one from August, 1953, the Soviet Union’s first hydrogen device was tested on that day.
The first test was considered to be too important for military and political reasons and that’s why everybody was in a rush. Nobody wanted to wait, even though it was clear that the weather would not be favorable. Rain and winds were expected and, you know, it did happen that way. Local people were completely unprotected and severe exposure happened on that day. In one village engulfed by a radioactive cloud after the first nuclear test, 90 percent of its inhabitants received an external effective dose of up to 1,400 millisieverts. And to put it in perspective, an average American is exposed to about 3 millisieverts of background radiation per year. So it’s 1,400 compared to three.
On August 12th, 1953, when the first hydrogen bomb was tested, some residents were evacuated because, you know, you can see from the potency, 400 kilotons. So some destruction was expected. But the local doctors, they now say what was tragic, that even though some of the settlements were evacuated, the residents were brought back, in some instances, nine days after the test took place. It was too quickly. During the first phase of testing, which is considered to be between 1949 and 1951, there were practically no public radiation safety measures.
The first official radiation safety standards which governed allowable outdoor and indoor doses of exposure were adopted only in 1969. That is not to say that, you know, some measures were not taken before that. But there were no official documents. In 1957, the Soviet military established a clinic. They called it dispensary number four and the name was the anti-brucellosis clinic, which was a disguised name for a clinic to study the effects of radiation on people. And while the Soviet-era documents and, you know, some of the narratives that are coming out now outside of Kazakhstan would say that the clinic was there to protect people and to care about their health, some of the people who lived in that area during that time would say we saw it as though we were just as guinea pigs for that clinic.
There was local expedition or a local effort on behalf of Kazakh doctors to study the effects of radiation, which took place for three years from 1957 to 1960 and the doctors actually found that there were definitely harmful effects that they were noticing in people who were living in this area such as hemorrhage of respiratory tracts, mouths and so on, blood diseases.
But when they sent their findings to Moscow, it was 12 tomes of information, clinical studies. The findings were classified and they only became available after the Soviet collapse. And it’s really painful to read how the Soviet military would say, oh, you know, all these people are sick because Kazakhs have poor hygiene. They have vitamin C deficiency and, yeah, they’re just not eating well. And while that might have been one of the factors, the complete denial that there was a harmful effect of radiation is really disturbing.
And I just wanted to give a couple of eyewitness accounts. I recently went to Astana where the International Physicians against Nuclear War held their congress. And for example, one of them, a lady, who was a girl, she was growing up at the railway station near the testing site, she recalls: I remember the test vividly, how our windows would shake and how we ran outside to watch. Every summer, I visited residents at grasslands, a place where my uncle looked after the cattle. The road to the pastures was directly on the way to the test site five kilometers away. With my own eyes, I saw a newborn lamb with two conjoined heads. A lot of newborn cattle were born without limbs or different pathologies or deformities of the skull. During that time, it was interesting and strange to me. Only when I grew up I understood the reason for such pathologies.
Scientists from Kazakhstan, and very often they would be – they would receive help form Japan. They conducted now numerous studies and they linked higher rates of different types of cancer to post-irradiation effects. They found correlation between radiation exposure and thyroid abnormalities. And they also noticed that people who used to live in those areas, they also suffered from mental – from mental diseases. There is a very high rate of suicide. They would have nightmares and very often the symptoms would be very similar to those experienced by Japanese hibakusha.
And I just wanted to make a point that the harmful effects didn’t stop, you know, with the past. Again, as I’ve recently heard from the local doctors who are conducting studies with now – with the third generation of kids whose parents or grandparents were exposed, we are still suffering from the effects of all the testing that happened there.
I’m extremely proud of my nation and of the people, you know, the local people who actually rose up and organized themselves into a public movement and I think the tribute really should be paid to people who participated in that movement. Well, before that, I recently went to this formerly closed city of Kurchatov. This is where all the Soviet military and scientists lived during the testing program. And it’s a very – it’s a very interesting experience because you drive for a very long time in the steppe. It’s very remote. Then you enter the city and you can see that formerly it was such a developed town and at the height of the Soviet testing program, the population of the town was 50,000 people.
When the Soviet Union broke up and when the testing finished, all the military, all the scientists left and the population went down to 5,000. And now, the city is trying to find its new purpose. You know, they work on peaceful application of nuclear energy. But you can still see the leftovers of that humongous program. And just this question of whether it was all worth it, all this talent and resources that were thrown into that program. And when I asked this question of a local doctor from Semipalatinsk, I basically said, do you think the sacrifice was worth it. And she said: there is nothing more valuable than human life. But back then, there was a mass psychosis, an arms race and now we will be dealing with the consequences of nuclear testing for decades.
And I guess I just wanted to conclude on the point that I just hope this psychosis doesn’t have to go on for too long, all the nuclear weapons program. Just yeah, but not to leave you on a grim note, I find it very symbolic that the former nuclear testing site is now contributing to the noble goal of the CTBTO and it hosted several exercises, and in 2008, there was one of the larger onsite exercises.
And again, this is a very good audience to talk to because you just assume that we are all on the same page. But when in force, the CTBT will provide the international community with the tools to detect and deter nuclear testing and it will act as the only appropriate tribute to communities in Semipalatinsk, Nevada, Marshallese Islands and other places throughout the world that endured nuclear testing. Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. WALKER: Thank you, Togzhan, very much. And now, we’ll hear from Jessica Schwartz, and I’m told that this will be somewhat different I think from a lot of what we’re used to in this sort of high-tech, bombs and bullets environment. And Jessica is actually a professor, as I noted, of musicology and will talk a lot about I think the problems of the Marshallese through song and culture. So hopefully we’ll hear some good music.
JESSICA SCHWARTZ: Yes, definitely. So and thank you very much. I’d like to first thank the organizers of this very important conference. Thank you to the Embassy of Kazakhstan, the Arms Control Association and Dr. Paul Walker, with Green Cross International. You know, nuclear testing, as we’ve heard, is kind of, as a weapon of mass destruction, the great leveler, right? And we have to unite in this global cause. But of course, part of the great leveling is the leveling of unique cultures that have their own solutions and their own ways of encountering the damages and the consequences of this nuclear legacy.
So today, while there are many, many resonances with the previous talks, I want to share the Marshallese voices, which, as the Kazakh and other voices around the world, must be heard. So on March 1st, 1954, the United States detonated its most powerful thermonuclear weapon, code-named Castle Bravo, at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Just 90 miles southeast, the population of Rongelap Atoll watched in confusion as the sun seemingly rose in the west. A shockwave and resonant boom prompted screams from frightened children.
Later that day, irradiated coal dust from Bikini Atoll’s vaporized land made its way east and covered Rongelap. Children played in the fallout because they thought that it was snow. Men, women and children became violently ill and ran into the lagoon for respite, yet they could not sense that it was dangerously radioactive. Forty-eight hours later, after much fear and confusion, the United States military came to Rongelap. They ordered the Rongelapese onto a naval ship. The Rongelapese were scared. They were ill. And they were humiliated after being told to remove their irradiated clothing.
Today, Rongelap remains contaminated and the Rongelapese remain in exile, displaced and disenfranchised, living on Majuro, which is the capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Mejato, an island in Kwajalein Atoll, the largest atoll in the Pacific, where the United States continues to have an active military base, and various locations in the United States, such as Costa Mesa, California, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Springdale, Arkansas, where one-tenth of the entire Marshallese population lives and also which is home to the RMI consulate.
On March 1st, 1954, Lijon was staying on Ailingane Atoll, just next to Rongelap. It was her eighth birthday. She experienced firsthand the consequences of the U.S. nuclear weapons testing program, of which she said: having suffered multiple losses when bearing children, having uncontrolled weight fluctuations, having memory loss and tight curling fingers, having nearly lost my voice, I can say that nothing is more important than having my health and my voice to sing.
I met Lijon in the Marshall Islands while I was conducting fieldwork from 2008 through 2010. Lijon would meet with me week after week and share food, conversation and her life stories and song. She would often ask if the U.S. thought that her people were like animals, like guinea pigs to be tested on. Since she traveled the world to spread her message, nonproliferation, give a face and fight for the justice of her people and the global population. She kept a Puerto Rican flag in her room, given to her by women from Viejas.
Two years ago, while I was visiting friends in Northwest Arkansas, I learned that Lijon had passed away. From Facebook posts to international media, the outpouring from the Marshallese and global community attests to the importance of her antinuclear activism, of which music was a central part. Today, I want to honor her voice, her voice to sing, along with the voices of others who inscribed their nuclear experiences in song, songs that sound their great challenges, cultural, social, political, physiological and psychological, of which we’ve heard about, and give us the opportunity to listen, perhaps differently, to an often forgotten component of our nuclear legacy.
So here are some of the figures that we’ve heard and I just want to give this relative to the adult intake solely from Bravo. It was estimated at 2,000 to 300,000 rads, exposing the Rongelapese to about a thousand times as much radiation as most Americans receive in a year and that was just from the Bravo shot. And the Marshall – in the Marshall Islands, there were 67 nuclear weapons tested between 1946 and 1958 by the United States.
So documents declassified during the Clinton administration exposed how Marshallese were used as long-term human subjects by the Atomic Energy Commission, now the Department of Energy, to derive pertinent information on the human effects of exposure to radiation. This boy, Magistrate John Anjain’s son, Lekoj, was in a coconut tree when the fallout from Bravo rained down on Rongelap. He died from leukemia a few years after the picture was taken. Under project 4.1, Marshallese from Rongelap and individuals from other atolls in the Marshall Islands, uninformed of their participation, were numbered and studied at laboratories both in the Marshall Islands and in the United States.
The throat in Marshallese culture is the seat of one’s emotions, akin to the Western metaphorical version of the heart. And singing is a central part of Marshallese culture, and it is crucial as an activity in intergenerational transmission of a rich oral tradition. Women, being more susceptible to thyroid cancer and disease than men, had operations on and to remove their thyroids, which affected their voices. Many of these women refrained from singing for fear of hearing their own altered, lowered voices and hearing themselves as ribaam, or bombed people.
As Norio (ph) explained, oh, this is a nuclear-centered language that they came up with as they heard doctors speaking about these terms and these are some of the words that you’ll hear incorporated into the songs. Going back to the comments about the voice, as Norio (ph) explained: we used to love singing. Personally, I don’t sing in public anymore because people stare at me. And Ellen says: at the time they cut my throat, well, I really can’t sing anymore but I want to sing again. My voice won’t go high anymore. Is that not from the contamination?
These are just two of many personal stories that expose the voice as a barometer of communal health or social balance and gender complementarity, which is central to social organization. Marshallese social organization was also disrupted by the forcible displacement from their customary lands and thus subsistence way of life. We must also acknowledge the severe impact of radiation on the reproductive capacity of women. After the 1954 test, many Rongelapese women had multiple miscarriages, gave birth to severely deformed babies, often known as jellyfish babies that would die shortly after their birth, and had to undergo hysterectomies.
Never told that these birth abnormalities were a result of the radiation exposure, the women felt that they were being punished. They felt ashamed, humiliated and feared additional stigmatization, often silencing themselves from sharing these problems. So Nuclear Victims and Survivor Remembrance Day gives voice to some of these problems that were once silenced and concealed. And Marshallese honor their nuclear victims and survivors every year on March 1st, the anniversary of the Bravo shot. And Rongelapese women often perform at these ceremonies where they share their emotions by sharing their damaged throats from the thyroid surgeries.
I’ll share two songs. The first song is called “177”. On March 1st, 2004, the 50th anniversary of the Bravo explosion, 20 Rongelapese, mostly elderly women, donned maroon or black shirts that read in bold white, “Project 4.1,” and they performed the song “177,” irradiated sick and homeless. “177” refers to a section of the compact of free association in which the United States categorizes people from Enewetak, Bikini, Rongelap and Utrik as eligible for nuclear compensation, even though the entire population of the Marshall Islands, in reality the entire world, was exposed to radiation from these tests and deals with their legacy.
The verses describe the suffering of being irradiated and sick, abandoned and homeless, unable to live on their customary lands due to contamination. There is also an appeal for help and understanding in the pursuit of a peaceful life. The words at the end of the refrain, “nomba en 177,” underscore the dehumanization of being identified as part of a number. So I’m going to play a video now and this is the remainder of the chorus, as sung by Rongelapese woman, at Nuclear Remembrance Day in Arkansas, 10 years later, on the 60th anniversary of Bravo. This should be playing and I’m not quite sure why it’s not.
MR. WALKER: There’s no audio? I think the audio’s coming.
MS. SCHWARTZ: Or video actually. (Off mic exchange.) I was wondering OK, but it says it’s not available so I guess we’re not going to get to hear the music which is the central part of –
MR. WALKER: Yeah.
MS. SCHWARTZ: Well anyways, these women sang this song and what I would like to do as I’m speaking about the concluding song is I’m actually going to get my computer and, you know, I’d like to at least play a song and discuss it. So April, if you can please bring this up, because I would like to conclude with a song composed by Lijon, the woman I started with. And the song is “Kajjitok in aō ñan kwe kiō,” (“These are my questions for you now”). Kiō means still and now.
And this was written in 2008 to archive the many health complications of and urgent health questions posed by Lijon and her community. The Rongelapese first performed the song for their intended audience, which was the Department of Energy, when the Department of Energy visited the Republic of the Marshall Islands. For Lijon, this song shares a responsibility to give voice to those who passed away and did not have the opportunity to share their suffering or receive answers from the United States.
So I would like to – I was going to play a recording of Lijon in the first verse where she details her health questions as open-ended – her health concerns as open-ended questions. But I feel and I imagine that you cannot see so it doesn’t even matter. I guess we can go to – I’ll go to the next slide if I’m able. Those are the words that led up to that. OK, so what I will be playing is a video. All right, I think it’s important to see. All right, is this even possible? (Off mic exchange.)
Well, it’s the video of them singing. So I’m going to describe this. Basically the women are performing and this is – all right – about three minutes into the performance. The volume of the song drops quickly. The vocal timbres become thin and some voices stop sounding altogether. The audience begins to applaud but Betty, who’s standing in front, she’s the conductor, she stops, turns to the audience, shakes her head and points to her throat – ah, thyroid, she says, and she turns back to the women, so. (Video playback.)
So some of you might have seen her pointing and saying, ah, thyroid, as the volume drops and this is not the metaphorical voice of suffering or even strictly the political silencing of the voice. It is the actual voicelessness (sic) of suffering where the throat, the seat of the emotions, is literally arrested in its social and political process. As they summon their voices to sing, once again, the Rongelapese women communicate but the time for redress, to acknowledge the devastating consequences of nuclear testing across the globe and on their culture and their voices and to visit our nuclear legacy, as heard through their singing voices, is now and still kiō. Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. WALKER: Thank you very much, Jessica. And I apologize that we had a few, you know, audio issues there. But I think everyone gets the message regardless. So with three very interesting, I think, and very diverse presentations here, we have about 25 minutes before coffee break and I’m sure, given the size of the audience, there are many, many questions in the audience. So I’d like to just open it. I will recognize people as I can pick you up. So don’t jump up and ask a question unless I recognize you, all right? And I see a hand up here on the left. So why don’t we start right here?
Sure, and there are mikes on both sides. So please wait for the microphone so people can hear you. We’re being – we’re being broadcast live, webcast live and we will be – we’re taped. We’re also being transcribed. So this will be available on tape, on the Web later on and the full transcription of the day’s proceedings will also be available from the Arms Control Association, the Embassy of Kazakhstan and Green Cross International. So please, go ahead.
Q: My name in Winsome Packer, and my question is directed to Mr. Weber. I wonder if you might – would you rate on the scale of 1 to 10 the strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Kazakhstan on nuclear nonproliferation. Thank you.
MR. WEBER: Well, that’s a good – that’s a good question. Did everyone hear that, understand it? Yeah? The question was how would I rate on a scale of one to 10 the strategic partnership on nonproliferation between the United States and Kazakhstan. And from the United States government perspective, it’s definitely a 10. But what’s more important than our partnership is Kazakhstan’s leadership in this area, the moral authority that their experiences bring to this field and the actions and achievements since independence to show that it’s not just words.
It’s results: the work that was done to remove weapons-grade uranium, to get rid of the nuclear arsenal that was left on its territory at independence, to safely destroy the world’s largest anthrax factory, anthrax weapons factory in Stepnogorsk, Kazakhstan, to close the Vozrozhdeniya Island test site.
There are just so many examples of Kazakhstan’s leadership in nonproliferation. And I think it’s very compelling when President Nazarbayev cites his own country’s experience and example to other countries in the region. For example, Iran, that the world community is concerned that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. And he can cite the example of Kazakhstan and their decision to forego weapons of mass destruction. That has truly made Kazakhstan more secure and prosperous. So it’s a good example backed by actions, by leadership and by moral authority.
MR. WALKER: Thank you, Andy. Other hands? Other questions at all? Yeah, Tom? And everyone please introduce yourself briefly when you stand up and ask a question. Wait – here’s the microphone, Tom.
Q: Tom Cochran, NRDC. Andy, does the U.S. and Russia have the same definition of what constitutes a nuclear test? And separately, has there been any effort to jointly monitor one another’s sites where experiments are conducted, namely the Nevada site.
MR. WEBER: That’s a good question. I think in general we share the same definition. There may be some slight ambiguities at the margins that we should work on together. We had the joint verification experiment in 1989 and that was something that was very successful in getting our testers to work together, to know each other. We do a lot of work together in support of the CTBT preparations, the international monitoring system. We’ve had visits. The Department of Energy hosted a visit together with the Department of State just either earlier this year or last year to the Nevada test site. Earlier than that, there were exchanges between our nuclear weapons laboratories.
So there’s definitely more we can do in that area. But from my experience, the technical people, politics aside, want to do more and see the value in working together. That was the magic of the Degelen project, was that combination of – and the confidence that was built among the scientific communities, the people who had real experience. And this is a pretty small group in the world, real experience testing nuclear weapons. They knew the destructive capacity and they saw the importance and recognized the importance and acted together to make sure that the residual plutonium that was left behind would never fall into the wrong hands.
MR. WALKER: OK, I saw a few more hands here. Did I miss – did I miss somebody? I’ll take the prerogative of the chair, even better. I want to – so Jessica, I wanted to pose a question to you about the Marshallese. I mean, how did you first get involved with the Marshallese? It seems such – you know, from the United States perspective, anyway, the South Pacific islands are very remote. I don’t think many people know about the horrors that have happened because of atmospheric nuclear testing there, both French as well as American. And what brought you to study them and their song and culture?
MS. SCHWARTZ: It was while researching the American atomic age actually for my dissertation project when I was working on my dissertation a while back. I was planning on looking at music from the 1950s and looking at the generation gap. And having been involved in the punk scene, I was privy to a lot of the discourses around nuclear disarmament and the activistic (sic) productions around that. And so, I became very intrigued when I found the song “Sh-Boom” by The Chords that apparently was written after The Chords had witnessed this amazing spectacle from Bikini Atoll.
And I thought, well, if Americans are writing about something that’s happening over in the Marshall Islands, well, first off, what are the Marshall Islands? What’s Bikini Atoll? Who are these people, and are they writing songs as well, being a music scholar. And so, I called – I found Jack Niedenthal, the liaison for the Bikinians and I asked if there were more songs than the Bikinian anthem, which was on the website, a song of mourning, about the nuclear testing. And he said, yes, people sing about these issues all the time. They’re still present. They’re still dealing with them and nobody has really researched this. So you should come out. So I went out there for two years.
MR. WALKER: Spent two years in the Marshall Islands?
MS. SCHWARTZ: Spent two years in the Marshall Islands.
MR. WALKER: Wow.
MS. SCHWARTZ: And not enough.
MR. WALKER: Were you in any of these pictures we saw on the –
MS. SCHWARTZ: Was I?
MR. WALKER: Were you in any of these pictures that we saw?
MS. SCHWARTZ: I was behind the scenes.
MR. WALKER: You were? Oh, OK.
MS. SCHWARTZ: Yes.
MR. WALKER: All right. Very good. And Togzhan, I want to ask about Semipalatinsk. I mean, I was very fortunate to go to Semipalatinsk the last couple of years, at the invitation of President Nazarbayev. I think you were there too, Andy, and a few others of us. And I was really struck. I mean, I’d been to the Nevada test site and I’d been to Las Vegas and the Atomic Testing Museum. In fact, this necktie is from the Atomic Testing Museum, several people have commented on today. But going to Semey and Semey is the town, you know, in the Semipalatinsk test range, I was really struck by, you know, going through the hospitals and the medical school there and the like, the enormous number of deformities and, you know, really serious, long-term health issues.
But one of the things that interested me is whether that in fact there was good data, good statistics. It’s one thing to see all this and some of what you saw in the video. But it’s another thing to try to, you know, scientifically relate the radiation and the fallout reported with in fact health data. And one of the things that the director of the medical clinic in Semey told me, I posed this same question to him because he pulled out these enormously large handwritten books of personal health data of men and women and children that were done by the Soviets over the years.
But he said to me at the time that most of this data is missing. And when Semipalatinsk was turned over from the Soviet Union over to Kazakhstan in 1991 – is that correct – most of that data was destroyed by the Soviets and their whole library of longitudinal health data. He described it as a bonfire in front of the clinic at the time before they officially turned the clinic over to the Kazakhs. And I’m wondering is there good health data do you think or is this still a challenge because of the reported destruction of health data in Semipalatinsk.
MS. KASSENOVA: It’s definitely true that when the military were moving out, they were not leaving any useful data behind. And it’s not only on nuclear but also on bio. I know that doctors struggled quite a bit, those working on anti-plague mission and so on. I think it’s still difficult, for example, for me as a scholar, especially as a non-scientist scholar. You know, it’s difficult to judge and there is no one source that you can just take and everything will be laid down very neatly and clearly.
But I think over the last few years, there was a very good effort on behalf of the local doctors and very often working with Japanese scientists. Japan both helps with funding but also with expertise. And I now see very good publications coming out from the medical institutions around the area. And it’s good that it’s coming out. And also, in the past, something that I didn’t mention, even if they would have left behind all the –
MR. WALKER: Handwritten data.
MS. KASSENOVA: All the data, very often this data would be half lies because when I spoke to local doctors just, you know, two weeks ago, and some of them were very young internists at the time, they were not allowed to write down – for example, lung cancer. They would switch the word. They would be obligated to use the word illness instead of cancer. So they would – you know, even if they – whatever cold have been left would be useful but I think there are so many black holes and some of that will never be filled.
MR. WALKER: Yeah.
MS. KASSENOVA: But there is definitely now an effort to reconstruct.
MR. WALKER: Great. Excellent. Other questions at all or concerns? Yes, please, right here.
Q: Actually it’s a question. My name is Bill Aiken. I’m with the SGI Buddhist Association. A question for Ms. Schwartz and then for Ms. Kassenova. I’m wondering when these songs started appearing, “Sh-Boom” was out I think sometime in the ’50s. I’m wondering when – number one, when the songs started appearing within Marshallese culture and have – did you find songs that were rooted in the ’50s that persisted? It seems like – I don’t know when the songs that you were looking at were dated from.
And a question I have for Ms. Kassenova is that – or did you see any similar kind of folk either stories that come from people? How did people talk about this in other ways aside from the official ways that this is being transmitted or being shared? So, thank you.
MR. WALKER: Thank you.
MS. SCHWARTZ: Well, that’s a very important question because obviously I want to relate these songs to concrete movements, right, and events. And “Sh-Boom” was written, I mean, became a hit in 1954. Now, the songs you heard – well, both songs you would have heard – but the songs that I spoke about and the one song that you did hear were actually composed in the 2000s, around – the first one around the I believe signing of the second Compact of Free Association, or Compact 2. And the one that was written in 2008 for the Department of Energy was written in 2008 because of the Department of Energy’s visit.
In terms of songs from the ’50s, there’s one song that circulates talking about the taboo nature of the doctors’ visits that would put, you know, men and women together and what the doctors would do. But that is actually not circulated as much because women don’t want to sing that one in front of the men because it speaks of body parts and vice-versa. It apparently was written by the men. Many, many of the songs were written around also 1985, when the Rongelapese were moved from – were relocated from Rongelap after having been there since 1957 and then having increasing illnesses, and after Japanese scientists came, discovered the high contamination based on what the Rongelapese were saying of all these illnesses, the United States would not help with the relocation.
Greenpeace offered the Rainbow Warrior, which then helped the Rongelapese relocate and many songs came up during this time. And so, this is around the time that the Compact of Free Association is being voted on, which is then signed off in 1986. And so, you have a lot of political songs coming to the fore then.
MS. KASSENOVA: Thank you for your question. Kazakhs are quite musical by nature. They love singing and they also are very into narratives and telling stories. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a member of any punk scene. So maybe I’m less exposed to the musical heritage. I don’t think it was as maybe organized as in examples that Jessica gave us.
But, for example, there is an anthem that – there is an anthem of the antinuclear Nevada Semipalatinsk movement that was written 25 years ago. It’s a very beautiful melody and the lyrics are in Kazakh. And you know, it’s hard for me to judge because I’m Kazakh and, you know, I have a very strong emotional response to the song. But there is definitely an anthem. I think some of the images are coming out in paintings but maybe the scene is not as developed as in Marshallese Islands. But in terms of how people tell their stories and, you know, whether they’re ready to tell them or not, people are definitely open and I think very often it’s very important for them not to be forgotten or for their story not to be forgotten.
But at the same time, I’ve noticed that with the people from the region, they don’t want to be defined just by that. so they don’t want this history to be erased but they also I think are ready to kind of move forward and not have this tragic past to be their only thing that describes them, that defines them.
MR. WALKER: Yeah, great. OK, Daryl, up in the back, and there’s another – OK, next. First, Daryl here.
Q: Daryl Kimball, with the Arms Control Association. Thank you each for your presentations, great presentations. And I think this may be the first time in Washington we’ve had an ethnomusicologist and a Department of Defense official on the same panel.
MR. WALKER: Right.
Q: And it’s very interesting. I have a question for Andy Weber and perhaps also for Togzhan, going to the question of the challenges that the people in the Marshall Islands and Kazakhstan and other former test sites face into the future. There’s been a tremendous amount of international cooperation on nuclear security, on trying to bring the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty into force. The Kazakh government has provided a great deal of leadership in bringing International Day against Nuclear Tests into being, to helping focus attention on this aspect of the problem.
But it seems to me that there is a deficit when it comes to the governments who are trying to handle the aftermath of the nuclear testing experience cooperating with one another and sharing some of this information, even across the nongovernmental sector. There’s not as much communication as possible.
So my question for you, Andy, is given your wide-ranging experience with cooperative threat reduction program and dealing with a wide range of chem, bio, nuclear threats, has there been any discussion, might there be, regarding the governments that are dealing with the aftereffects of the test site environmental and health legacies to share on a scientific level some of the information, some of the best practices and lessons learned going forward in the future because it’s clear from this set of presentations that the people around the test sites are still suffering, still need a great deal of support and understanding.
MR. WEBER: That’s a good question, Daryl. Through the International Science and Technology Center that was established to provide peaceful pursuits for the weapons scientists after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were many international projects to look at the health effects of especially the nuclear weapons testing at the Semipalatinsk test site. There is a community connected through the scientific field as well as through NGOs between the different affected communities around the world that experience nuclear weapons testing, including our own residents of Nevada who were exposed to some of the radiation effects.
And we do – we do share data. I think Togzhan pointed out that one of the real challenges for Kazakhstan after independence was the return of all of the classified data to Moscow. And this applies to the work that was done on the test site. This applies to the bioweapons testing on Vozrozhdeniya Island, some of the chemical weapons testing that was conducted on the Ustyurt Plateau in Uzbekistan. Much of that remains classified and Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have made many, many requests to the Russian Federation over the years and received very, very little data in response.
MR. WALKER: OK, and I saw another – another hand up here. Yes, right here?
Q: Thank you. Finn Longinotto. I’m with Global Green Cross. I work with Paul Walker. I’m just wondering if – two things – the difference between the effect radiation on surface and underground testing and, secondly, even without data, but with our science today we’re able to say what North Korea has been doing. That seems to be more recent at least in the underground area. Are we able to extrapolate from what has happened in Kazakhstan to what the likely effects are on the people in North Korea now that we have an idea of the size of their testing?
MR. WALKER: That’s more to you.
MR. WEBER: I’ll let you take that.
MR. WALKER: More to me? Anyone want to – Finn, I think – I mean, to me the big difference between what we’ve talked about today and the video and the pictures you’ve seen is Semipalatinsk, the South Pacific and obviously other areas like Lop Nur, in China, and North Africa, have all experienced atmospheric testing. And the atmospheric testing, of course, in the late ’40s and right up through the ’50s were some enormous blasts.
I think you all – Togzhan talked about that, you know, I don’t know, a hundred times the size of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which, you know, raised all sorts of very serious fallout downwind that circled the Earth, probably still does to some extent, whereas in North Korea, you know, the three tests they’ve done have all been very small. They’ve all been a few kilotons, you know, or sub-kiloton, even what we call a fissile test. And the three of them have been underground as well. There have been radionuclides that have leaked out and that’s I think maybe Dr. Zerbo later on will talk about that a bit.
But fortunately, because of the monitoring system of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, what we call the IMS, the international monitoring system, those radionuclides have actually been picked up in the atmosphere as well as the seismic signals too. So I would expect in North Korea, from the three recent tests – 2006, ’09 and ’13 – that the fallout was very, very minor and negligible, more or less, but remember still whereas when we talk about Semipalatinsk and the Nevada Test Site, there was enormous fallout. I mean, I remember seeing the pictures of the soldiers, what we now call atomic veterans, sitting there, you know, watching the blast going up thousands of feet in the air and all the fallout just drifting downwind and probably for hundreds and thousands of miles.
So there’s a big difference I think between the radiation and the long-term health impact from those atmospheric tests and the much smaller, almost fissile test, that the North Koreans have undertaken in recent years. But I must say, an underground test doesn’t guarantee there won’t be fallout. I mean, if you go back and look at the underground tests, which I’ve looked at over the years, there are some very famous ones which have actually leaked fallout. You know, they’ve punched through the surface of the Earth and do have in fact to some extent a mushroom cloud and some fallout as well.
So I think that’s kind of the point you were getting at. The one point – one of the points I take from this discussion, that many of you I think are well aware of, is that the long-term impacts are to some extent unknown still. And I think there’s a lot of denial amongst scientists and health officials that in fact – or politicians – that in act these victims have been badly hurt or killed over the years by the nuclear testing that goes on. But I think, you know, if you think back 20 or 30 years before – long before the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty came, was opened for signature, people were really in denial about all of this. Today, we see in Semipalatinsk and Nevada Test Site and Utah and Nevada downwinders, atomic veterans, even though many of them have died now because of the long period of time, we actually see that there have been very, very serious health impacts.
And the best studies I’ve seen have been, of course, of the hibakusha and the Japanese from 1945 when we – the only times we’ve used nuclear weapons directly on civilian, human populations. And I think the long-term studies by the Japanese in particular and the international community have been quite good on that, even though those weren’t in fact the worst – the worst fallout because of the height of the blast over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The fallout was actually much less there than it was in a whole range of testing – particularly the American, British, Soviet and French and Chinese with atmospheric tests. Other questions? Yeah, right here?
Q: David Culp with Quakers. I have a question for Andy. After watching all of this, I just wonder why we are still maintaining the Nevada Test Site. Yes, I understand that parts of the test site have been repurposed for other things. But we are still spending a lot of money maintaining the test site for the possibility of resuming testing. And yet, you made some very strong statements, which I appreciate, that the U.S. government has no intention of ever testing again. So why do we maintain the test site? Why don’t we close it like Kazakhstan did?
MR. WEBER: Well, there’s a lot that goes on at the Nevada nuclear – or national security site and other areas related – unrelated to nuclear weapons that’s important to our national security. So in terms of the actual capability to test, I would expect that if we can get ratification and entry into force, that those facilities would be closed. But there is a desire to keep at least a limited readiness until the treaty enters into force.
And so, let’s hope we can – we can get it ratified and educating publics and our representatives about the progress that has been made since it was defeated in the Senate in 1999 in terms of the monitoring capability and the stockpile stewardship. But the bottom line, and I agree with you, there’s no reason currently to even consider a resumption of nuclear testing.
MR. WALKER: And with that as a really optimistic, I think, final note, I know there are some other hands in the audience but we’re only two minutes over time. So that’s pretty good. And we’ll break now for coffee break. Be back here by 3:30 for the next panel and thank you all for being so attentive and to our speakers too. (Applause.)
DARYL KIMBALL: All right. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back from our halftime break in our conference on Nuclear Arms Testing: History, Progress and Challenges. My name is Daryl Kimball. I’m the executive director of the independent Arms Control Association, based here in Washington.
And we’re extremely pleased and honored to be working with our partners on this event to mark International Day against Nuclear Tests: the government and Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan; my friend and our Arms Control Association board member Paul Walker, with Green Cross International; our friends with the Atom Project, as well as the Embassy of Canada. And without their strong support and the work of a number of behind-the-scenes staff persons at the embassy and in my organization and Paul’s organization, this event would not have been possible.
And just before we begin our second panel with Undersecretaries Klotz and Gottemoeller on the security value of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and issues relating to the United States’ efforts to maintain our moratorium, it’s my privilege and honor to introduce Mr. Denis Stevens, the deputy head of mission at the Canadian Embassy here in Washington, D.C., who’s going to briefly outline some of Canada’s perspectives on this very important issue.
If you could come up here, please, I would appreciate it, and I would just add that though I’m an American citizen, I’m very proud to have been born in Kingston, Ontario, and have lived there for six wonderful months of my early life. (Laughter.) And so it’s – it was especially good to see that our friends from Canada were interested in helping make this event possible.
Mr. Stevens. (Applause.)
DENIS STEVENS: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And I have to point out that the architect for this building is also Canadian. So Canada’s quietly all around you. (Laughter.)
Distinguished guests, it’s a real pleasure to join you here today as part of this conference commemorating the August 29th International Day against Nuclear Testing. And I want to say thank you to Kazakhstan for organizing this event and for leading the effort in 2009 to adopt the General Assembly resolution to establish this day.
Canada is pleased that its Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with Kazakhstan came into force last month. This is an agreement that’ll allow us to conduct trade on nuclear-related items for peaceful purposes in a manner consistent with our shared nuclear nonproliferation obligations.
I’d also like to thank the co-sponsors of today’s event, the Arms Control Association, Green Cross International and the Atom Project.
I want to highlight in my very brief remarks to you the fact that Canada remains a strong proponent of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, most importantly, the completion of its verification system and its entry into force. The CTBTO’s network of stations has already paid dividends in terms of successfully detecting nuclear tests conducted by North Korea, and Canada continues to fully support further development of its verification activities.
Indeed Canada was pleased to make a voluntary contribution in September last year of equipment and training to strengthen the treaty’s on-site inspection capabilities.
With regard to promoting the treaty’s entry into force, I also want to take this opportunity to encourage all states to attend the ministerial meeting that Canada is co-hosting on September 26th and to sign the Joint Ministerial Statement to be issued at that meeting. We’re striving to increase the number of endorsements of the statement beyond the record 101 that were garnered two years ago.
Canadians in general embrace realism and pragmatism. We tend to focus on the practical work that’s needed to achieve near-term objectives that make progress towards an ultimate goal. This ethos applies to our support for the progressive step-by-step process to halt the spread of nuclear weapons, cap existing stockpiles and irreversibly and verifiably eliminate them.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, CTBT and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty are key components of this process. Our pragmatic approach also underlines our unwavering support for the full and universal implementation of U.N. Security Resolution 1540, which marked its 10 anniversary earlier this year.
The U.N. remains best equipped to lead the effort to strengthen nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament through its universal membership facilities and expertise within the secretariat, as well as within organizations such as the IAEA and CTBTO. We must roll up our sleeves and use the tools provided by the U.N. to undertake the difficult work needed to make that vision a reality.
Thank you all for coming today and for letting me interrupt these interesting proceedings for just a few minutes.
All the best. Thank you. (Applause)
MR, KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Mr. Stevens, and to your – you and your colleagues in Ottawa, who really have been long-standing supporters of the test ban and practical nonproliferation and disarmament efforts – (end of audio).
DARYL KIMBALL: And so we are – we’ve come to part two of our program, our second panel on verification and entry into force of the CTBT, though I’m sure we’re going to be talking about much more than that. And for this discussion, we’re very, very happy to have with us here today Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller and Lieutenant General Frank Klotz, who is the undersecretary for nuclear security and the National Nuclear Security Administration here.
And as you can see from the short biographies in the conference program, both of these individuals have a tremendous amount of experience, depth of knowledge and commitment to reducing the nuclear threats facing the United States and the world. And I would just note that Rose Gottemoeller earlier this year made the very long trip to the Marshall Islands to mark the anniversary of the Bravo Test – a very long trip, very important symbolically, I think, that she made that visit.
So with the two of them I think we have a critical mass of expertise and insight regarding the Obama administration’s perspectives on our ability to maintain the U.S. nuclear test moratorium into the future, our ability to monitor and verify and deter violations of the moratorium in the years ahead and the path forward to the formal entry into force of the CTBT, which of course requires ratification by eight more states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty.
And I would just highlight, before I turn over the podium to General Klotz, one of the things that Secretary of Energy Moniz said earlier this afternoon, which is that it has been about 15 years since the Senate last formally considered the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. October 13, 1999 was the date of the vote. And since then, as he suggested, much has changed. The case for the treaty is much stronger today.
Many of the current concerns expressed by senators who voted no, in my view, have been addressed, but we’ve not yet had a chance for the kind of conversation that’s necessary to bring the treaty forward again for a debate and a vote. And that’s, as I’m sure we’ll hear in a few minutes, a very serious enterprise that takes a lot of preparation and work.
But as Ambassador Umarov, Paul Walker and I wrote in an op-ed published over the weekend, we hope that this event today will help open the way for that conversation, help open the way for our friends in the Senate to take a fresh look at the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and how it helps U.S. and international security.
So both of you, thank you for being here. Frank, could I invite you up to the podium, where I think it’s a lot easier for folks to focus their attention on your remarks? (Applause.)
FRANK KLOTZ: Well, thank you very much. Absolutely delighted to be here. I see a lot of former colleagues and friends – not former friends – in the audience, so it’s great to be here. And I’d like to join in my boss’s expression of appreciation to the government and Embassy of Kazakhstan and all the other partners for putting on this very, very important and timely conference.
And I’m delighted to join colleagues from the State Department, Rose Gottemoeller, and from the Department of Defense. Andy Weber was here earlier. I think our appearance at the same conference on the same afternoon clearly illustrates that the development of American nuclear weapon and arms control policy is truly a multiagency responsibility. Each of our respective organizations brings unique experience, expertise and perspectives to the task of maintaining our deterrent and supporting a range of nuclear nonproliferation and arms control activities, including verification.
For its part, the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration, which I represent, we, through our laboratories, have a core competency in applying science, technology and engineering to solve a diverse array of national security challenges. And one of these challenges, and one that has immense importance to our topic today, is the ability to guarantee the safety, security and effectiveness of America’s remaining nuclear stockpile, all without nuclear explosive testing.
A second challenge is to continue to refine the tools used by the U.S. government, as well as the international community, to detect clandestine nuclear explosive testing, which is an essential element of any test moratorium or any test ban regime, including that envisioned under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
So for my part this afternoon, let me briefly summarize the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s contributions to each of these efforts. I realize that I’m going to be covering much the same ground that Secretary Moniz did earlier this afternoon, but I must tell you, at my advanced age repetition is an essential pedagogical method, and I hope it will be of some use to you as well. (Laughter.)
Let’s start with stockpile stewardship. As many of you know, since I served with you during the Cold War, the United States continuously developed new nuclear weapon design, each of which incorporated the latest safety, security and reliability features. And the final step, as Secretary Moniz said this morning – or earlier this afternoon – the final step in ensuring these new designs would actually work was to conduct nuclear explosive tests.
And as you all know, between 1945 and 1992, the United States conducted 1,054 nuclear explosive tests, the majority of which tested design concepts, physics and engineering detail such as safety and radiation effects. They also tested the competence of the designers, the engineers, manufacturing plants and, indeed, the entire nuclear infrastructure.
Well, in 1992, as you all know, the United States government voluntarily imposed a moratorium on nuclear explosive testing, a moratorium that has been observed ever since by four presidential administrations – four presidential administrations, both Democrat and Republican.
At the same time, no nuclear weapons have been developed since the end of the Cold War. As the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review stated, the United States will not develop new nuclear weapons. Life extension programs will use only nuclear components based on previously tested designs and will not support new military missions or provide for new military capabilities.
Now, in practical terms, this means that most nuclear weapons in the current U.S. nuclear stockpile were originally produced, on average, anywhere from 25 to 30 years ago. The challenge then is how to maintain confidence in the safety, security and effectiveness of nuclear weapons in the stockpile without producing new nuclear weapons and without nuclear explosive testing.
The solution has been to field a suite of innovative, experimental platforms, diagnostic equipment, and supercomputers to model and to better understand the effects of aging, as well as the effects of replacing individual components, as we extend the service life of the weapons that remain in the nuclear stockpile.
This is an enormously complex scientific and engineering challenge. And when the science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program was first proposed a few years after the 1992 test moratorium went into effect, there were many skeptics – many skeptics in policy circles here in Washington, D.C., many skeptics indeed in the scientific and technical community who thought it might not be possible or we might not have the will to expend the types of resources necessary to bring it into effect. But it was, and remains, successful, thanks to the vision and determination of its proponents and to a significant investment in the necessary tools, facilities and human capital.
To perform this mission, the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration laboratories have developed a culture that allows for the rapid integration of multiple disciplines to solve highly complex technical problems, oftentimes with no previous known solution. Through this framework, our laboratories have developed new techniques for understanding the dynamic behavior of materials with experimental and computational capabilities that have provided a wealth of data. This innovation has allowed us to resolve long-standing technical issues that provide greater confidence in the existing stockpile.
On the simulation side, we have supercomputing capabilities, as the secretary noted earlier this afternoon, at most of our DOE laboratories that not only ensure U.S. competitiveness in high-performance computing, but which also support a host of other national security missions and validate the experimental data on weapons performance in lieu of testing.
Thanks to this effort, today we have a greater understanding of how nuclear weapons actually work than we did when we were carrying out nuclear explosive testing. This is a remarkable achievement in innovation for our national security, and it is foundational to an effective no-test regime.
Now, another critical part of an effective test ban is a robust monitoring and verification network that will deter regimes from conducting nuclear explosive tests and detect those who do. The Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration develop, demonstrate and deliver advanced technologies that help monitoring systems detect nuclear explosions. These technologies distinguish nuclear blasts from non-nuclear events by identifying and analyzing signatures such as seismic waves and sounds.
One example of how our work helps to fine-tune many of these instruments is through an ongoing series of underground, conventional, high-explosive seismic experiments at the Nevada National Security Site, formerly known as the Nevada Test Site. The experiments’ findings are advancing the United States’ ability to detect and to discriminate low-yield nuclear explosions amid the clutter of conventional explosions and small-earthquake signals. Data from the first test shots are publicly available and future data sets will also be made available as they are completed and as they are validated.
The Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration also support the development of a model of the Earth’s crust which enhances the ability to locate the epicenter of seismic events. This model integrates regional and teleseismic data to produce seismic information with greatly improved location accuracy. Regional partners use it to achieve real-time computations with commonly available computers that exist at any seismic analytic center. With this research, our department has successfully enhanced the accuracy of finding the epicenter of a seismic event and has stimulated increased cooperation in data exchange.
Related to the mission of improved understanding of seismic events, DOE and NNSA are also supporting research and development to advance the United States’ ability to monitor other key dynamic signatures, such as subsurface gas emissions and topographical changes. These changes in capability will provide significantly useful information during an on-site inspection and for improving the effectiveness of the international monitoring system. We have demonstrated this capability at the Nevada National Security Site and during numerous field tests with our international partner. Two of these systems will be deployed this fall during the CBTO Integrated Field Exercise 2014, which simulates an on-site inspection involving an international team of inspectors.
These examples demonstrate the research and development, technical leadership and essential expertise resident at the Department of Energy and at the NNSA labs that will continue to be an essential part of the United States’ monitoring, verifications and detection capabilities.
So let me conclude my brief opening and then turn it over to Rose Gottemoeller by saying that the Department of Energy and NNSA stockpile stewardship and nonproliferation missions lay the foundation for a world without nuclear explosive tests, a world under the entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, while maintaining – while maintaining our deterrent in a safe and secure and effective manner. And our science and research and development work is an essential pillar in that endeavor.
So many thanks for letting me speak to you today, and I’m happy to turn the floor over and look forward to any questions you may have after Rose’s presentation. (Applause.)
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER: Good afternoon, everyone. It’s a real pleasure to be here again to see so many friends and colleagues in the audience and so many friends and colleagues from around the world. So it’s a special pleasure to see Lassina Zerbo here today, the head of the CTBTO. We’ll be hearing from him really shortly, but Lassina, always wonderful to see you in Washington.
I had a good chance to talk with Frank before these remarks. We kind of planned the choreography, so I’m going to talk to you about some of the diplomacy and the policy efforts that we are pursuing here in the United States as well. And so I invite you, during the question period, to stick him with all the technical questions and I’ll talk about the more – well, as we say, the more policy-oriented questions.
But it is truly a pleasure to be here today. I want also to thank the Embassy of Kazakhstan. Mr. Akhinzhanov, it’s really good to be here, and please extend my best wishes to the ambassador and hope for his wife’s speedy, speedy recovery.
I also work quite a bit with Daryl Kimball at the Arms Control Association, have for many years. Paul Walker of Global Green. Also work very much with our Canadian colleagues, and I want to say what giants of the multilateral diplomacy arena the Canadians are. I worked very closely with your team, working on the fissile material cutoff treaty at the GGE in Geneva. So it’s really wonderful to have you also involved in sponsoring this important meeting.
You know, Secretary Kerry was actually right here just a year ago to talk about the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, as well as our nuclear security agenda overall. He quoted a line from President Kennedy’s American University speech that talked about a total ban on nuclear explosive testing, “So near and yet so far.” This was at the time the limited test ban treaty was completed in the early 1960s.
We remain in this place somewhat today, 50 years later, so near and yet so far. We know that the goal remains a worthy one, and we know that it is still the right one for American national security. The difference today is that we know we have the tools to make this important goal a reality.
Frank has just covered some stockpile and verification issues, and I’m going to focus first of all on the national security benefits of the treaty, and then move to the process of moving the United States toward entry into force. I will also give you a little readout on how I’ve been using my time over the last year to advance the case for the treaty here in the United States.
First and foremost, it is clear that CTBT is a key part of leading nuclear weapon states toward a world of diminished reliance on nuclear weapons, reduced nuclear competition and eventual nuclear disarmament. As an in-force CTBT will hinder states that do not have nuclear weapons from developing advanced nuclear weapons capability, it will place, as I like to think about it, speed bumps in the way of acquiring advanced nuclear weapons capabilities. States interested in pursuing or advancing a nuclear weapons program would have to either risk deploying weapons without the confidence that they would work properly, or accept the international condemnation and reprisals that would follow a nuclear explosive test.
An in-force treaty would also impede states with more established nuclear weapon capabilities from confirming the performance of advanced nuclear weapon designs that they have not tested successfully in the past. Because of this, an in-force CTBT will also constrain regional arms races. These constraints will be particularly important in Asia, where states are building up and modernizing their nuclear forces.
For our part, ratification will help to enhance our leadership role in nonproliferation and strengthen our hand in pursuing tough actions against suspected proliferators. That is more important than ever in our current global environment.
And by the way, I thought it was very impressive, the documentary film that was shown at the outset. But that message was squarely there that it is only by reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons and fissile material that eventually you get to the point of confidence that nuclear weapons will never fall into the hands of terrorists, and that is a pre-eminent goal for President Obama and this administration.
All told, it is in our interest to close the door on nuclear explosive testing forever. Daryl already mentioned that I was invited to speak in the Marshall Islands on the 60th anniversary of the Castle Bravo nuclear test. It was quite an honor, and while there, I was able to meet with government and community leaders as well as the displaced communities. I told them that it is the United States’ deep understanding of the consequences of nuclear weapons, including the devastating health effects, that has guided and motivated our efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate these most hazardous of weapons.
About a month after visiting the Marshall Islands, I also traveled to Hiroshima. Upon arriving, I visited the Cenotaph and the Peace Museum, and spoke with an atomic survivor. The day was a somber but critically important reminder that all nations should avoid the horrors of nuclear war.
We have made great strides over the past 40 years, achieving an 85 percent reduction in the U.S. nuclear stockpile since 1967 and creating agreements such as the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, START, New START and more. But we still have far to go.
It was President Reagan who, speaking before the Japanese Diet, pronounced clearly and with conviction that there can be only one policy for preserving our precious civilization in this modern age – a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.
These words had great resonance for the students that I spoke with at Hiroshima University last April. My conversation with them focused on the CTBT and how it could contribute to reducing global nuclear threats. Bright, engaged and motivated – it was early on a Saturday morning; I was astonished that they had such good turnout, because no students I know of will get up early on a Saturday morning. But these kids did, so it was really good to see.
The students were eager to know what they could do to help push toward entry into to force. I told them, as I tell all students with whom I meet, that the most important thing that supporters of the treaty can do is to educate their friends, their families and their communities. That is something I will be continuing to do throughout the coming year with trips to various U.S. states to speak with students, church and community groups and expert audiences. In fact, I will be at Stanford on Wednesday this week in California to do just that.
Now I will pivot to the question that is asked by each and every person I meet with when the treaty is discussed – what is the plan for Senate ratification? The answer is simple. First comes education, then comes discussion, and last and very importantly, debate. It is only through that process that you get to a place where a vote can happen.
We are reintroducing this treaty again to the American public after many years. It’s been quite some time since it has been discussed outside the Capital Beltway. We are and will continue to outline the clear and convincing facts about our ability to maintain the nuclear stockpile without explosive testing, and our ability to effectively monitor and verify treaty compliance. Both Secretary Moniz and General Klotz have spoken clearly about these two issues this afternoon and they are strong allies in this effort.
We are and will continue to make it clear that a global ban on nuclear explosive testing will hinder an arms race in Asia and impede advancements in nuclear stockpiles around the world. With an emphasis on a healthy, open dialogue rather than a timeline, we are working with the Senate to re-familiarize the members with this treaty.
A lot of CTBT-related issues have changed since 1999, but the Senate has changed a lot since then too. It is up to us as policymakers and experts before the American people to practice due diligence in consideration of this treaty. That means briefings, hearings at the appropriate time, more briefings, trips to the lab, trips to Vienna and the CTBTO – Lassina, you should expect some visitors – and questions, questions, questions.
Do you know we answered over 1,000 questions for the record before the New START treaty was ratified? And I think we ended to think about New START as our touchstone, going into this process. The senators should have every opportunity to ask questions, and many questions, until they are satisfied.
I want to make one thing very clear. This administration has no intention of rushing into this or demanding premature action before we have had a thorough and rigorous discussion and debate. I know that it is the official sport in Washington, but I would ask people to refrain from counting votes right now. Our first priority is education and our focus should be on the hard work that goes into any Senate consideration of a treaty.
Again, I think the New START process is not only a touchstone, but a good example about how we can move forward. I realize that it’s less fun than trying to count votes or read tea leaves, and I realize that it’s unglamorous and deliberate. But that’s how good policy is made, and that’s how treaties get across the finish line, as difficult as it is. So we owe this kind of process to the American people, and it’s exactly this process that we are embarked on during this year.
Of course, as we’ve said many times, there’s no reason for the remaining Annex 2 states to wait for the United States before completing their own ratification processes. We’ve been pleased to hear some positive statements coming from Annex 2 states in recent months, and we hope that that positive vibe turns into action.
I also wanted to just take a minute to congratulate Congo, which is the most recent state to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty a short time ago. So – very good to hear that news.
Finally, we urge states to provide adequate financial and political support for completion of the CTBT verification regime and its provisional operations between now and entry into force of the treaty. The CTBTO, now under the able guidance of Dr. Zerbo, has and will continue to do a fantastic job of readying the treaty’s verification regime for eventual entry into force.
For those of you who have a chance to visit the CTBT headquarters in Vienna, it is an impressive place, and I urge you to ask if you can go up on the roof and look at the radionuclide detection equipment that is up there. Not only is it an impressive sight, but you also get an impressive view of Vienna from way up there.
In closing, I will reiterate that we have a lot of work to do, but the goal is a worthy one. An in-force Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will be in the national security interests of the United States of America and of every country around the world. So let’s get to work on it together.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you very much, both of you, for your presentations on this subject of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. We have about 12 or so minutes before we need to shift to the next part of the program, and I’m sure this audience has a few good questions that are not the reading-of-tea-leaves questions. So if you could please raise your hand. And Jonah, why don’t you go right there?
And let me also just remind the members of the press who are here that this is also a chance for you to ask a question too. So wave your hand because it’s hard to distinguish between the civilians and the members of the press. Please.
Q: D.T. Trobet (sp). Hi, Rose and Frank. Rose, you just mentioned positive vibes from Annex 2 states. Can you elaborate what you’ve heard, what the statements, be a little bit more explicit?
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: You know, D.T., I’m a really good diplomat, so I don’t like to talk about too many details of positive vibes – or negative vibes, for that matter. So I will just leave it at that.
MR. KIMBALL: I would just, for the benefit of the audience who may not understand the diplomatic maneuverings here, just recommend to you that you look at some of the press coverage of comments of the prime minister’s office of Israel following a recent trip by Dr. Zerbo to Israel to talk about some of the technical issues. Perhaps he’ll talk about this a little bit.
And thanks to Dr. Zerbo’s work, China has begun transmitting the data from its monitoring stations to the IDC in Vienna, something that was long overdue. So those are two of the important signs that we’ve seen just in the last few months, and maybe we’ll get into some more discussion about that later.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: May I just add one thing, which I can say quite openly, and that is when we had our last P-5 conference last April in Beijing, we did have a chance to visit the International Monitoring System data center in Beijing, which had opened up not so long ago, thanks again to Dr. Zerbo’s efforts. And they were extraordinarily proud to show us the premises, show us all the work that was going on there.
And frankly, I thought it was a great innovation that the Chinese had incorporated into the P-5 process. That is, that in the course of this conference we did a field trip – not just sitting in a conference room the whole time and talking to each other and giving each other briefings, but actually going out and seeing what some of the Chinese experts were doing with regard to the CTBT. So I really thought that was a good step forward.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. We’re going to take questions from both sides of the aisle, so to speak here, since this a nonpartisan event.
There is a gentleman in the middle here. Shervin, if you could – Mr. Medalia. You’re going to have to help get to her, Jonathan. OK. Thank you.
Q: Yes, a question for Administrator Klotz. My name is Jonathan Medalia. I’m with Congressional Research Service.
Congress, as you know, has invested tens of billions of dollars in stockpile stewardship over the years. When the CTBT comes up again for the Senate vote on advice and consent to ratification, the senators will need to have confidence that the U.S. can maintain its arsenal without testing.
How specifically will you give senators that confidence? How do you translate the technical into the political? Thanks.
MR. KLOTZ: Thanks, Jonathan, and you could probably answer this question far better than I. I learned from you, not the other way around.
No, we make every effort we can to inform members of Congress, but also the general public, on the importance of the Stockpile Stewardship Program and what it means for this particular country.
For those of you who are having an interest in diving more deeply into this, we annually publish something called the Stockpile Stewardship Management Plan, which we do post on a website. It’s a biannual report, but every year we update it and just put out one a couple of months ago.
So that has a discussion of all the various types of scientific, technical and engineering efforts that are under way as far as the Stockpile Stewardship Program is concerned, the various tools that are associated with that, the various – we call them campaigns – to learn more about the process of aging and how you do component replacement. So I would refer you to that for greater detail.
And then anytime members of Congress or members of the staff would like to visit one of our national laboratories or out to the Nevada National Security Site, we are more than happy to do that. In fact, we have almost weekly visits by key staff members as well as members on both Houses.
MR. KIMBALL: All right.
Q: David Culp with the Quakers, and I have a question for both of you about the Nevada Test Site. After the limited test ban treaty was ratified, the United States for decades maintained a atmospheric test site in the South Pacific, in the Marshall Islands. We sent guys out there every year; get ready, just in case we’re going to do an atmospheric test. We kept those guys down there for decades. Looking back on it, it now looks like it was a pretty foolish waste of money.
Today we are maintaining the Nevada Test Site, 20 years after the end of testing. Earlier today Andy Weber made a pretty declaratory statement; the United States is not going to resume testing. Yes, I understand that parts of the test site are not related to testing; you’ve repurposed much of the test site. But you also maintain the ability to resume testing there at the test site. I’m guessing you’re spending on the order of roughly $200 million for that purpose, related to nuclear testing at Nevada.
At some point, you’re going to end this and people are going to look at this and say, they were pretty foolish to maintain this for decades. When are we going to get to that point? Couldn’t we use that money – better purposes, nonproliferation, arms control, rather than maintain the ability to resume testing at the Nevada Test Site?
So that’s both technical and policy, so both of you get a chance.
MR. KLOTZ: Thanks, David. Let me give the technical. I heard that you had asked Andy this question earlier.
As Secretary Moniz pointed out, the name of the Nevada Test Site has changed to the Nevada National Security Site, which is reflective of the fact that its mission now is very broad and growing even broader.
There are a number of different government agencies which use the facilities that are out there, the sheer volume of land and airspace that’s out there, to do very unique testing that’s related to other national security challenges beyond this. But also, an awful lot of the work that’s associated with the Stockpile Stewardship Program also resides at the Nevada National Security Site. So that area continues, and that operation out there continues to be extraordinarily important to the work that we do.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: The only thing I would add – and for those of you who haven’t been out to the Nevada National Security Site, it’s well worth a visit. They have some public days now and again. It’s well worth a visit to see some of the broad-ranging work that’s going on there for a number of different customers, not only DOE customers, as well.
But the other thing I would say that in this period when we are diving into a real effort to work on ratification of the treaty, I think it’s an important moment to ensure that we have in place a continuity in certain policies that are now well established, as we called them back in the 1990s, the kind of safeguards, including the Stockpile Stewardship Program. It’s enormously matured over the last 15 years, but test site readiness was one of those safeguards. So at the moment, quite obviously from a policy perspective, I take your point, David, in terms of the investment. But I think it’s an important safeguard to have in place as we enter into the debate and discussion on the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
MR. KIMBALL: Let me just add, since I saw Francois Rivasseau earlier today, from the French Embassy, it reminds me that when France signed and ratified the CTBT, they decided to close their former test site. And so perhaps one of the benefits of ratification by the United States is going to be the savings of the hundreds of millions of dollars each year that are being invested in that. But that is probably a debate to come after we have the long-overdue discussion and vote on the CTBT.
So I see a few other hands around the room. There was one up in the upper left. Shervin, if you could go up there, I think that’s Richard. Thank you.
Q: Hi. Thank you, Daryl. Richard Weitz, Hudson Institute.
Given the importance of the agenda that you’ve laid out and the ties that you’re developing with Kazakhstan and the more broader geopolitical environment with Russia, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan and so on, has there been some consideration to actually have President Obama become the first president to go to Central Asia – perhaps if they open the IAEA fuel bank, as a way to solidify his legacy, both regionally and in the nonproliferation dimension?
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: It’s a shame we don’t have somebody here from the White House, but I do know that there’s a great deal of high-level interest in going to Central Asia now. and I simply – I’m not in charge of the president’s schedule, so I can’t say, but I think there are some very good arguments, and you’ve rolled out a couple of them.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. Yes, sir, over here?
Q: Julian Cannan (ph), from the Second Line of Defense website. My question is for Undersecretary Gottemoeller. In the ‘90s, Ukraine consented to remove its – (inaudible) – nuclear weapons from the – (inaudible) – of territorial integrity through the multilateral treaty. Do you think that your global effort in favor of nuclear arms control is now undermined by their recent breaks of this treaty? Thank you.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: I’m sorry, are you – I think I didn’t catch --
MR. KIMBALL: Repeat your question --
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, just the last part. Which treaty are you talking about?
Q: During the – Ukrainian government consented to remove its nuclear weapons through the treaty – (inaudible) – by the United States. And with the Crimean --
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: I understand now. Thank you.
Q: Do you think that this effort undermine your effort for the nuclear disarmament?
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, first of all, let me say that we have been deeply, deeply concerned about the Russian attitude toward the Budapest Memorandum because it was a significant step at the close of the Cold War that I think was very stabilizing in the way it ensured that there was a significant denuclearization in the region and we did not end up with a very unstable situation with nuclear weapons that perhaps would have been subject to lack of control or theft.
There were a lot of concerns in those days, in the early 1990s, about what some of the implications might be of the rapid dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Soviet nuclear arsenal. So it had an enormously stabilizing effect during the period.
So we’ve been very concerned about Russia’s behavior, frankly, across the board with regard to this terrible crisis in Ukraine and the flaunting of international law. And we will continue to be very outspoken about the view that Russia is significantly stepping outside of the realm of international law in many things that it is doing in Ukraine. The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine is really an enormously also difficult situation where that principle has been – has been starkly damaged.
So at the same time, I think we have to bear in mind that nuclear arms control has continued to play a stabilizing role. I will note that during this current serious crisis, Russia has been continuing in a very pragmatic way to implement the New START treaty, which has given us significant insights into the Russian nuclear arsenal at this dangerous and difficult time.
So in terms of mutual predictability and confidence, in this particular realm, nuclear arms control’s been playing a positive and stabilizing role. So I think we shouldn’t shoot ourselves in the foot in considering stepping away from any measures of that kind at this crisis period.
MR. KIMBALL: We’re running out of time here for questions, so I think we’ve got – just got time for one or two more. And I wanted to follow up myself on a question that Jonathan Medalia asked and I wanted to ask you, Rose, too. Just elaborate a little bit more on one of the things you said in your remarks about how the case for the treaty has improved over time – the Stockpile Stewardship Program, the verification story, other factors.
And as you discuss these issues with members and staff on the Hill, if you could just describe a little bit more about what are the pieces of evidence, so to speak, that you’re bringing forward? I mean, since the Obama administration has come in and recommitted the United States to pursuing ratification, there have been some studies that the administration has commissioned from the National Academy of Sciences, the intelligence community, and I think the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
What are some of the basic tools that you’re working with to update senators on the technical and security case, and how would you summarize some of the core findings from those studies?
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, this is a topic for another afternoon’s session. But honestly, I think the core issues re the ones that I – we’ve already spoken to considerably regarding the Stockpile Stewardship Program and also the – and also the verification regime for the treaty.
By the way, it’s not only the international monitoring system and the work of the CTBTO, but our own – our own national capability to verify and monitor the treaty has been enhanced significantly. And that point has not been brought out in our discussions so far this afternoon, but there’s a whole wealth of arguments to be made in that realm as well.
But in addition, I think, frankly, the juxtaposition of what has happened since 1999 in terms of the burgeoning arms race, nuclear arms race – particularly in Asia – against what the CTBT can do in terms of placing – I said speed bumps or road blocks – in the way of that arms race, I think that to my mind, that is one of the most significant national security arguments. And as the senators, I think, come to understand the way that arms race is developing and how CTBT can play role in slowing and in some cases halting certain developments, I think that that will be a very powerful argument to make, and we will certainly be developing that.
But I want to stress in the first instance that we’re not talking about rushing up to Capitol Hill right away. Although we are very open to any discussion and dialogue, we do also want to spend a good amount of time in the coming months working out in the states, working with the American public, working with, as I put it, religious groups – they were so helpful to us in the ratification of the New START treaty – and working with the other expert groups around the country, no-governmental groups and student groups.
I think we need to get that kind of groundswell of support going at the grassroots that will help us again back here in Washington to make the case for the treaty. So that is the kind of strategy that we have in mind, but I think that there are clearly some very powerful arguments that were not available to us in 1999.
MR. KIMBALL: Great. Thank you.
All right. We’ve got time for one more question and one more quick answer. Who would like to take it? There’s – right here in the front, if you could, Shervin. I think she’s – Jonah’s got it. A race to the middle. There we are. Thank you.
Q: Thank you. My name is Sarah Orndorff. And looking at the International Monitoring System as a way to deter and detect nuclear tests, the piece that seems to be missing would be what comes after. If a country that is a signatory to the CTBT decides to do a test and we find out about it, other than international condemnation, which doesn’t seem to be going very far these days, what other methods of recourse do we have?
MR. KIMBALL: Maybe Rose?
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, I think one of the more interesting things that will be happening this November is a on-site inspection exercise in Jordan. In fact, I plan to be there as one of the VIP visitors for part – I’m not technically competent to participate in the IFE itself, but it’s just to give you a feeling for the great interactive potential of this aspect of the verification regime, doing on-site inspections.
So it is – it’s clearly, as a matter of international condemnation and forth, but also working together with states around the world to be able to work toward an on-site inspection and work with the states to do so, I think will be a very important aspect of where we go from here with the treaty and with its implementation.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. Well, thank you, everyone. Thank you, Frank and Rose, for your presentations for further discussion. We are out of time for this session.
And before I ask the deputy head of mission from the Embassy of Kazakhstan to come up and introduce our closing keynote speaker, Dr. Zerbo, please join me in thanking Rose Gottemoeller and Frank Klotz. (Applause.)
YERKIN AKHINZHANOV: Thank you very much. What an excellent discussion. I would like to thank, yes, Undersecretary Rose Gottemoeller and Frank Klotz for joining us today. And I would like to thank all previous speakers, as well as commend all moderators for their excellent work.
And I also wanted to use this opportunity to thank personally Madam Rose Gottemoeller for her endless and -- support and efforts to -- for reducing and eliminating the nuclear threat. And on a personal note, I have an inordinate privilege to know her in the past, also working together on some other very important but also arms control issues in some other part of the world. So thank you very much.
And now, it is my pleasure to introduce our concluding speaker, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the CTBTO. It is very fortunate that we have Dr. Zerbo today here with us who has made a stop here in Washington. And we’re immensely grateful for this opportunity to have him with us this afternoon to share this -- his knowledge and perspectives on the status of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty regime. During a professional career, spanning nearly 25 years, Dr. Zerbo has developed expertise ranging from scientific and technical competencies to results-based management and multilateral diplomacy.
For many years as a director of the CTBTO’s International Data Center, he has worked tirelessly to develop the organization’s global monitoring system and to promote ratification of the Test Ban Treaty. Since assuming this post of the CTBTO Executive Secretary from last year, Dr. Zerbo has worked closely with the Kingdom of Jordan, as many have already mentioned and made reference, on the second full-scale integrated field exercise to improve on-site inspection under the treaty. And as it was mentioned, it will be this November.
And my country is very proud to have been the host of the first exercise -- integrated field exercise -- in 2008. Under that -- under Dr. Zerbo’s leadership, the CTBTO has pioneered an innovative and focused approach to advance the CTBT’s ratification by the remaining annexed (ph) two states, by establishing a group of -- a group of eminent personalities and internally recognized experts, including former Secretary of Defense -- (inaudible) -- and Italian Foreign Minister Frederica Mogherini.
So over a short tenure, he has already showed a strong leadership role in strengthening the international nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation framework. And after Dr. Zerbo’s presentation, we will also, again, open the floor for questions from the audience. With this, please join me in welcoming Dr. Zerbo -- please. (Applause.)
LASSINA ZERBO: Good afternoon, distinguished guests. And thank you for your kind words. And I would like to thank the sponsors and organizers for putting this event together, and then inviting me to join you in talking about nuclear test explosion -- banning nuclear test explosion and then the role of Kazakhstan in this.
Through the documentary that you’ve shown, the five minutes, I think you one can say that the people of Kazakhstan understand all too well the disastrous consequences of nuclear testing. And I commend them and the government of Kazakhstan for their dedicated effort to achieve the discontinuance of nuclear testing for all time.
But I would like to thank my friend, Rose Gottemoeller and General Klotz, that I have just met together, because we are planning to have a meeting sometime in Vienna, or somewhere in the -- in the -- (inaudible) -- for all what you’ve done in showing today the process that is underway in the educational framework that you’re putting together on the CTBT.
I must admit as well, that it’s the first time -- I have been 10 years in this organization -- it’s the first time I hear so many times the word CTBT. And I’m very proud to have been in this meeting today, because in 10 years I can tell you that today I’ve heard it far more than I used to hear it. And sometimes, it’s been frustrating that people don’t talk much about CTBT. But thank you and thanks to all.
Now, Secretary Moniz has done a fantastic job for me because he has laid out what the U.S. is doing for the CTBT and also where the CTBT stands today. So I’m not going to go into far more detail, because I would like to give time for questions, but I will go through a few issues.
But let me first say that it is good to know that at least we can talk about the U.S. report to this treaty because in the developing world, where I come from, many people wonder if the U.S. is supportive of the CTBT. But they don’t know that over 22 percent of our budget is coming from the U.S. taxpayers. And what we have to do is to make sure those taxpayers are satisfied with the outcome. And I’m coming from the industry, that’s why my job is always to make sure what you pay for, you get it in return. That leaves you happy and then I can get more money from you and then do more work. (Laughter.)
And the more money will be to get closer and closer to the entry into force of the CTBT, which is what we’re working for. It was said as well by Secretary Moniz that the world would be much safer if we didn’t have nuclear testing. And if we don’t have nuclear testing, we have a CTBT into force. But I’m not coming here to say ratify the CTBT. I’m coming here to show how, together, we’re working in that educational framework -- together with the U.S. -- to get people to understand that ’99 and 2014 are completely different with regard to where we come from, and then were we are today and then were we want to be.
Where we want to be is we want the CTBT into force. But we have to do the work, as Rose mentioned -- education, discussion and debate. And we want to help in that process. And we want to help in the education process. We won’t help in the discussion process and then we won’t be in the debate. But if we do our job in the education process, I feel we would have achieved a lot.
And as I said, my role when people ask me, when do you see the entry into force of the CTBT, I often say, look, I hope yesterday, I hope during my term. But if it’s not during my term, what we have to do is to make sure we’ve done our best -- only our best to participate in that process that will get us closer into the entry into force. And that’s what we want to achieve. And doing this job, we have to be patient. And we have to make sure that when we bring it again, we are sure that we’re getting the ratification of the U.S. to sustain that momentum that will foresee the implementing ratification and potentially the entry into force of the CTBT.
So what is the status today? We have 183 countries that have signed the treaty, now 163 with Congo last week. And we’re hoping by December to have 165. That’s a milestone that we set for ourselves beginning of the year. And we’re hoping that Anglo and Myanmar or Yemen will come through -- at least that’s -- we’re crossing our fingers for that. But not only the ratification, but let me mention one point. A journalist was asking me today, why you only have eight countries that ratification is required for the entry into force?
So I had to tell him that this treaty is unique in the sense where, for some reason, they are choosing 44 country who were in the research reactor business at the time when the treaty was negotiated, for their ratification to be a necessity for the treaty to enter into force. So it means that if the 44 were the one to sign and ratify, the treaty would be into force today and we didn’t 163 or 183 to have ratified. So that’s how this treaty is a bit bizarre. So that leads me to a point, which is universalization.
So with 183 we’re nearly universal. And we are universal -- many countries are saying no and never to nuclear testing. We have the eight remaining and we’re working towards getting them to join us because people will tell me in the developing world, why do you let yourself be hostage of eight countries while 183 have signed the treaty? And that’s the -- it’s a million-dollar question that I’m asking you, and then we can have that when you start getting your question. But we’re working towards that.
So my next point will be on the technical aspect. It was mentioned – and we’re working closely with the – (inaudible). We’re working with Aftec (ph) in sharing knowledge. We’re not at the CTBT to say we are the best. We’re opening our ears and eyes and brain to whatever science and technology can bring to the – (inaudible) – that we’ve started for the past 15 years. And the U.S. is participating well in this endeavor. Aftec (ph) is a close ally to the CTBT, and the labs have been involved in the work of science and technology conferences, and then you will see that during the integrated field exercise in – (inaudible) -- we have many experts from the U.S. from the lab that will participate. And I’m pleased to – I’ll be pleased to welcome Rose (ph) there and Anne Harrington (ph) as well. I think we’re planning – (inaudible) – including Daryl Kimball – Daryl Kimball who, as mentioned, some of the achievement – (inaudible) – where we start – where we stand with regard to the treaty and the annex to the eight remaining NS2 (ph) country.
Rose, you reminded me that I’m not a diplomat. And since Daryl has shown that he’s not, he start talking about some of the positive vibe from the eight remaining countries. So I’ll allow myself to pinpoint one of the last one that I see – the last one from our side, because we only talk positive vibe from the remaining country. The positive vibe that we see in, I think, a share positive vibe is securing that – the phase one of the evaluation of the integrated field exercise will be in Israel. And I can tell you it’s not easy to pull out a workshop there now at any meeting in that region. It was a challenge, but a challenge that we achieved in close cooperation with the Israeli, and then a good understanding of all the 183 member state, because, indeed, they have to agree for a workshop of this nature to happen in Israel. But it took us well – some, I would say, scientific ground, I want to say diplomatic ground, to get this underway. And I’m – this is in close cooperation with Israel. And another achievement is the fact that we will indeed, as part of our validation and testing, the commissioning of the international data center, get some of the station to turn for a period of time to primary. Those are the auxiliary seismic station to deal with what people see as a gap in terms of coverage of our international monitoring system. This was due to, indeed, an exercise which is similar to – (inaudible). It’s basically assimilation. We’re trying to see how we can better use – better close the gap that we have in not having some station in some part of the world by turning some of the legacy station primary for a period of time so that we can achieve the modeling that will serve as confidence-building for countries that are yet to ratify the CTBT.
So this is indeed part of the work that we do to show how credible and how trustworthy our international monitoring system is right now. Secretary Moniz has talked about DPRK one, two and three. I just wanted to add one last point on the DPRK three. This is our detection capability on the (mobile ?) gas. You all recall for those who follow our work that it took us nearly 55 days for one of our stations in Japan to detect (sniff of radionuclear ?) that could be related to the event that happened in 2013 in Korea. Fifty days, it’s long. And 55 days shows as well how effective our system is, because no one else was able to detect the sniff of radio isotope despite sending a plane around there. It shows how important the international monitoring system is, how important the verification regime is and how the CTBT adds value to the national technical means of the countries that have signed and/or ratified the treaty.
And that was one important point that I wanted to add. Due to the work of our expert, but in close cooperation with expert from around the world, from the weapons – the nuclear weapons state and also from the developing world as well, because we have stations scattered around the world, including Niger. And Niger also one of our, I think, most effective seismic station, because in term of signal to noise ratio, it’s one of the quiet station in the world, and it’s in Niger. And I can tell you three weeks ago, I hosted the director general of the atomic energy of Niger, and then she was frustrated about the way she was dealing with some of the expert at the CTBT to a point where she said, you know – (inaudible) – wondering if we shouldn’t close this station because your people are not cooperating well, and then we’re wondering if this station is not a spy, what’s happening in Niger. So there is working to be done in the developing countries as well, and this is probably why we have problem in Zimbabwe. Since I’m not a diplomat, I can’t mention some of it. But I’m African, so it’s easy to deal with them, I can tell. (Laughter.) Whereby we have difficulty to commission a station there for the simple reason that people felt that is this station – what they say. But if the U.S. hasn’t ratified, why should we have a station that served a purpose? It was the same thing in Ecuador, and we managed to get Ecuador to change their mind with regard to this perception by telling them that although they haven’t ratified, they’re committed to this treaty and then they’re cooperating well with us in developing the international monitoring system and the verification regime.
So I’ve talked about the U.S. cooperation. I’ve talked where we stand with regard to 2006-2009. Let me go into one little aspect, which is some of the spinoff of the technology because that’s what the developing world is interested about, because when we go to them and then you talk about the CTBT banning nuclear tests or monitoring nuclear test explosion, I mean, it’s not their priority. I can tell you, I don’t think it’s a priority in Burkina Faso either.
But we’ve proven through some of the agreement that we had with UNESCO IOC at providing data and product from the international monitoring system to tsunami warning institution, helping, opening ourselves as well to giving data to institution that are not directly linked to the CTBTO. We’ve created what we call our virtual data exploitation center, whereby with a zero-dollar contract you can access the data from the international monitoring system and do research and work on topic that could be relevant to nuclear test monitoring and then shared no less with the CTBT in Vienna.
So all along, I want to say that we’ve done enough, but we are still called a preparatory commission. In fact, I hate the word “preparatory.” And I was telling somebody this morning that after IFE 14, when we have a feeling of success, I’ll try to avoid preparatory news commission – commission to say –English is not my native language, but I think I just want to give the tone that we’re commissioning the verification regime rather than preparing, because we’ve done the preparatory work already. So I need you to help us take away this word “preparatory” and use the word “commission,” and that might help in the education process, because when you talk about a preparatory commission, people think that there are 10 people sitting in Vienna dealing with legal framework or diplomatic wording. They don’t know that there is a science beyond this treaty and that there are 400 people sitting in Vienna and scattered around the world and working hard, making sure that nuclear-test monitoring is effective. And that’s why the word “preparatory” doesn’t fit anymore. And this is something that I would like to – not if I say this, I’m sure there are many lawyers in this room – forgive me – but I just want to find a way to help ourselves to get closer to the – (inaudible) – force of the treaty. So help me use commission rather than preparatory.
So now, I’m turning into now the S&T, science and technology. Science and technologies, every two years you’ve heard the importance from General Klotz of using science and technology. They were using it for the (stewardship ?) in the U.S. We’re using it indeed to try and see how we can share knowledge not only with the U.S. lab but with the international community. And science and technology brings about an expert from overhanded countries in Vienna to discuss, including young scientists, because we do have what we call Young Scientist Award to try and encourage the younger generation to work on topics that are relevant to nuclear test monitoring. And let me jump in talking about the importance of the educational framework that we have as well that John is leading, which is a policy course that we have for young diplomat. Well, we managed to bring people from India, from Pakistan, from Israel, from Egypt, from, indeed, U.S. – although I didn’t want to say U.S., but since we talk about the eight remaining countries – but we haven’t managed to bring anyone from North Korea. OK. But the point is that bringing – when we bring them, the young experts from India and Pakistan that I see, the question they ask me, they say – they come to me, they say, Mr. Zerbo, how can I help to get my country to ratify? That brings a smile. OK. And then I say, oh, yeah. So at least we can count on those young experts if, I mean, someone was talking right now about the Senate in 1999 doesn’t – is not the same Senate today. So let’s hope that (those ?) if we don’t achieve entering to force today, or we don’t achieve ratification in India and Pakistan, the young generation, they will be the one, the decision makers in five or 10 years. And by talking today about how can I get my country to ratify, we’re putting the seeds for them to understand and to be educated well enough to show to the civil society in their respective countries that it is about time that this treaty get into force. It’s the only way, or one of the way, we can make our world safe and secure. And this is what I’m proud to link with Rose on this educational process and then do our part, as well, in Vienna to serve as a background for what you’re using in the United States and in elsewhere.
So, now we’ve talk about OSI, I think I’ve covered – but let me turn into when we talk about progress in the annex two countries, the eight remaining, I wanted to echo one thing, which is a treaty fatigue. A treaty fatigue – I had a feeling, when I was visiting Russia and then talking to Foreign Minister Lavrov, one of the things he said, was, look, we’ve signed and ratified this treaty long ago, what has other talking about? And it’s a subtle message, but – which mean that we cannot sustain having this treaty so long not into force. As much as we have to go slowly, we have to be mindful of those who have signed and ratified this treaty long ago, and been waiting for its entry into force. And those who are set this organization to be a preparatory commission only for three years and now we nearly 17 years down the line and the treaty’s not into force yet. And this is a big issue: How long and how far can we go? And we’ll go as far as we can, but we shouldn’t take that far too long, and that’s why the educational process should be done quicker and then it should be done in the way where, I think, people are more aware of what is done by that administration, more aware of what Rose is doing, because you have the opportunity to listen to her here but I can tell you, when I travel to those many countries, people, the question they ask: What is the U.S. doing? But now I can go and tell them because I not only heard from Rose and General Klotz and Secretary Moniz, but I had a discussion with Rose Gottemoeller and General Klotz and now I have a better feeling of what is being done and a little bit of the – I mean the setup that she put forward: education, discussion and debate. At least I’ll be able to say that to people where I go, and then they will know that there is a process. So now we are in the education process. The debate is – I mean, it’s still a little bit away, but we’re getting there. And this is what people want to see. They want to have a feeling that things are moving, there is a motion, motion towards a U.S. ratification and motion towards the entry into force of this treaty.
So – and that leads me to what, to the group of eminent person mentioned by the deputy head of mission to say one thing, that in everything you do, you have to be passionate, but you have to push. When I initiated the group of eminent person, I was getting shot from all angle. Why do you want to do this? Why should we do this? You will disturb, you will do this, you will not do this, and whatever. But today I’m happy to say that for 2015, it’s even difficult to deal with all the offers that I have to host a meeting on the group of eminent person. We have Italy, we have North – not – we have South Korea. (Laughter.) You see, I was tempted to say North Korea. I wish. (Laughter.) But, no, we have – we have Japan, and then we have Hungary. They all want to host a workshop with the group of eminent person.
This – I’m not member of the group, although I initiated this group because the group wasn’t initiated for me. The group was initiated to have people to keep the CTBT relevant, to talk about it and to be able to echo what is done, like what is done in the (U.S. ?), without interfering because our job is not to interfere to the domestic issue of the United States. It’s to help the process, and this is our job. If I can do it in Vienna or I can only do it in Vienna, I need people to take that further, and this is what the group of eminent person is doing for us. And then I can tell you last week we had four op-ed from four member of the group of eminent person: former Prime Minister Gavinrod (ph); Chazuka (ph), Ambassador Chazuka (ph), who was in the negotiation of China, is talking about China-U.S. relationship with regard to CTBT ratification; Calvalu Pelo (ph) from Mexico; and I’m forgetting the fourth one. Sorry? Sergei Dwati (ph) from Brazil. Thank you, Jennifer (ph). So I can see you’re following CTBT very closely. Thank you so much. (Laughter.) Much appreciated.
So, I mean, this is basically what we’re trying to achieve with the group of eminent person. And as you know, we’ve – Federica Mogherini, in fact, (was testing ?) last week, and then she said, you know, I have to remember that you – the group of eminent person brought me luck, because when I choose, Federica Mogherini is somewhere (arguing ?), but Dr. Zerbo, can you tell us in which – there were two – the two young member of the group, in what those two are eminent? OK? But it takes one year to be eminent, OK? So it takes you (as well to join the chairman ?) and you’ll be eminent, if you weren’t in the beginning. But she said we brought her luck, and let’s hope that the luck we brought to Federica, she will bring back this luck for us to get closer and closer to the entering to force. I think she’s doing it already because, as you know, the G-7 for the first time has mentioned the – (inaudible) – and the CTBT, I think, last June in their statement, and that was certainly something that we’re pleased.
But let me say that I’m more happy today to have been here and to have listened to what I heard from Secretary Moniz to General Klotz and Rose to Andy Weber, to all of you. And I want to just say that we need you. We need you because without you we’ll not get closer to this entering to force. We need you to broadcast what you heard today, to broadcast what you know and to broadcast what you think is important and to broadcast what you’ve heard. And we thank the government of Kazakhstan for putting this together. And then I can assure you that from our side we’ll do and make our best at the money you’re investing in the CTBT is well-spent. And this is my job, and I’ll make sure this is indeed the case. Thank you so much, and I thank you for your attention. Daryl, thank you for inviting me. (Applause.)
MR. KIMBALL: All right. We are closing in on the finish line, but Dr. Zerbo has agreed to take a couple questions and – before we break for our reception afterwards. So let me open the floor. And again, we have microphones on either side. Any questions for Lassina Zerbo? The audience is speechless. I think you’ve said it all.
All right, yes, this gentleman here in the second row.
Q: Tom Collina, Ploughshares Fund. Dr. Zerbo, thank you so much for being here. Pleasure again to see you.
My question goes to something you said about to the extent that there is a – some kind of a time limit or you’re concerned that the longer the treaty is there without going into force, there are concerns that there could be concerns down the road of how long that viability continues. Could you elaborate on that and give us a sense of, you know, what is your concern of what might happen if the test ban sits there unratified for too long? Thank you.
MR. ZERBO: The concern, I think it’s simple. What I meant – I should have said it – but since, actually, I wanted to leave room for question, so, I mean, you asked the question. I mean, the concern is simply that if this – we don’t get this treaty legally binding, OK, we don’t get the CTBT into force, the risk we have, the longer we go, people will say why not resuming testing? That’s a risk. And resuming testing for those who have done it, but you have to think of those who said, OK, why so and so?
And I can tell you, I was in Japan, student, first year at university, I was giving a talk there and then the question they were asking, they said, Mr. Zerbo, you’re working at the CTBT, but what do you think with our neighbors doing testing and threatening us for developing nuclear weapon? Do you think we should remain so silent? I mean, this is a risk, because I’m talking about how the young generation could help us, but I mean, they are the risk because there is this feeling of national pride as well that you should see with the younger generation.
So if you’re not -- we’re not making sure that this treaty is legally binding and that -- I mean, a de facto norm is not enough. I mean, it is true that since the treaty was put for signature they haven’t been many testing -- there haven’t been many tests. And we had those three -- but three too many, let’s face it. But I mean, if you don’t put a legal stop by saying the treaty is into force -- and that will lead me to the question the lady was asking, so what, if we detect what happens -- but at least we have a legal framework.
We detect, we know we’ve detected. We have on-site inspection capability. And then it goes on Executive Council, Security Council. And then people decide what sanction can go to a country that has violated or hoped to have done the tests without being detected. But I can assure you, today there is no room for any relevant test for the development of nuclear weapon that would go undetected if you combine national technical means and the international monitoring system.
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Lassina. I think we are out of time today. Please join me in thanking Dr. Zerbo. (Applause.) And let me turn it over to you to close the meeting.
MR. AKHINZHANOV: OK, thank you very much. Thank you, Dr. Zerbo, for your excellent presentation. And it was really inspiring. Yes, we have some news of concern, like you have posed the questions about why it takes so long, et cetera, et cetera. But we also have good news about commitment and dedication of all present here to work towards final ratification of the treaty.
And definitely good news that we have global monitoring system which works -- which actually works. And I’m especially happy that Dr. Zerbo finally have heard a lot of times references to CTBT this time in Washington. And this also is encouraging. And why not make these type of events regular and to hear more? And let us say maybe -- definitely to follow up developments, to report and to inform each other and to follow up on the developments.
So it’s been a long and very, very productive day. We all had a chance to hear -- to share our views and to hear many things on human, environmental, many other costs of nuclear testing. And it is -- it is our hope that all of you, including those who had a chance to view us through webcast, have a deeper understanding of all these -- of all these problems.
And with the presentations from our distinguished representatives from the U.S. government, our colleagues from Canada and from -- Dr. Zerbo from the CTBTO, we have a better understanding of the security value of a permanent, verifiable ban on nuclear testing, anywhere and anytime. It is our hope that this event sparks renewed interest and consideration for the CTBT.
We are at the end of our time and our program. And I would -- and I want to close this conference by thanking our co-organizers and partners, the Arms Control Association, Green Cross International, the Embassy of Canada and the Atom Project for the support in making this event possible. So please visit the websites of our civil society partners for a transcript of this -- of this event, as well as more information about the consequences of nuclear testing, the benefits of nuclear test ban and my country’s initiatives to reduce and eliminate the nuclear threats at the Atom Project website.
Talking about the Atom Project, I would invite you please to put your signatures under the Atom Project petition to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into full force to end further nuclear weapons developments. Help to tell world leaders to permanently end nuclear weapons testing and ultimately free the world from the nuclear weapons threat.
Now, with this, I would like to thank all of you. And I hope that you will stay for the reception we have right after this conference. I’m sorry that I cannot extend the same invitation to our webcast audience -- (laughter) -- but I hope that many of them will have a chance to come and personally participate in other events we hope to have in the future. Thank you very much. (Applause.)