Physicians for Social Responsibility Denounces
Indian Nuclear Test
P R E S S R E L E A S E
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 11, 1998
Contact: Robert W. Tiller, 202-898-0150, ext. 220
Sharon Pickett, 301-365-9307
The world was shocked to learn that India performed three nuclear tests
today. Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) strongly denounces
this dangerous and irresponsible act and calls on India to refrain
from further nuclear testing.
"India's decision to test encourages countries such as Pakistan to enter
the nuclear arms race and undermines the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty now observed by 185 countries," said Robert K. Musil, Ph.D.,
Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility. "This action
will undoubtedly spur some misguided U.S. legislator to advocate a
resumption of U.S. testing just when we should be moving full speed
ahead with ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty."
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a global agreement to ban
testing of nuclear weapons, has been signed by 149 countries and
ratified by thirteen. The United States is a signatory but has not
ratified it. "Our nation should be demonstrating international
leadership by ratifying the CTBT this summer," said Robert W. Tiller,
PSR’s Director of Security Programs.
The CTBT would help to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and curtail
the development of new types of weapons by both nuclear and non-nuclear
states. The treaty is verifiable, providing for an on-site inspection
system as well as a sophisticated network of air, water and ground-based
monitoring stations that would be capable of detecting nuclear test
explosions anywhere in the world.
Opponents of the CTBT claim that we need to test nuclear bombs in order
to ensure the reliability of our nuclear arsenals. But non-explosive
tests and inspections are more than adequate to ensure the safety and
reliability of existing weapons. The chairman of the joint chiefs of
staff and four of his predecessors have all endorsed ratification of the
CTBT and confirmed that CTBT implementation would not diminish
Despite widespread public support for the CTBT, Senator Jesse Helms has
blocked CTBT hearings in the Senate and appears determined to prevent
the U.S. from ratifying this important treaty. Senator Helms and
his supporters may try to use India's nuclear test as one more delaying
tactic to stall action on CTBT.
"In addition to escalating the arms race, today's nuclear explosion
threatens the health and safety of the entire international community,"
said Dr. Musil. "The Indian government claims that its test posed no
threat to the environment. But nuclear explosions, even when they are
conducted underground, release deadly radioactive materials into the
atmosphere and water table, posing health risks for generations to
come. A recent report by the National Cancer Institute reveals that
radioactive fallout from nuclear testing in the 1950s and early '60s
resulted in severe health consequences for millions of Americans."
Physicians for Social Responsibility is an organization of health care
professionals and others working to end nuclear testing and abolish
nuclear weapons. It is the U.S. affiliate ofInternational Physicians for
the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.