Login/Logout

*
*  

"The Arms Control Association’s work is an important resource to legislators and policymakers when contemplating a new policy direction or decision."

– General John Shalikashvili
former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

Nongovernmental Experts Urge States to Translate Words Into Action on Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Sections:

Body: 

For Immediate Release: Sept. 22, 2011

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Director, Arms Control Association, (202-463-8270 ext. 107); Togzhan Kassenova, Carnegie Endowment for Intl. Peace (202-939-2306);

(New York/Washington) -- At a meeting of more than 100 senior government officials at the United Nations to discuss pathways to bring the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into force, a diverse set of nongovernmental nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament leaders, as well as former government officials and diplomats are calling on all states to translate their words of support for the Treaty into concrete action.

In the statement to be delivered at the conference on behalf of NGOs by Nuclear Policy Associate Togzhan Kassenova of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the nongovernmental experts said:

"Fifteen years since negotiations on the Test Ban Treaty were concluded, the long journey to end testing is not over. The CTBT must still be ratified by the remaining nine “holdout” states before it can formally enter into force.

We are grateful for the strong statements delivered at this conference on the value of the treaty and the need for prompt entry into force. But actions speak louder than words. We call upon every state at this conference, collectively and individually, to act. This conference must help produce a serious diplomatic action plan for getting the remaining holdout states on board."

The full text of the statement can be found here.

Nine more states including—China, the DPRK, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Iran, Pakistan, and the United States—must ratify before the CTBT can formally enter into force. To date, 182 states have signed the Treaty (including China and the United States) and 155 have ratified.

In the statement, the NGOs note that: “Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. Given their existing nuclear test moratoria and 1996 signature of the CTBT, Washington and Beijing already bear most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of CTBT entry into force.”

"Under the CTBT," the NGO statement notes, "the established nuclear-weapon states would be barred from proof-testing new, more sophisticated nuclear warhead designs. Without the option of nuclear explosive testing, newer testing nations cannot perfect smaller, more easily deliverable warheads.

With the CTBT in force, global and national capabilities to detect and deter possible clandestine nuclear testing by other states will be significantly greater and short-notice, on-site inspections can be used to investigate suspicious events.

In his address before the UN General Assembly on Sept. 21, U.S. President Barack Obama said "America will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons ...." Earlier this year President Obama and President Hu Jintao of China issued a joint statement expressing support for early entry into force of the Treaty.

“We welcome President Barack Obama's and President Hu Jintao's stated support for CTBT entry into force, but now they must act," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the U.S.-based Arms Control Association, which coordinated the NGO statement. "To indicate the seriousness of his intentions and to sustain the effort, we call on President Obama to promptly name a senior, high-level White House CTBT coordinator," Kimball said.

"Such efforts take time and may not show results in the next several months," he noted. "But to build the support necessary for U.S. ratification, the Obama administration can and must begin to make the case for the Treaty now."

The NGO statement also argues that "... ratification [of the CTBT] by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a Middle East Zone free of Nuclear and other Weapons of Mass Destruction."

"Iran was at one time an active participant in the CTBT negotiations and on September 24, 1996 it signed the treaty," the NGO statement notes.

"Today, Iranian ratification would help reduce concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop and deploy deliverable nuclear warheads. Continued failure by Iran to ratify the CTBT raises further questions about the nature of its sensitive nuclear activities, which remain under investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency. We strongly urge the states involved in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to play leadership role in pressing Iran, the incoming chair of the NAM, to ratify the CTBT," say the experts in their statement to the conference.


# # #

Description: 

(New York/Washington) -- At a meeting of more than 100 senior government officials at the United Nations to discuss pathways to bring the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into force, a diverse set of nongovernmental nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament leaders, as well as former government officials and diplomats are calling on all states to translate their words of support for the Treaty into concrete action.

Op-Ed: Ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Sections:

Body: 

By Hazel R. O'Leary and Daryl G. Kimball

The following piece was originally published in the LA Times on September 14, 2011.

More than 100 government leaders from around the globe will meet this month at the United Nations to discuss the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, an international accord whose goal is to make the world safer by stemming the spread of nuclear weapons.

The treaty has been in limbo for more than a decade. Negotiations on it were concluded at the United Nations General Assembly in 1996, with the treaty calling for the ban of nuclear test explosions for any purpose. It's been signed and ratified by 154 member countries, including Russia, Japan, South Korea and all of America's NATO allies.

The United States is one of just nine key nations that hasn't ratified the treaty. The U.S. Senate can change that — and should do so now. Its ratification and entry into force would immediately bolster the international community's efforts to stop rogue states from developing and potentially proliferating nuclear weapons.

In 1996, President Clinton was the first world leader to sign the treaty. But the Senate in 1999, after only a brief consideration, rejected ratification of the measure and hasn't taken up the issue since.

The treaty is an essential tool for dealing with today's security threats. The age of a superpower nuclear arms race is over. Instead,  world leaders must focus on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states, blocking advances in their nuclear weapons technologies — and not letting nuclear weapons slip into the hands of terrorists.

Countries with nuclear weapons, such as China, India and Pakistan, cannot create advanced nukes without further nuclear test explosions. Without nuclear tests, Iran could not confidently build warheads for delivery by ballistic missiles. By ratifying the treaty, the United States would put pressure on these nations to shelve their nuclear programs and engage more productively with the international community.

To detect and deter nuclear testing, the treaty empowers the United States and the international community with strong inspections  authority. The treaty provides for a global network of 337 monitoring stations, many of which are in sensitive locations like Russia and China to which the United States doesn't have access. Once in force, the treaty would give inspectors the ability to conduct short-notice, on-site investigations of any suspicious sites. That's an ability the United States does not possess now.

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

Research has shown that plutonium, the key ingredient in nuclear weapons, is not affected by aging for 85 years or more. Scientific  advances have also allowed America's nuclear scientists to refurbish and modernize existing warheads with "life extension programs." A September 2009 study from the JASON panel, a group of independent scientists, concluded that the "lifetimes of today's nuclear warheads could be extended for decades" without explosive testing.

Nuclear experts have argued forcefully against testing. Earlier this year, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Thomas D'Agostino, said that the United States has "a safe and secure and reliable stockpile" and that "there's no need to conduct underground [nuclear] testing."

Even some of those who opposed ratification of the treaty in 1999 have come out in favor of the agreement. George Shultz, the secretary of State under President Reagan, has said that his fellow Republicans "might have been right voting against [the treaty] some years ago" but they'd "be right voting for it now."

After all, the treaty does not hamstring America's efforts to maintain its nuclear arsenal. President Obama has called for $85 billion over the next 10 years for our nation's nuclear weapons laboratories — a full 13% increase over the level of spending during President George W. Bush's administration, and more than enough to get the job done.

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

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

Hazel R. O'Leary served as U.S. secretary of Energy from 1993-97; Daryl G. Kimball is executive director of the nonpartisan Arms Control Assn.

Description: 

By Hazel R. O'Leary and Daryl G. Kimball

The following piece was originally published in the LA Times on September 14, 2011.

It's been signed and ratified by 154 member countries; the United States is one of just nine key nations that hasn't ratified it. The Senate can change that — and should do so now.

Time for the Test Ban Treaty Is Now

Sections:

Body: 

Volume 2, Issue 12, September 12, 2011

A Reply to Jim Woolsey and Keith Payne

The United States signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) fifteen years ago, and the treaty now has 182 members. Russia and China stopped nuclear explosive testing as a direct result of the CTBT and only one nation (North Korea) has conducted a nuclear test since 1998. The CTBT has halted the regular practice of nuclear explosive testing, reducing the nuclear danger to the United States, its allies, and the world.

The United States was able to confidently sign the CTBT in 1996 because it already has the most sophisticated and well-tested nuclear arsenal, having conducted more nuclear detonations—1,054 from 1945 to 1992—than all other nations combined. Moreover, the United States remains the world’s unquestioned conventional weapons superpower. Today, there is no technical or military rationale for the United States to resume nuclear testing, and Washington gains an important constraint on nuclear proliferation by preventing testing by others.

Nevertheless, in a stunning example of grabbing a national security defeat from the jaws of victory, the United States has signed but not yet ratified the CTBT, which has slowed progress toward entry into force. U.S. leadership is essential to trigger ratifications by the eight other states necessary for formal entry into force, and this spring the Obama administration reiterated its support for reconsideration of the CTBT and prompt entry into force of the treaty.

In a May 10 address, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher pledged to take the time necessary to brief senators on key technical and scientific advances in the U.S. stockpile stewardship program and nuclear test monitoring that have occurred since the Senate's brief consideration of the treaty in 1999.
 
"We are committed to taking a bipartisan and fact-based approach with the Senate," Tauscher said.

Indeed, the case for the CTBT has grown stronger over the last decade. As George Shultz, President Ronald Reagan's Secretary of State, said in April 2009, "[Republicans] might have been right voting against [the CTBT] some years ago, but they would be right voting for it now, based on these new facts.... [There are] new pieces of information that are very important and that should be made available to the Senate."

As the Obama administration provides updated information, senators have a responsibility to take a serious look at the merits of the treaty in light of the new evidence and not rush to judgment on the basis of old or misleading information.

Unfortunately, some CTBT opponents continue to make the same old tired arguments against the treaty, such as the Sept. 8 op-ed, “Reconsidering the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,” by Jim Woolsey and Keith Payne. It is time to put these misleading claims to rest.

Here are the top four reasons to support U.S. CTBT ratification:

1. The Test Ban Makes America More Secure: Ignoring abundant evidence to the contrary, Woolsey and Payne make the usubstantiated claim that ratification of the CTBT would not strengthen efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons. Woolsey and Payne’s views are at odds with a growing list of bipartisan leaders who agree that the CTBT provides an important constraint on the ability of other states to threaten American security.

 As Dr. Sigfried Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, said in 2009, "the single most important reason to ratify the CTBT is to stop other countries from improving their arsenals."

For example, with additional nuclear testing China could perfect smaller warhead designs and thereby put multiple warheads on its relatively small arsenal of strategic ballistic missiles, increasing the nuclear danger to the United States.

 Potential nuclear-armed states like Iran could use nuclear test explosions to perfect more advanced, smaller nuclear warhead designs that could fit on ballistic missiles. Given Tehran's advancing uranium-enrichment and missile capabilities, it is important to establish additional barriers against a sophisticated Iranian nuclear weapons capability in the years ahead.

Does it make sense to forego the CTBT and leave the door open to the resumption of nuclear testing by Russia, China and others states? Surly not. As Gen. John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concluded in his 2001 report on the CTBT, "For the sake of future generations, it would be unforgivable to neglect any reasonable action that can help prevent nuclear proliferation, as the Test Ban Treaty clearly would."

Preventing nuclear testing not only denies proliferators an important tool to develop more threatening warheads, but the CTBT is vital to broader U.S. nonproliferation goals. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) would probably not have been extended indefinitely in 1995 without the pledge from the United States and the other original nuclear powers to stop testing and conclude CTBT negotiations by the end of 1996.

If Washington continues to block the CTBT, the United States will have less leverage to strengthen nuclear safeguards, tighten controls on nuclear weapons-related technology, and isolate states that don't follow the nonproliferation rules. 

CTBT proponents do not claim that an end to U.S. testing or further superpower nuclear arms reductions would directly lead other states, such as Iran, to give up their nuclear ambitions. Such a direct link is overly simplistic. 

As Ellen Tauscher said in a speech in Omaha on July 29, 2010: "We are not so naïve as to believe that problem states will end their proliferation programs if the United States and Russia reduce our nuclear arsenals. But we are confident that progress in this area will reinforce the central role of the NPT and help us build support to sanction or engage states on favorable terms to us. Our collective ability to bring the weight of international pressure against proliferators would be undermined by a lack of effort towards disarmament."

In other words, the CTBT won’t by itself stop proliferation, but we can’t improve our chances of stopping proliferation and reducing the nuclear threat without the CTBT.

To date, 182 states have signed the CTBT. All of the United States' major allies, including all members of NATO, support the CTBT. They expect and even encourage the United States to act.  After nearly 20 years without nuclear testing, the United States' friends and foes have no doubt that the U.S. nuclear arsenal is effective and reliable.

As recently as April 29, 2011, the foreign ministers of 10 key U.S. allies—Australia, Germany, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates—issued a statement calling on "all states which have not yet done so to sign and ratify the CTBT… We believe that an effective end to nuclear testing will enhance and not weaken our national as well as global security and would significantly bolster the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime."

2. The U.S. Does Not Need Nuclear Test Explosions: As National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) head Thomas D'Agostino said in an April 2011 interview, the United States has "a safe and secure and reliable stockpile. There's no need to conduct underground [nuclear] testing."

The technical strategy for maintaining the effectiveness and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile without explosive testing has been in place for more than a decade. Since 1994, each warhead type in the U.S. nuclear arsenal has been determined to be safe and reliable through a rigorous annual certification process. The NNSA Stockpile Stewardship Program includes nuclear weapons surveillance and maintenance, non-nuclear and subcritical nuclear experiments, and increasingly sophisticated supercomputer modeling.  Life extension programs have successfully refurbished existing types of nuclear warheads and can continue to do so indefinitely. 

A 2009 study by JASON, the independent technical review panel, concluded that the "lifetimes of today's nuclear warheads could be extended for decades, with no anticipated loss in confidence."

The 2002 National Academy of Sciences panel report on "Technical Issues Related to the CTBT" found that the current Stockpile Stewardship Program provides the technical capabilities that are necessary to maintain confidence in the safety and reliability of the existing seven types of nuclear warheads in the active stockpile, "provided that adequate resources are made available...and are properly focused on this task."

The Obama administration's unprecedented $88 billion, 10-year plan for upgrading the nuclear weapons complex should give senators even greater confidence that there is a long-term strategy and more than enough funding to continue to maintain the U.S. arsenal effectively. The administration's long-term weapons complex budget plan represents a 20 percent increase above funding levels during the George W. Bush years.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted in 2010 that: "These investments, and the... strategy for warhead life extension, represent a credible modernization plan necessary to sustain the nuclear infrastructure and support our nation's deterrent."

On December 1, 2010, the directors of the three U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories wrote that they were "very pleased" with the administration's budget plan. Lawrence Livermore director Dr. George Miller, Los Alamos director Dr. Michael Anastasio, and Sandia director Dr. Paul Hommert said that the increased funding plan provides "adequate support" to sustain the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

 Minor cuts and cost savings in the NNSA budget will not change the fact that the NNSA weapons activities budget, now at $7 billion, provides more than enough to get the job done.

Even so, Woolsey and Payne write that “no one knows what types of nuclear weapons may be needed in the future…” and that the United States should in effect block entry-into-force of the CTBT in deference to this unknowable possibility. But in the exceedingly unlikely event that nuclear testing is needed in the distant future, the United States has the option of exercising the CTBT's "supreme national interest" withdrawal clause.

However, given that the United States already has the most advanced and deadly nuclear arsenal in the world, another round of global nuclear tests would only serve to undermine U.S. security by helping other nuclear-armed states improve their nuclear capabilities.

3. The CTBT Is Verifiable: Woolsey and Payne correctly point out that “the CTBT’s International Monitoring System [IMS] provides some impressive detection technology.” Indeed, under the CTBT, no would-be cheater could be confident that a nuclear explosion of sufficient yield to possibly threaten U.S. security would escape detection. But 

CTBT critics often ignore the fact that the IMS is not the only means of test monitoring and treaty verification. U.S. national technical means of intelligence (national seismic and radiation detection stations, spy satellites, human intelligence, and other tools) are extremely capable and data from these sources can be employed to verify treaty compliance.

The CTBT International Monitoring System provides for monitoring stations inside Russia, China, and other sensitive locations, including some places where the United States could not gain access on its own. By establishing a legally-binding ban on testing and providing additional international test monitoring capabilities, the CTBT gives the United States additional tools to resolve compliance concerns and address potential violations.

North Korea has provided two recent real-world tests of United States and global monitoring capabilities. In October 2006, the international monitoring system easily detected North Korea’s relatively low-yield (0.6 kiloton) nuclear explosion at 22 seismic stations and had a solid estimate of its location within five hours of the event. Tell-tale radioactive gases from this test were detected by South Korea, the U.S., and 4,600 miles away in Yellowknife, Canada, at one of the international monitoring network’s noble gas monitoring stations.

The second test by North Korea on May 25, 2009, with a yield of a few kilotons, was detected by a total of 61 international seismic stations. Some have suggested that because the international monitoring network did not detect radionuclide particles from the second North Korean test explosion, the system failed.

But, in fact, the seismic evidence alone would have provided a firm basis for on-site inspections (OSIs). The CTBT sets a limit of 1,000 square km for the inspected area, and the seismic data located the test well within this limit. According to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), “The data would have provided a clear lead to the inspection team regarding where to look.”

On-site inspections in response to signs of a suspicious event would be an important deterrent against potential clandestine nuclear testing, but would only be available once the treaty enters into force. The treaty also permits information from national technical means of verification to support an on-site inspection request.

Woolsey and Payne, however, suggest that because the CTBT requires 30 of 51 nations on the CTBTO's Executive Council to agree to an OSI, states unfriendly to the U.S. could block them. In reality, the CTBT’s on-site inspection provisions were established to balance the need for rapid response to a suspected test against the possibility of “frivolous or abusive” inspections. The approval of 30 out of 51 members of the Executive Council was designed to give nations like the United States. and Israel confidence that inspections would be approved as needed, but not by a small minority with questionable motives.

4. Zero Means Zero: Woolsey and Payne repeat another misleading claim that the CTBT does not define "nuclear test explosion" and therefore some states such as Russia believe low-yield "hydronuclear" tests are permitted. The negotiating record, however, is clear: Article I of the CTBT bans "any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion" and all signatories of the treaty understand that means zero nuclear test explosions.

In 1999, the United States' CTBT negotiator, Amb. Stephen Ledogar, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the subject and said:

“I have heard some critics of the Treaty seek to cast doubt on whether Russia, in the negotiation and signing of the Treaty, committed itself under treaty law to a truly comprehensive prohibition of any nuclear explosion, including an explosion/experiment/event of even the slightest nuclear yield. In other words, did Russia agree that hydronuclear experiments would be banned, and that hydrodynamic explosions (which have no yield because they do not reach criticality) would not be banned?"

Ledogar went on to say: "The answer is a categoric 'yes.' The Russians, as well as the other weapon states, did commit themselves. That answer is substantiated by the record of the negotiations at almost any level of technicality (and national security classification) that is desired and permitted. More importantly for the current debate, it is also substantiated by the public record of statements by high level Russian officials...."

As the Russian government explained to the Duma when it ratified the CTBT in 2000: "Qualitative modernization of nuclear weapons is only possible through full-scale and hydronuclear tests with the emission of fissile energy, the carrying out of which directly contradicts the CTBT." 

 It is clear to all parties that the CTBT establishes a “zero-yield” prohibition on nuclear test explosions.

Doing Nothing Is Unwise

Woolsey and Payne’s arguments amount to a “do-nothing” approach that would deny the United States the benefits of CTBT ratification. Without positive action on the CTBT, the risks of a resumption of nuclear testing will only grow. U.S. ratification, however, would reinforce the taboo against testing and prompt other hold-out states—such as China, India, and Pakistan—to ratify or reconsider the treaty.

Nuclear testing is a dangerous and unnecessary vestige of the Cold War that the United States rightly rejected two decades ago. The United States does not need nuclear weapons test explosions, but those who seek to improve their arsenals do. U.S. action on the CTBT would build support for updating and strengthening the global nonproliferation system at a critical juncture. The Senate’s reconsideration of the CTBT should be based on an honest and up-to-date analysis of the facts and the issues at stake. –TOM Z. COLLINA and DARYL G. KIMBALL

Description: 

Volume 2, Issue 12, September 12, 2011

A Reply to Jim Woolsey and Keith Payne

The United States signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) fifteen years ago, and the treaty now has 182 members. Russia and China stopped nuclear explosive testing as a direct result of the CTBT and only one nation (North Korea) has conducted a nuclear test since 1998. The CTBT has halted the regular practice of nuclear explosive testing, reducing the nuclear danger to the United States, its allies, and the world.

Twenty Years After the Closure of Semipalatinsk the Case for the Test Ban Treaty Is Stronger Than Ever

Sections:

Body: 

Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
Cannon House Office Bldg, Washington, D.C.,
September 8, 2011

Good afternoon and thank you Paul Walker and Global Green for organizing this event and for inviting me to speak here today to mark the anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, where more than 456 explosions contaminated the land and its inhabitants.

The courageous efforts of the Kazakh people and their allies forced Moscow’s communist regime to halt nuclear weapons testing. It is one of the truly amazing stories of the late-Soviet era and one of the most important contributions to the end of the Cold War.

The closure of Semipalatinsk led Mikhail Gorbachev to announce a one-year moratorium on Soviet testing on October 5, 1991. This, in turn, prompted a bipartisan coalition of U.S. legislators—among them the late-great Sen. Mark Hatfield and our friend Rep. Edward Markey who is here with us today—to introduce nuclear test moratorium legislation on October 29.

Less than a year later, that bill became law. President Bill Clinton extended the moratorium the following year and launched negotiations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Every president since then—Republican and Democratic—has sustained the U.S. nuclear test moratorium.

So, we all owe the people of Kazakhstan our thanks for their role in helping to set these events in motion.

It has now been fifteen years since the CTBT was opened for signature. The United States and 182 nations have signed the treaty. Since 1998, only one state—North Korea—has conducted nuclear test explosions.

But to finally ensure that the age of nuclear testing is truly over and to improve our ability to detect and deter testing in the future, we need—once again—enlightened, bipartisan leadership from United States to help bring the CTBT into force.

The CTBT won’t by itself stop proliferation, but we can’t improve our chances of stopping proliferation and reducing the nuclear threat without the CTBT.

By banning all nuclear tests, the CTBT prevents the established nuclear-weapon states from proof-testing new, more sophisticated warhead designs. And without nuclear test explosions, newer nuclear-armed states would have a far more difficult time developing and fielding smaller, more easily deliverable warheads.

With the CTBT in force, our ability to detect and deter possible clandestine nuclear testing by other states will clearly be significantly greater. Entry-into-force is essential to making short-notice, on-site inspections possible.

While the CTBT has near universal support, the Treaty must still be ratified by nine hold-out states before it can formally enter into force.

Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. Given their existing nuclear test moratoria and treaty signatures, Washington and Beijing already bear most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of the treaty.

U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to “immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of” the CTBT. He said, “After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned." Indeed.

The Obama administration can and must continue to make the case that the Treaty enhances international security, is effectively verifiable, and is essential to curb the spread of nuclear weapons in the decades to come. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller has done an excellent job in this regard.

The technical and political case for the CTBT is much stronger today than it was in 1999 when the Senate briefly considered the treaty. The Senate must honestly review the new evidence for the treaty rather than rush to judgment on the basis of outdated information.

As Senators and their staff do so, it is important to keep in mind how the CTBT can help our efforts to curb proliferation in the years ahead.

China, which has repeatedly stated that its supports early entry into force, would likely ratify the CTBT if the United States does. Without further nuclear testing, China’s would not be able to proof test new, more sophisticated warhead designs.

India and Pakistan could advance the cause of nuclear disarmament and substantially ease regional tensions by converting their unilateral test moratoria into a legally binding commitment to end nuclear testing through the CTBT.

With no shortage of conflict in the Middle East, ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear-weapons-related security concerns in the region.

Iran, which has signed the CTBT, said on Sept. 2 at the United Nations that it “considers this treaty as a step towards disarmament.” In my address the General Assembly on behalf of NGOs, I responded to that statement by noting that Article VI of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obliges all states—the nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states—to contribute to disarmament and Iran must do its part.

I noted that if Iran ratified the CTBT, it could help reduce concerns that its nuclear program would be used to develop smaller, deliverable nuclear warheads. If Iran refuses to ratify the CTBT, it would raise further questions about the nature of its nuclear activities and increase U.S. and international support for targeted sanctions on its nuclear and missile programs.

Further North Korean nuclear tests would undermine Asian security. While Pyongyang has shown little regard for its treaty commitments, the DPRK should be pressed to declare a halt to further testing and sign the CTBT.

U.S. reconsideration and approval of the CTBT, however, is essential. And it is undoubtedly in our national security interests.

After 1,054 nuclear test explosions, the United States simply doesn’t need or want nuclear test explosions to maintain our arsenal or to develop new kinds of warheads. No serious military or technical expert believes we should, and if that changes at some point in the distant future, the CTBT contains a supreme national interest withdrawal provision.

Other states, however, could improve their nuclear capabilities through further testing. It is time we recognize that reality and act upon it.

As Gen. John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concluded in his 2001 report on the CTBT: "For the sake of future generations, it would be unforgivable to neglect any reasonable action that can help prevent nuclear proliferation, as the Test Ban Treaty clearly would."

Description: 

Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball,Executive Director, Arms Control Association at the Cannon House Office Bldg, Washington, D.C., on September 8, 2011.

International Day Against Nuclear Tests: Translating Words Into Action

Sections:

Body: 

Prepared Statement of Nongovernmental Organization Representative
Coordinated and Delivered by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
September 2, 2011

On behalf of the many nongovernmental organizations with an interest in ending nuclear testing and achieving a nuclear weapons free world, I would like to thank the organizers of this year’s meeting—including the office of the United Nations Secretary General and the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan—for granting NGOs a seat at this table.

It is important to recognize the pivotal role of nongovernmental organizations—and ordinary people the world over—in the long struggle to end nuclear testing.

For example, beginning in the 1950s, American pediatricians and civil society activists documented the presence of strontium-90 in the deciduous teeth of young children, prompting a large and effective public outcry against atmospheric nuclear testing. These protests had a direct impact on the negotiation and adoption of the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

In fact, civil society organizations have played a vital role in ensuring that the evidence compiled by physicians and scientists about the health and environmental consequences of nuclear test explosions—regardless of whether they are conducted in the atmosphere or aboveground—has consistently been put forward as an essential reason to ban testing permanently.

Nongovernmental organizations played a catalyzing role in more recent efforts to halt nuclear testing. Some twenty years ago, a popular movement in Soviet-controlled Kazakhstan forced Moscow’s communist regime to halt nuclear weapons testing at proving grounds in their homeland where more than 456 explosions had contaminated the land and its people.

In February 1989, the renowned poet Olzhas Suleimenov called upon his fellow citizens to meet in Alma Ata to discuss how to respond to fresh reports of radioactive contamination at the Soviet’s Semipalatinsk Test Site. Five-thousand people responded and collectively issued a call for closing the test site, ending nuclear weapons production, and a universal ban on testing. The movement, which became known as Nevada-Semipalatinsk, grew and held demonstrations throughout Kazakhstan and later in Russia.

On August 6, 1989, 50,000 people attended one of its rallies, which was the largest independent event of its type in the former Soviet Union. Eventually over a million people signed its antinuclear weapons testing petition.

In August 1989, Suleimenov pushed the Supreme Soviet to adopt a resolution calling for a U.S.-Soviet test moratorium. The movement also worked to prevent Moscow from simply shifting all Soviet nuclear testing to the Novaya Zemlya site in northern Russia. To appease the growing protests, Moscow would later acknowledge it had cancelled 11 out of 18 planned nuclear tests.

In May 1990, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and the Nevada-Semipalatinsk movement teamed up for an International Citizens Congress that brought together 300 delegates, including downwinders and disarmament leaders, from 25 countries to Alma Ata. A crowd of 20,000 gathered in support. Before the conference convened, Dr. Bernard Lown of IPPNW and Suleimenov met with Soviet Foreign Minister Shevardnadze to reinstitute an earlier Soviet test moratorium.

Under pressure from President Nazarbayev, the people of Kazakhstan, and the international disarmament community, then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev would authorize only one more test (in Russia) and then declare a moratorium on October 5, 1991, prompting U.S. legislators to introduce nuclear test moratorium legislation in Congress.

With strong grassroots support in the United States, the legislation, which mandated a 9-month U.S. testing halt and negotiations on a CTBT, gathered strong support and was approved in September 1992. The last U.S. nuclear test explosion was conducted on September 23, 1992.

The following year, U.S. nongovernmental organizations and legislators successfully pressed President Clinton to indefinitely extend the U.S. test moratorium in July 1993 and launch multilateral negotiations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. With the help of international protests over French and Chinese nuclear testing in 1995 and 1996, NGOs exerted strong pressure on governments negotiating the treaty at the Conference on Disarmament to pursue a zero-yield test ban and to complete talks by the end of 1996.

The actions of the people of Kazakhstan and other test ban opponents are but one dramatic example of how leaders from civil society have raised awareness about the dangers of nuclear weapons and demanded that their governments act decisively to permanently halt nuclear weapons testing.

As we mark the second official International Day Against Nuclear Tests, we should recognize the courageous efforts of the Nevada-Semipalatinsk movement and generations of other citizen activists and leaders, which have been the driving force behind governmental effort to permanently and verifiably bring an end to all nuclear test explosions.

The Tasks Ahead

Although the CTBT was opened for signature fifteen years ago this month, our work is far from complete.

We representatives of civil society call upon leading governments to:

1)    redouble their stalled efforts to push for a permanent and verifiable end to nuclear testing;

2)    improve national and international programs to better understand and responsibly address the health and environmental damage caused by past nuclear testing; and

3)    take further steps to reinforce the purposes of the CTBT and move with greater speed to realize a world without nuclear weapons.

The International Security Value of the CTBT

It is time to finally recognize that nuclear testing is a dangerous and unnecessary vestige of the past and, fifteen years after its completion, finally bring the CTBT into force.

As General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded in 2001: “For the sake of future generations, it would be unforgivable to neglect any reasonable action that can help prevent nuclear proliferation, as the Test Ban Treaty clearly would.”

By banning all nuclear weapon test explosions, the CTBT prevents the established nuclear-weapon states from proof-testing new, more sophisticated warhead designs. Without the option of nuclear explosive testing, newer members of the club cannot perfect smaller, more easily deliverable warheads.

Unfortunately, the CTBT does not also expressly forbid other activities that can lead to qualitative improvements to nuclear weapons, the pursuit of which undermines the stated objectives of the treaty.

The CTBT also serves to reinforce the nonproliferation system by serving as a confidence-building measure about a state’s nuclear intentions and, in this regard, it can help head-off and de-escalate regional tensions.

For these and other reasons, CTBT entry into force has long been considered a key part of the fulfillment of Article VI of the NPT and the goal of “effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”

With the CTBT in force, global and national capabilities to detect and deter possible clandestine nuclear testing by other states will be significantly greater. Entry-into-force is essential to making short-notice, on-site inspections possible and maintaining long-term political and financial support from other nations for the operation of the International Monitoring System and International Data Center.

Accelerating Entry Into Force

Although 182 states have signed the CTBT, the treaty must still be ratified by the remaining hold out states—the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, Indonesia, Egypt, and North Korea—before it can formally enter into force.

In three weeks, CTBT states parties will gather here at the UN to speak about the value of the treaty and the need for prompt entry into force. We appreciate those statements, but actions speak louder than words. That conference must help produce a serious diplomatic action plan for getting the remaining hold out states on board.

Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. Given their existing nuclear test moratoria and 1996 signature of the CTBT, Washington and Beijing already bear most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of CTBT entry into force.

In April 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama’s pledged to “immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” He said, “After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned." We agree.

But now, President Obama must translate those lofty words into action and mount a serious public campaign to win the support of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate for ratification of the treaty without conditions.

To date, the Obama administration has done too little. With the support of a wide array of NGOs in the United States and around the globe the Obama administration can and must make the case that the Treaty enhances international security, is effectively verifiable, and is essential to curb the spread of nuclear weapons in the decades to come.

To indicate the seriousness of his intention to do so, we call on President Obama to promptly name a senior, high-level White House coordinator for the CTBT effort.

The technical and political case for the CTBT is even stronger than it was in 1999 when the Senate failed to provide its advice and consent for ratification. What is necessary is the political will to pursue ratification and willingness by all Senators to review the new evidence in support of the treaty rather than arrive at judgments based on old information or misinformation.

It is also time for China’s leaders to finally act on the CTBT. For years, Chinese government representatives have reported that the CTBT is before the National People’s Congress for consideration but has apparently taken no action to win legislative approval needed for ratification. We note the January 19, 2011 Joint Statement by President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama stating that “… both sides support early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.”

Washington’s renewed pursuit of CTBT ratification opens up opportunities for China and other Annex 2 states—such as Indonesia—to lead the way toward entry into force by ratifying before the United States does. Action by Beijing would increase its credibility as a nonproliferation leader and improve the chances that other states in Asia, as well as the United States, would follow suit.

India and Pakistan could advance the cause of nuclear disarmament and substantially ease regional tensions by converting their unilateral test moratoria into a legally binding commitment to end nuclear testing through the CTBT.

Unfortunately, since their tit-for-tat nuclear tests in 1998 that were condemned by the UN Security Council in Resolution 1172, neither India nor Pakistan have transformed their de facto nuclear test moratorium into a legally binding commitment not to conduct nuclear test explosions.

It is past time for India’s current leaders to pursue the recommendations of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s eloquent and visionary 1988 action plan for disarmament, which calls for “a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons … to set the stage for negotiations on a comprehensive test-ban treaty.” India’s security and that of Asia would be enhanced if New Delhi were to seek adoption of the CTBT along with its nuclear-armed Asian neighbors. Pakistan, which can ill-afford the expensive and senseless continuation of its fissile and missile race with India, should welcome a legally binding test ban with India.

With no shortage of conflict and hostility in the Middle East, ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear-weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

Likewise, if Israel were to ratify the CTBT, it would bring that nation closer to the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and help encourage other states in the region to follow suit.

Iranian ratification would help reduce concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop and deploy deliverable nuclear warheads. Continued failure by Iran to ratify the CTBT raises further questions about the nature of its sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities.

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests and rumors of further detonations undermine Asian security. We call on the DPRK to declare a halt to further nuclear testing pending the resumption of the Six-Party talks and for the participants in those talks to make North Korea’s approval of the CTBT one of the key steps in the action-for-action process for denuclearization and normalization.

Addressing the Damage Caused by Nuclear Testing

Radioactive isotopes have long half-lives. The damage caused by the 2,051 nuclear test explosions conducted worldwide lingers on at dozens of test sites from Lop Nor, to the atolls of the Pacific, to Nevada, to Algeria, to Australia, to Semipalatinsk, across Russia, in Kazakhstan and beyond.

Exposure to ionizing radiation is harmful to humans. The leaders of the nuclear testing nations have exposed their people – both within their territories and outside their territories – to radiation without their informed consent.

Most of the test sites are in the lands of indigenous peoples and far from the capitals of the testing governments. The 528 atmospheric tests delivered radioactive materials that produced approximately 430,000 additional cancer fatalities by the year 2000, according to a 1990 report by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. The U.S. National Cancer Institute estimated in a 1997 report that the 90 dirtiest U.S. tests could cause 7,500-75,000 additional cases of thyroid cancer.

While underground nuclear blasts pose a smaller radioactive hazard than atmospheric tests, there has been widespread venting from underground explosions, especially at the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan. The United States has acknowledged that 433 of its 824 underground tests released radioactive material into the atmosphere. In addition, underground nuclear blasts leave a legacy of radioactive contamination, which eventually might leak into the surrounding environment.

Our knowledge of the extent of the harm caused by five decades of nuclear test explosions underground, in the atmosphere, and underwater is still incomplete. The governments responsible for the damage have not adequately provided the assistance to survivors and resources necessary to mitigate the environmental contamination. In fact, the major testing states have been reluctant to recognize the harm inflicted by testing and the rights of those people who have been most affected.

For example, for more than thirty years, France conducted 46 atmospheric and 147 underground nuclear tests in the South Pacific at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls in French Polynesia. It is estimated that nearly half of France’s underground nuclear tests released radioactive material into the atmosphere.

Today, there are lingering concerns over hazards to the environment and the health of local populations. Beyond the presence of plutonium and cesium on land and in the lagoon, as reported by the IAEA in 1998, ongoing monitoring of the geology of Moruroa Atoll has revealed major hazards on the north-east flank of the atoll. There were 28 underground tests in this north-east sector, with six tests releasing radioactivity into the ocean environment through cracks in the basalt base of the atoll.

A January 2011 report by the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) outlines scenarios where a landslide of the side of the atoll – amounting to 670 million cubic meters of rock – could create a 15 to 20 meter high wave and swamp the east of the atoll. The collapse would also send out waves forming a 10 to 13 meter tsunami, which could threaten the neighboring inhabited island of Tureia.

Maohi (Polynesian) workers who staffed the Moruroa and Fangataufa test sites from 1966 to 1996 have formed "Moruroa e Tatou" (Moruroa and Us), an association to campaign for compensation from the Government of France for the health effects of their work. They have joined with former French military personnel who are members of the Association des Veterans des Essais Nucleaires in France (Association of Nuclear Test Veterans), to campaign for compensation for the health effects of exposure to ionizing radiation.

Although the French government established a compensation scheme known as the Morin law in 2010, veterans groups have criticized the way the law is being implemented. (Of the first 12 cases by French military veterans put before the committee which runs the compensation scheme, only one was granted compensation). Living many thousands of miles away from France, Maohi workers often lack the necessary documentation and resources to mount their case for compensation, with many of the archives remaining closed under national security regulations.

On the occasion of the first International Day against Nuclear Tests the government of Kazakhstan made an important proposal: the establishment of an international fund—to be managed by the United Nations—to support the survivors of nuclear testing.

We endorse this idea and call upon the UN Secretary-General to organize a conference under the auspices of the United Nations to help mobilize resources for the remediation of contamination and health monitoring and rehabilitation of downwinders near nuclear test sites around the world.

States responsible for the testing at major test sites should report to the conference—and on an annual basis every year thereafter—on their current and future efforts and resource allocations to address the health and environmental impacts of nuclear testing and to rehabilitate populations that have been particularly impacted.

Independent nongovernmental experts, and especially members of affected communities should be invited to participate help develop a multi-year program of action.  Many nuclear testing survivors are minorities on the own land whose views have too often been overlooked. That must no longer be the case.

Reinforcing the Test Ban

We must also guard against actions by the nuclear weapon states and would-be nuclear weapon states that could undermine the de facto test moratorium and slow entry into force of the CTBT. Specifically:

a)     We urge states armed with nuclear weapons to refrain from pursuing new types of nuclear weapons or modifying weapons to create new military capabilities through testing or in the laboratory.

The Obama administration declared in its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report that “The United States will not develop new nuclear warheads. Life Extension Programs [LEPs] will use only nuclear components based on previously tested designs, and will not support new military missions or provide for new military capabilities.” However, there is a potential loophole. As noted by Thomas D’Agostino, the head of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration at an April 14, 2010 Congressional hearing, the NPR will allow the national nuclear weapons laboratories to “study all options for ensuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of our nuclear warheads, and we’ll do so on a case-by-case basis.”

In addition, the multibillion dollar U.S. warhead Life Extension Programs will, in some cases, result in warheads with greater accuracy on target. In addition, the LEPs may introduce new complexities that diminish confidence and increase the risk that some future president will be pressured to proof-test the modified design.

Other nuclear-armed nations have not even made “no new nuclear weapons pledges” and some are believed to be working on new warhead designs.

We urge responsible governments to seek clarification regarding their plans and to call upon them to halt the development of new nuclear warheads or modernization of existing warheads, delivery systems, or related infrastructure, for any reason. Such activities may not violate the letter of the CTBT, but they are contrary to one key purpose, which is to halt the qualitative improvement of nuclear arsenals;

b)    We urge nuclear armed states to halt activities at the test sites, including so-called subcritical experiments, which might raise concerns about compliance with the CTBT or could undermine the purpose of the treaty by facilitating qualitative improvements in nuclear weapons;

c)     The five original nuclear weapon states should reiterate that the CTBT bars all nuclear explosions of any yield, anywhere, and adopt transparency measures prior to entry into force that would increase confidence that they are in full compliance with the CTBT prohibition on all nuclear test explosions; and

d)    We call upon all states to fully pay their assessments to the CTBTO, fully assist with work to complete the IMS systems, and continuously and without interruption transmit data from the monitoring stations to provide the most robust capability to detect and deter future nuclear testing; and

e)     In order to further reinforce the de facto global taboo against nuclear testing and deter any state from considering nuclear test explosions in the future, we call upon the UN Security Council to outline appropriate actions that would be considered in response to the resumption of nuclear testing by any state.

We sincerely urge you to take these ideas forward and to explore them at the seventh Article XIV Conference on Facilitating CTBT Entry Into Force on September 23.

Nongovernmental supporters of the CTBT the world over stand ready to contribute to the effort to bring the CTBT into force and address the deadly legacy of nuclear testing.

Thank you.

 

Endorsers:

Dr. Rebecca Johnson,
Author of Unfinished Business: The Negotiation of the CTBT the End of Nuclear Testing (United Nations: 2009), andExecutive Director, Acronym
Institute for Disarmament and Diplomacy

Dominique Lalanne,
Co-Chair,
Armes Nucléaires STOP (France)

Daryl G. Kimball,
Executive Director,
Arms Control Association

Mary Dickson,
a founder of
Downwinders United (United States)

Yasunari Fujimoto,
Secretary General,
Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs (GENSUIKIN)

Paul F. Walker,
Ph.D.Director,
Security and Sustainability,
Global Green USA
(U.S. affilliate of Green Cross Intl., Mikhail Gorbachev, Founding Chairman)

Jonathan Granoff,
President,
Global Security Institute

Christopher Thomas,
Executive Director,
Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (United States)

Dr. Kathleen Sullivan,
Program Director,
Hibakusha Stories

John Loretz,
Program Director,
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War(Recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize)

John Burroughs,
Executive Director,
Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy

Aaron Tovish,
International Director,
2020 Vision Campaign,
Mayors for Peace

Roland Pouira Oldham,
President,
Moruroa e tatou (French Polynesia)

Irma Arguello
Chair and CEO,
Nonproliferation for Global Security Foundation (Argentina)

David Krieger,
President,
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Patrice Bouveret,
Directeur
Observatoire des Armements/CDRPC (France)

Susi Snyder,
Nuclear Disarmament Program Leader,
IKV Pax Christi (Netherlands)

Akira Kawasaki,
Executive Committee Member,
Peace Boat (Japan)

Ichiro Yuasa,
President,
Peace Depot (Japan)

Peter Wilk, M.D.,
Executive Director,
Physicians for Social Responsibility (USA)

Jean-Pierre Dacheux,
Co-Chair,
Pour la Maison de Vigilance (France)

Amb. Jayantha Dhanapala,
President,
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs(Recipient of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize)

Susan Shaer,
Executive Director,
Women’s Action for New Directions

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

 

Description: 

Prepared Statement of Nongovernmental Organization Representative coordinated and delivered by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association  on September 2, 2011 to the UN General Assembly in New York.

International Day Against Nuclear Tests: Translating Words Into Action

By Daryl G. Kimball August 29, 2011 is the second official International Day Against Nuclear Tests . It coincides with the 20th anniversary of the historic events that led to the closure of the former Soviet nuclear test site of Semipalatinsk, where more than 456 explosions contaminated the land and its inhabitants. Citizens of the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan protest nuclear weapons testing at the Soviet nuclear testing site near Semipalatinsk in August, 1989. Photo by Yuri Kuidin. The courageous efforts of the Kazakh people and their allies forced Moscow's communist regime to halt...

Gen. John Shalikashivili: 1936-2011

By Daryl G. Kimball Over the weekend, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993-97, John M. Shalikashvili passed away. As the obituaries in The Washington Post and The New York Times note, he had an amazing personal story and illustrious career. President Barack Obama said, in part, "... the United States has lost a genuine soldier-statesman whose extraordinary life represented the promise of America and the limitless possibilities that are open to those who choose to serve it. From his arrival in the United States as a 16-year old Polish immigrant after the Second World War, to a...

Nuclear-Weapon States Meet in Paris

Daryl G. Kimball

Senior officials from the five original nuclear-weapon states—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—reaffirmed their commitment to the 64-point action plan agreed at the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference and “called on all States Parties to the NPT to work together to advance its implementation,” according to a July 1 joint press statement at the end of a two-day meeting in Paris.

The meeting follows the five countries’ initial September 2009 session on confidence-building measures on disarmament.

The July 1 statement reported that they “continued their previous discussions on the issues of transparency and mutual confidence, including nuclear doctrine and capabilities, and of verification, recognizing such measures are important for establishing a firm foundation for further disarmament efforts.” They also said they would “continue working on an agreed glossary of definitions for key nuclear terms and established a dedicated working group.”

According to the statement, they “shared information on their respective bilateral and multilateral experiences in verification…[and] will continue their discussion of this issue later this year at an expert-level meeting in London.”

The joint statement calls for the “swift entry into force” of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and its “universalization.” All five states have signed the treaty; the United States and China have not yet ratified it.

The countries reiterated their support for immediate commencement of negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on a verifiable fissile material cutoff treaty. They pledged to “renew their efforts with other relevant partners to promote such negotiations.” Pakistan has blocked negotiations at the CD on the issue.

The statement said the group would meet for a third time in the context of the next NPT Preparatory Committee meeting in 2012.

 

Senior officials from the five original nuclear-weapon states—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—reaffirmed their commitment to the 64-point action plan agreed at the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference and “called on all States Parties to the NPT to work together to advance its implementation,” according to a July 1 joint press statement at the end of a two-day meeting in Paris.

New Nuclear Suppliers Rules a Net Plus

Daryl G. Kimball

After years of discussion, the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has agreed on a clearer, tougher set of guidelines designed to prevent the spread of uranium-enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing equipment and technology. The action should help guard against the further proliferation of sensitive equipment and technology that can be used to make fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Although country neutral, the new NSG rules fix one of the holes created by the NSG’s ill-conceived 2008 decision to exempt India from most NSG trading restrictions and should ensure that sensitive enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technologies will not be transferred to India and used in its unsafeguarded military nuclear program.

The new guidelines, which were approved at the NSG's June 23-24 meeting in the Netherlands, bar enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technology exports to states that have not signed or are not in compliance with the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), do not allow comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, and do not allow more extensive monitoring under the terms of an additional protocol, among other criteria.

Only three states have not signed the NPT: India, Israel, and Pakistan. Iran, North Korea, and Syria are currently in noncompliance with their IAEA safeguards obligations. Dozens of states have not yet approved an additional protocol, including Algeria, Egypt, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, whose ambassador to Washington recently threatened that his country would build nuclear weapons if Iran does.

The NSG was formed in 1975 in response to India’s misuse of civilian nuclear assistance for its nuclear weapons program. Its guidelines are voluntary and designed to reinforce legal prohibitions in the NPT and elsewhere on the use of peaceful nuclear technology for military purposes.

The NSG’s policy is a commonsense precaution: Enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technology cannot be safeguarded against misuse for military purposes, and all NSG states are under a legal obligation not to assist other countries, directly or indirectly, in the production of nuclear weapons. Unlike the five original nuclear-armed states, India continues to produce nuclear bomb material and refuses to transform its nuclear test moratorium into a legally binding pledge by signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Not surprisingly, Indian politicians are complaining that the NSG’s latest decision detracts from the so-called clean waiver from NSG rules that the Bush administration rammed through the group in 2008.

U.S. officials have responded like candidates eager not to offend campaign contributors. U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer insisted June 30 that “the White House and the Obama administration strongly and vehemently support the clean waiver for India.”

In reality, the 2008 exemption for India was not clean and unconditional. The United States and other nuclear suppliers did not then and do not now intend to provide India with enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technology, but rather electricity production reactors and fuel. India remains in a special category, outside the nonproliferation mainstream.

The 2008 NSG decision specifically did not apply to enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technology transfers. The decision also notes that the exemption will be reconsidered and probably revoked if India conducts another nuclear explosive test or if it breaks any of its other nonproliferation pledges. In addition, the 2008 U.S. legislation that allows reactor and fuel sales to India includes a similar condition, which was strongly supported by then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), that makes it clear that the United States has the right to terminate all nuclear trade with India if New Delhi’s leaders resume nuclear explosive testing.

If the NSG allows India to become a member, as the Obama administration is now proposing, the group’s ability to hold India accountable would be severely undermined, compounding the damage created by the India-specific exemption. Furthermore, given that India already has made a commitment to meet NSG export guidelines, it is not clear whether or how Indian membership would strengthen the NSG.

The Indian nuclear deal has prompted Israel and Pakistan to lobby for similar exemptions, so far unsuccessfully. Pakistan has accelerated its efforts to increase its capacity to produce plutonium for weapons and has blocked negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty. China has announced it will sell Pakistan two additional nuclear power plants in violation of NSG rules.

Before considering membership options for India, NSG members should actively encourage India to curtail the production of fissile material, sign the CTBT, and freeze further development of long-range ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear weapons.

The 2008 India exemption was a strategic blunder that has complicated relations with India and damaged the nonproliferation effort. The NSG’s new policy on sensitive enrichment and reprocessing items is an important adjustment, but the effort to curtail proliferation and slow down nuclear weapons competition in Asia requires more principled and effective leadership from Washington, New Delhi, and other capitals.

After years of discussion, the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has agreed on a clearer, tougher set of guidelines designed to prevent the spread of uranium-enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing equipment and technology. The action should help guard against the further proliferation of sensitive equipment and technology that can be used to make fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Indian Membership in the NSG? A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Not Come

By Daryl G. Kimball Global efforts to prevent the spread of the world's most deadly weapons depend on universal compliance with rules that constrain the sale of nuclear technology. Too often, however, powerful states try to make exceptions from these rules, or simply ignore them, in order to help powerful commercial nuclear interests score profits or to curry favor with key allies, or both. The latest example is the Obama administration's proposal to create a process for India to join the 46-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)–the nuclear technology control organization established in 1975...

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)