Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

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The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans all nuclear
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

 explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 on 10 September 1996 but it has not entered into force.

Status



The Treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 on 10 September 1996. It opened for signature in New York on 24 September 1996, when it was signed by 71 States, including five of the eight then nuclear-capable states. As of September 2011, 155 states have ratified the CTBT and another 27 states have signed but not ratified it.

The treaty will enter into force 180 days after the 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty have ratified it. These "Annex 2 states" are states that participated in the CTBT’s negotiations between 1994 and 1996 and possessed nuclear power reactors or research reactors at that time. As of April 2009, nine Annex 2 states have not ratified the treaty: China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 have signed but not ratified the Treaty; India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 have not signed it. On 3 May 2010, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 stated it had initiated the CTBT ratification process.

Obligations


(Article I):
  1. Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon
    Nuclear weapon
    A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

     test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control.
  2. Each State Party undertakes, furthermore, to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.

History


Arms control advocates had campaigned for the adoption of a treaty banning all nuclear explosions since the early 1950s, when public concern was aroused as a result of radioactive fall-out from atmospheric nuclear tests and the escalating arms race. Over 50 nuclear explosions were registered between 16 July 1945, when the first nuclear explosive test was conducted by the United States at White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range is a rocket range of almost in parts of five counties in southern New Mexico. The largest military installation in the United States, WSMR includes the and the WSMR Otera Mesa bombing range...

 near Alamogordo, New Mexico
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Alamogordo is the county seat of Otero County and a city in south-central New Mexico, United States. A desert community lying in the Tularosa Basin, it is bordered on the east by the Sacramento Mountains. It is the nearest city to Holloman Air Force Base. The population was 35,582 as of the 2000...

, and 31 December 1953. Prime Minister
Prime Minister of India
The Prime Minister of India , as addressed to in the Constitution of India — Prime Minister for the Union, is the chief of government, head of the Council of Ministers and the leader of the majority party in parliament...

 Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

 of India voiced the heightened international concern in 1954, when he proposed the elimination of all nuclear test explosions worldwide. However, within the context of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, skepticism about the capability to verify compliance with a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty posed a major obstacle to any agreement.

Partial Test Ban Treaty, 1963


Limited success was achieved with the signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty
Partial Test Ban Treaty
The treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water, often abbreviated as the Partial Test Ban Treaty , Limited Test Ban Treaty , or Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is a treaty prohibiting all test detonations of nuclear weapons...

 in 1963, which banned nuclear tests in the atmosphere, underwater and in space. Neither France nor China signed the PTBT. However, the treaty was still ratified by the United States after a 80 to 19 vote in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

.

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, 1968


A major step towards non-proliferation
Nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...

 of nuclear weapons came with the signing of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

 (NPT) in 1968. Under the NPT, non-nuclear weapon states were prohibited from, inter alia, possessing, manufacturing or acquiring nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. All signatories, including nuclear weapon states, were committed to the goal of total nuclear disarmament
Nuclear disarmament
Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a nuclear-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated....

. However, India, Pakistan and Israel have declined to ratify the NPT on grounds that such a treaty is fundamentally discriminatory as it places limitations on states that do not have nuclear weapons while making no efforts to curb weapons development by declared nuclear weapons states.

Negotiations for the CTBT


Given the political situation prevailing in the subsequent decades, little progress was made in nuclear disarmament until the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 in 1991. Parties to the PTBT held an amendment conference that year to discuss a proposal to convert the Treaty into an instrument banning all nuclear-weapon tests; with strong support from the UN General Assembly, negotiations for a comprehensive test-ban treaty began in 1993.

Adoption of the CTBT, 1996


Intensive efforts were made over the next three years to draft the Treaty text and its two annexes. However, the Conference on Disarmament
Conference on Disarmament
Conference on Disarmament is a forum established by the international community to negotiate multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements...

, in which negotiations were being held, did not succeed in reaching consensus on the adoption of the text. Under the direction of Prime Minister John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer
Alexander Downer
Alexander John Gosse Downer is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was Foreign Minister of Australia from March 1996 to December 2007, the longest-serving in Australian history...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 then sent the text to the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, where it was submitted as a draft resolution. On 10 September 1996, the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by a large majority, exceeding two-thirds of the General Assembly's Membership.

US ratification of the CTBT


The US has signed the CTBT, but not ratified it. There is ongoing debate whether or not the US should ratify the CTBT.

The United States has stated that its ratification of the CTBT is conditional upon:
Proponents of ratification claim that it would :
  1. Establish an international norm that would push other nuclear-capable countries like North Korea, Pakistan, and India to sign.
  2. Constrain worldwide nuclear proliferation by vastly limiting a country's ability to make nuclear advancements that only testing can ensure.
  3. Not compromise US national security because the Science Based Stockpile Stewardship Program
    Stockpile stewardship
    Stockpile stewardship refers to the United States program of reliability testing and maintenance of its nuclear weapons without the use of nuclear testing....

     serves as a means for maintaining current US nuclear capabilities without physical detonation.


Opponents of ratification claim that:
  1. The treaty is unverifiable and that others nations could easily cheat.
  2. The ability to enforce the treaty was dubious
  3. The U.S. nuclear stockpile would not be as safe or reliable in the absence of testing.
  4. The benefit to nuclear nonproliferation was minimal.


On 13 October 1999, the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 rejected ratification of the CTBT. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 stated during his 2008 election campaign that "As president, I will reach out to the Senate to secure the ratification of the CTBT at the earliest practical date."

An article in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists describes how a North Korean underground nuclear test on May 25, 2009 was detected and the source located by GPS satellites. The authors suggest that the effectiveness of GPS satellites for detecting nuclear explosions enhances the ability to verify compliance to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, giving the United States more reason to ratify it.

Monitoring of the CTBT


Geophysical
Geophysics
Geophysics is the physics of the Earth and its environment in space; also the study of the Earth using quantitative physical methods. The term geophysics sometimes refers only to the geological applications: Earth's shape; its gravitational and magnetic fields; its internal structure and...

 and other technologies are used to monitor for compliance with the Treaty: forensic seismology
Forensic seismology
Forensic seismology is the forensic use of the techniques of seismology to detect and study distant phenomena, particularly explosions, including those of nuclear weapons....

, hydroacoustics
Hydrophone
A hydrophone is a microphone designed to be used underwater for recording or listening to underwater sound. Most hydrophones are based on a piezoelectric transducer that generates electricity when subjected to a pressure change...

, infrasound
Infrasound
Infrasound is sound that is lower in frequency than 20 Hz or cycles per second, the "normal" limit of human hearing. Hearing becomes gradually less sensitive as frequency decreases, so for humans to perceive infrasound, the sound pressure must be sufficiently high...

, and radionuclide
Radionuclide
A radionuclide is an atom with an unstable nucleus, which is a nucleus characterized by excess energy available to be imparted either to a newly created radiation particle within the nucleus or to an atomic electron. The radionuclide, in this process, undergoes radioactive decay, and emits gamma...

 monitoring. The technologies are used to monitor the underground, the waters and the atmosphere for any sign of a nuclear explosion. Statistical theories and methods are integral to CTBT monitoring
providing confidence in verification analysis. Once the Treaty enters into force, on site inspection will be provided for where concerns about compliance arise.

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization is an international organization that will be established upon the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, a Convention that outlaws nuclear test explosions. Its seat will be Vienna, Austria...

 (CTBTO), an international organization headquartered in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, was created to build the verification regime, including establishment and provisional operation of the network of monitoring stations, the creation of an international data centre, and development of the On Site Inspection capability.

The monitoring network consists of 337 facilities located all over the globe. As of September 2009, close to 250 facilities have been certified. The monitoring stations register data that is transmitted to the international data centre in Vienna for processing and analysis.. The data are sent to states that have signed the Treaty.

See also


  • Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
    Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
    The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization is an international organization that will be established upon the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, a Convention that outlaws nuclear test explosions. Its seat will be Vienna, Austria...

  • Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission
    Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission
    The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, CTBTO Preparatory Commission or CTBTO Prep Com is an international organization based in Vienna, Austria that is tasked with preparing the activities of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization...

  • National Technical Means
  • Nuclear proliferation
    Nuclear proliferation
    Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...

  • Nuclear disarmament
    Nuclear disarmament
    Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a nuclear-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated....

  • Nuclear weapon
    Nuclear weapon
    A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

  • Nuclear warfare
    Nuclear warfare
    Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

  • Nuclear-free zone
    Nuclear-free zone
    A nuclear-free zone is an area where nuclear weapons and nuclear power are banned. The specific ramifications of these depend on the locale in question....

  • Global Security Institute
    Global Security Institute
    The Global Security Institute is a international organization with a mission to eliminate nuclear weapons through international cooperation and security. It aims to influence national laws, seeking to accomplish its mission by focusing on nuclear arms control, non-proliferation, and...

  • Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty