October 5, 1999


                              THE WHITE HOUSE
                       Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 5, 1999

                             PRESS BRIEFING BY
                                                The Briefing Room

12:10 P.M. EDT

     MR. LEAVY:  Good afternoon.  Welcome to the White House.  As you know,
the President is engaged in a major effort on the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty.  He'll be speaking about this issue as a part of the Defense
Reauthorization signing this afternoon.  To give you a little bit more
perspective and detail on the treaty and its provisions, we have an
all-star cast.
     Let me introduce Bob Bell, former Senior Director for Defense and Arms
Control Policy at the National Security Council, coming off the bench this
week for us; followed by John Holum, who is the Under Secretary of State
for Arms Control-designate; followed by Ernie Moniz, Under Secretary of
Energy; and, finally Ted Warner, Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Strategy and Threat Reduction.  Bob, you want to start us off?
     MR. BELL:  Thank you, David.  Let me first say it's great to be back.
I'd like to lead off, by way of introduction, by making a few remarks to
put the debate that's coming on this treaty in context.  And then I will be
followed by a number of my colleagues from the inter-agency that are going
to address specific issues that are central to the debate in more detail.
And then we can take any questions you have.
     I think it's instructive to remember that several months before the
Clinton administration took office, in the fall of 1992, the Senate voted,
for all intents and purposes, to take the United States out of the nuclear
testing business.  In September of 1992, the Senate, by an overwhelming
majority vote, passed the Hatfield-Exon-Mitchell Nuclear Moratorium
Amendment, which had three key elements.  The first was to set an absolute
deadline for the U.S. to stop testing.  The second was to require a major
scientific effort to ensure that we could maintain confidence in our
nuclear weapons, absent actual nuclear tests.  And the third part -- the
last, but not least, part -- of the moratorium was to require the next
administration to negotiate a CTB no later than September 1996.
     Now, the Senate, in its wisdom, recognized the crucial
inter-relationship of these three elements.  First, for the U.S. to stop,
and confidently stop, actual nuclear tests, we needed a very high-tech
program in place to assure that we could maintain very high confidence in
our nuclear weapons -- because for the Senate, as for this administration,
strategic nuclear deterrence still matters.  It's still a critical element
of our national security posture.
     And equally important, the Senate recognized then that a U.S.
unilateral moratorium would have been inimical to our national security
interest, absent some mechanism for getting other nuclear powers, indeed,
the rest of the world if possible, into the same set of restrictions.  And
that is why the Senate demanded that we achieve a CTB by 1996.
     Now, some are apparently arguing, in the course of this debate that's
now beginning, that we should support the continuation of the U.S.
unilateral moratorium, but reject the treaty.  And that strikes me as an
absurdly contradictory position, because it would keep in place,
unilaterally, a total ban on U.S. nuclear testing, but virtually invite the
other nuclear powers and nuclear want-to-be's to conduct nuclear tests of
their own.
     Let's just think about that for a minute.  Let's take the case of
China, which has been much in the news in the last year or so.  Without
nuclear testing, for example, China is going to be greatly constrained in
any effort to put multiple warheads on its existing strategic force.  This
challenge for China of MIRV-ing its strategic force, which could have major
impact on the strategic balance, is going to be benefitted if they can
conduct nuclear tests.  With the CTB in place, that option for China is
greatly constrained.  And with the CTB in place, China will certainly face
a more daunting challenge in trying to take advantage of whatever gains
they did or did not register in the course of nuclear espionage efforts.
     That's precisely why the Cox Commission explicitly noted the value of
the CTB, vis-a-vis the situation we're facing now with China.  So it seems
to me that those in the Senate who are most concerned by Chinese nuclear
programs and Chinese nuclear espionage should be in the forefront of those
supporting this treaty.
     Now, after taking office in 1993, the Clinton administration moved
quickly and decisively to faithfully and fully implement all three parts of
the congressionally-mandated moratorium.  We put in place at the cost of
$4.5 billion a year, a science-based stockpile stewardship program that the
directors of our nuclear labs have told the President they are confident
will allow us to maintain extremely high confidence in our nuclear
inventory even absent nuclear testing.  And we pulled off what some thought
was mission impossible, which was negotiating the CTB to conclusion in the
Conference on Disarmament in Geneva with the United States being the first
country to sign in September, 1996.
     And, lastly, working closely with the Secretary of Defense and the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, we formulated our own package of six crucial
safeguards that supplement the treaty and enhance the U.S. ability to
maintain its national security interest to the highest standards under this
     Now, the critics seem to be making three main arguments against this
treaty.  Let's just think about them briefly for one minute.  The first
argument I hear often is that the stockpile stewardship program won't work.
It won't work notwithstanding the professional judgment of the laboratory
directors that it will.  And not just the laboratory directors.  I would
note that in 1995, the JASONS -- all caps, that's an acronym -- the JASONS
group, which is one of the most prestigious bipartisan groups of American
scientists and physicists, expressed its full confidence in our ability to
do this task.
     Critics, to be sure, can point to dissenting views within the
scientific community.  You can find a scientist, here or there, to quote
that says, I don't think it will work.  And that's what debate is all
about.  But let's remember that there are dissenting scientific views on
the issue of national missile defense, which you're dutifully reporting as
     There are always scientists who are going to have contrary views, and
there are certainly a number of scientists who are saying that missile
defense can't work against realistic targets.  But those on the Hill who
seem to have no faith in American technological prowess and know-how, when
it comes to stockpile stewardship, ironically seem to be the first to
dismiss the views of dissenting scientists on the issue of missile defense.
     The Clinton administration happens to believe in American scientific
prowess and know-how.  We happen to believe that we can do both.  We
believe that we can get NMD to work and we're not going to deploy it unless
it will; and we believe -- as do the lab directors, the JASONS and the
Joint Chiefs of Staff -- that the stockpile stewardship program can
     But what if the dissenting views, God forbid, in this case are right?
What if it turns out that we can land on the moon, but we can't meet this
technological challenge, despite $4.5 billion a year, despite the fact that
we're building on a foundation of over 1,000 actual nuclear tests conducted
by the United States before we stopped in September, 1992.
     The President as assured the Senate in the sixth of the six
safeguards, Safeguard F, that should that eventuality attain, and he said
he does not think it will, that it is extremely remote that it would.  But
should it attain, if he is informed by the Secretary of Defense, the
Secretary of Energy, as advised by the Nuclear Weapons Council and the
nuclear labs and the strategic command that we cannot maintain confidence
in our nuclear strategic deterrent, that he is prepared to withdraw from
the treaty.  The treaty has a clause that allows withdrawal in cases of
supreme national interest.
     Now, the second argument seems to be that we can't verify the treaty.
And I will be the first to tell you that this nuclear test ban treaty is
not absolutely verifiable down to the most minute level of nuclear yield.
We understood that when we negotiated it.  But we maintain and strongly
believe that this treaty is effectively verifiable.  And by that I mean
that any state that wants to conduct nuclear tests to perfect some new,
advanced, or more dangerous nuclear design that could have negative
implications for our national security, is going to have to conduct testing
at such a yield, and in such numbers of tests to have any confidence, that
the treaty is going to have a deterrent effect.
     But I would ask this question:  for those who are concerned by
prospective low-yield nuclear testing among rogue states; for those who are
confused, or concerned, by what Russia may or may not be doing, in tunnels
in Novaya Zemla in the Arctic, how does defeating this treaty help the
problem?  With this treaty, we have tools that we will gain -- in terms of
meeting our monitoring requirements -- that we otherwise will not have:
additional monitoring stations and, most importantly, an option for on-site
inspection.  Defeating the treaty would deny our intelligence community the
additional benefits of those additional tools.
     Now, last, it's said, well, there's no point in the United States
approving, because there's a number of other countries that have to
approve, and they're not going to do it, so what does it matter?  The
treaty will never come into force, anyway.
     And I would simply point out that two years ago, we had a great and
historic debate in the United States Senate on the Chemical Weapons Treaty.
And that same proposition was put on the table.  That same proposition was
debated.  That same proposition was taken to a Senate vote, because we
faced amendments that would have held our observance of the Chemical
Weapons Treaty hostage to Russia, or China, or rogue states, ratifying the
treaty themselves.  The Senate, in its wisdom two years ago, decisively
defeated all of those amendments.  And the critics were quite simply proven
wrong, because after the United States ratified the Chemical Weapons
Treaty, Russia ratified.  And China ratified.  And Iran ratified.  And that
treaty is fully enforced, and every month gains additional adherents.
     We think the best way to prevent nuclear states from advancing their
stockpile is to put this treaty in place.  And we think the best chance for
putting the treaty in place, and persuading countries like India and
Pakistan -- who are on the threshold of saying yes -- to say yes, is for us
to show leadership.  After all, throughout history, history has changed
when the United States has led.
     And I will end there, and turn it over to John Holum.
     UNDER SECRETARY HOLUM:  Thank you, Bob.  The Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty has a long history, a bipartisan history, with support from our
strongest national security leaders.  The quest for a Comprehensive Test
Ban actually goes back to the Eisenhower administration, when President
Eisenhower ordered a moratorium on testing in 1958.  President Kennedy's
partial test ban in 1963 banned testing in the atmosphere.  And in 1974 and
1976, threshold test ban treaties banned underground explosions under 150
     As Bob said, in 1993 President Clinton, following a directive from
Congress, directed renewed efforts.  And the result was that we met the
deadline, and he signed in 1996 a treaty that bans nuclear weapons test
explosions, and all other nuclear explosions.  No exceptions.  No
thresholds.  So President Eisenhower's original goal has finally been
     Now, we made clear in the negotiations that we would continue to
maintain our stockpiles.  The treaty bans the bang, not the bomb.  Under
Secretary Moniz will speak to the safety and reliability of our stockpiles.
We also negotiated persistently to make sure that the treaty allowed use of
our own national technical means of verification to monitor compliance,
along with the official treaty monitoring system of some 321 sensors all
around the world -- including, for example, some 30 additional sensors in
     Now, Bob has said we can't detect down to zero.  But we have reported
formally to the Senate that the treaty is effectively verifiable -- that we
can, under this treaty, protect our security.  Ratification by 44 named
states, including the United States, is necessary for entry into force.
Forty-one of those 44 have signed.  Twenty-three of those, and many of our
other -- 23 of those have ratified so far, including France and the United
Kingdom, and many of our other allies.  As with the chemical weapons, we
expect that our lead will be followed.
     As to security benefits, Assistant Secretary Warner will address
these.  But practically speaking, the treaty does limit the ability of
Russia and China to upgrade their nuclear forces.  But also keep in mind
that they're already nuclear weapon states.
     For us, the main security value of this treaty is non-proliferation.
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty strengthens the global standard against
the spread of nuclear weapons, and makes it much harder for any country to
make nuclear weapons, especially smaller, lighter designs that are easy to
conceal and deliver -- the kind that would be most threatened to us.
     On South Asia, both India and Pakistan have pledged at various times
to sign.  The CTBT there can help contain a deadly nuclear arms race
between countries that aren't constrained by the nonproliferation treaty.
If we get North Korea under the test ban they'll be less able to exploit
their ballistic missile capabilities against us.  The same is true of Iran,
and they have signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
     Nonproliferation is an urgent national priority.  The United States is
the leader of the global effort against the spread of weapons of mass
destruction.  A world in which the rogues have nuclear weapons would be a
world of peril for all Americans.  The Test Ban Treaty is not a silver
bullet, but it's another valuable tool.  Nonproliferation is hard, uphill
work.  The American people should not expect good results if the Senate
denies us the means.

     With or without the CTBT we have to monitor possible nuclear test
activity by others.  Why not make the task easier by adding the treaty's
international monitoring system and the possibility of on-site inspections
to our own assets.  With or without the CTBT we have no plans and no need
to test -- why not extend the same limits formally with the force of law to
     The Senate faces a basic choice of direction.  No treaty ever meets
the standard of perfection.  But we and the world are now set on the path
away from nuclear explosions.  Defeat of the treaty would reverse that
course, begin to unravel the standard and head back toward more nuclear
tests -- big tests, most likely by countries we'd rather didn't have these
weapons.  The stakes for our global leadership and our security goals
couldn't be higher.
     UNDER SECRETARY MONIZ:  One of the major issues in this debate, of
course, is that of our ability to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear
stockpile in the absence of testing.  And, as Bob Bell said earlier, this
remains a supreme national interest for this country.  There are several
challenges in this task:  maintaining weapons as they age; establishing a
capability to replace and certify new weapons components; training new
weapons scientists; and reestablishing an operational manufacturing
     These challenges are being met today.  I can say that with a
confidence that is grounded, first of all, in our history.  Our history, 50
years of experience of more than 1,000 nuclear tests, of 150 tests with
modern weapon types, and over -- or approximately 15,000 surveillance
tests.  This is really the grounding of our program.  Each weapon in the
enduring stockpile has been thoroughly tested and is subjected to regular,
in-depth surveillance.
     Now, seven years following our last testing experience, we have
implemented, in this administration, an experimentally based, scientific
program, using both experiment and computer simulation, to provide the
integrating elements to sustain reliability.       This program, I want to
stress, already has had many successes.  We have a detailed, coordinated,
integrated weapons plan -- one also integrated with military requirements.
We have gone through three rigorous certification procedures involving the
labs, STRATCOM, the Nuclear Weapons Council and others -- including
scientific advisors.  We have resolved, today, stockpile problems that were
not resolved in the years of testing.
     We have met new military requirements in the absence of testing -- for
example, requirements for a deep penetrating weapon, the so-called B-61-11.
We have obtained new, critical scientific data using non-nuclear
experiments -- for example, we now know how plutonium behaves when it ages,
one of the key questions for maintaining the stockpile.
     We have attained already world-record computing speeds, as we march
towards an unprecedented capability of 100 trillion operations per second,
to provide new computer simulation capabilities, revolutionizing our
stockpiling capabilities -- and, frankly, American science, as well.  We
have reestablished manufacturing capabilities.  We have a tritium decision.
We are reestablishing a plutonium pit production capability.  We have
refocused, through this program, the missions at the weapons laboratories,
with a new, science-based program.
     These are accomplishments, already today, in our progress towards a
full new scientific infrastructure, that will be in place, completely, in
the next three to five years.  This involves high-powered lasers,
high-powered compression devices.  It involves, as I said earlier, an
unprecedented computational capability.  And it involves experiments,
non-nuclear experiments, at our test site, that also addresses one of the
other safeguards the President put in place -- that of maintaining our
ability to resume testing in the unlikely event that we should have to.
     So this is a very aggressive program.  It is well-integrated.  It is a
major science and technology capability that is being put in place,
building upon what Bob Bell referred to as unparalleled American
technological strength.
     There have been questions raised, in that, again, some scientists
question the ability to maintain our confidence down the road, five, 10, 15
years down the road.  First of all, we are addressing that every year
through this rigorous certification process put in place.  But, secondly, I
want to stress that, frankly, the issue of the scientists working on parts
of this program, questioning, is actually the heart of the program.
That's what doing science is all about.  It is then up to the lab
directors, et cetera, to integrate the information they receive, including
the questions, to make a judgment to the President each and every year
about the safety and liability of the stockpile.  We are on the verge of a
fourth certification process in which exactly that assurance will be given
to the President.  Thank you.
     DR. WARNER:  Thanks.  Let me just address a couple of the issues from
the Department of Defense's perspective on the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty.  We have heard from previous speakers the issue of what do we gain
from this treaty.  Let me underscore those issues.  First of all, the
treaty will make it more difficult for the existing nuclear states to
develop additional, more advanced weapons.
     Without the ability to do significant testing, then they will not be
able to, in fact, develop new weapons.  So in the absence of testing, the
ability to be confronted with new weapons that might bring new dangers to
the United States, basically will be foreclosed.  Secondly, this same
prohibition makes it difficult for the nuclear want-to-be's to acquire real
nuclear capabilities with any confidence whatsoever.  In the absence of the
ability to test, there are some theories that they might be able to get
simple vision weapons, but even those weapons they could not have any real
confidence that they would work.
     The third issue that often emerges is the question about the
reliability of our nuclear weapons, the issue that Under Secretary Moniz
has just described in some detail.
     In the Department of Defense, we work in cooperation with the
Department of Energy to do an annual certification of the safety and
reliability of American nuclear weapons in the absence of the ability to
test.  This system has been in place for the last few years.  As he said,
we've gone through three certifications, we are on the brink of a fourth.
     That certification process involves a highly cooperative activity
between the services, the Strategic Command, and the nuclear weapons labs.
On an annual basis, each individual weapon has a working group that focuses
upon it, develops a comprehensive plan for activity for the year in order
to do diagnostics about the reliability and effectiveness of the weapon;
they carry out that set of activities, relying increasingly on the new
capabilities being developed under the Department of Energy in its
science-based stockpile stewardship program.  The supercomputers, the
ability to do subcritical testing, that's high explosive testing with
fissile material, but one which does not, in fact, create a nuclear chain
reaction, and a series of other kinds of activities that simulate various
elements of the combined activities that occur when a nuclear weapon
     This activity is then reviewed independently by a group that works as
an advisory panel for the Commander In Chief of Strategic Command.  It is
also reviewed by key figures within the Pentagon, and on the basis of that
review, the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Defense, on an annual
basis, provide a certification to the President, if they are confident from
all of the information they have gotten, that our weapons are safe and
reliable and no resumption of nuclear testing is required.
     The Joint Chiefs of Staff have recently, within this past week,
examined this question of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  They have
concluded once again that in the presence of the six safeguards that were
noted earlier -- safeguards that President Clinton made clear would have to
be part and parcel, the conditions under which we could find it acceptable
to sign and be part of a comprehensive test ban that, in the presence of
those six safeguards, they are confident that they can sustain the nuclear
capabilities of the United States and, therefore, they told the Secretary
of Defense and told the President that they support the conclusion and
ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
     So we can sustain our nuclear forces, hopefully at increasingly lower
levels, through the arms reduction process.  But we will be able to sustain
them in the absence of nuclear testing, thanks to the wonders of American
science as was noted earlier.
     This treaty is in the interest of the United States; we very strongly
believe that the Senate ought to ratify it and we ought to go about getting
the rest of the ratifications to bring it into force.  Thanks.
     Q    John or Bob, how is it with all this information that you've
failed to be able to persuade the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services
Committee, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate
Majority Leader?  What don't they see?
     MR. BELL:  Well, I would just caution against any rush to judgment.
The President signed this treaty three years ago.  In September, we
submitted it to the Senate in 1997.  For two years -- for two years -- we
have been asking the Senate for a chance to make our case in a hearing in
the Committee of Jurisdiction, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a
very prestigious and historic American committee.
     We have not had a single hearing on the CTB in the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee.  We think we have a case.  This case we just laid out
for you which, if presented to the United States Senate and to individual
senators in turn, is compelling and persuasive.  But we are now very
pleased to learn that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at the
instruction of its chairman, Senator Helms, is going to have that first
hearing this week, on Thursday, at which we will make this case that we
just made to you.  And we would hope that as many senators as possible
would withhold judgment on this treaty until they hear all the facts, pro
and con, and make a decision before they vote, but not before the hearings
even begin.
     Q    Which case would you like to make if the United States, if the
Senate does not ratify the treaty?  What kind of case are you going to try
to make two to three years down the road?  What will the nuclear world look
     MR. BELL:  We are working very hard this week to win this, but I'm not
going to get into hypotheticals.  I'm not assuming failure; I'm assuming
     Q    Mr. Warner, or Dr. Warner, you talked about the verification
process, or the certification process that the Department of Energy and the
Pentagon go through each year.  Let me raise not a hypothetical question,
but a devil's advocate question.  These reports are put together by a team
of scientists and appointed political figures.  Knowing that they get $4.5
billion a year to prove that these computer simulations work, knowing what
result the administration wants and has politically made a judgment that it
will accept, is there ever a Team B of scientists with access to the same
data -- not people who are captive members of the nuclear labs and the
nuclear priesthood -- that look at the same information from an outsider
point of view, without taking a paycheck from the administration and
marching to political orders?
     DR. WARNER:  There is precisely such a Team B in existence, and it has
worked on each of these certification processes.  The Commander In Chief of
the Strategic Command has a group of voluntary individuals, former weapons
scientists, former military officers, experts in defense and security
issues, called the Strategic Advisory Group.
     There is a sub-panel within that called the Stockpile Assessment Team.
Within that team, we have individuals in most cases that are alumni of
responsibilities, if you will, in the nuclear weapons fraternity over the
last several years.  This group has an opportunity to review in depth the
individual reports, weapon by weapon by weapon, and then they provide an
independent assessment to the Commander of the Strategic Command annually.
     Q    And have they always ratified the findings of the in-house team?
     DR. WARNER:  So far, they have, with each time, concluded that we did
not need to initiate nuclear testing.  They have identified problems in
many areas and helped us identify -- and pushed us most certainly, to get
about the process of fixing them.  In most cases, we were already aware of
these and the process was underway, but they do provide an independent,
critical view of the state of our nuclear weapons stockpile.
     Q    Do they have access to all the highly classified information?
     DR. WARNER:  They do.  They are cleared and they have access to all of
the information that they seek.
     UNDER SECRETARY MONIZ:  Let me just add one comment to that.  In
addition, there is a well-known, what we call a peer review process
involving the two weapons design laboratories.  Each laboratory that
designed originally a specific weapon system in the enduring stockpile has
the lead responsibility for the annual review, but that is then, in turn,
reviewed by the other laboratory, and that review has never been described
as terribly gentle.
     MR. BELL:  Let me just add one third point of reassurance.  When this
certification that the President submits to the Congress goes forward --
and as Secretary Warner said we've done, three of these, annually, so far,
a fourth one is getting teed up to go up -- we don't just send the Congress
a one-line bumper sticker "the weapons are still safe,"  We submit all of
the supporting documentation from all of these scientific groups.
     So there's another safeguard in place here.  It was envisioned by the
Constitution.  It's called the United States Congress.  They're getting all
of the data, all of the views.  They can parse that, they can hold
hearings, they can call people in.  If they think that someone's just being
bought off here, there are many, many resources available to the United
States Congress to exercise its constitutional oversight role.
     But, in fact, what the Congress has done through the last several
years -- and Secretary Moniz always can give you the details, has funded
this $4.5 billion stockpile stewardship program as we've requested, plus or
minus, you know, on the margin.  So they must have some confidence that
this could work, because they are appropriating and authorizing the
expenditure of these funds for this purpose.
     Q    Mr. Bell, the point has been made by the Chairmen of the Armed
Services and the Foreign Relations Committee and the Majority Leader that
the time isn't right to ratify this treaty, that until such time as the
United States can with absolute confidence verify subcritical nuclear
testing, the United States should neither give up the stick of deterrence
that testing provides or the ability to develop new weapons.  How do you
allay those fears?
     MR. BELL:  Well, first, let's be clear.  Any testing that's done
sub-critical -- below the threshold in which the explosion achieves nuclear
criticality -- is permitted by the treaty.  The United States insisted on
that; that's one of the means we intend to use to maintain confidence in
the weapons.  We conducted such a sub-critical test just last week.  We've
been doing two or three a year --
     UNDER SECRETARY MONIZ:  Three this year.
     MR. BELL: -- the last couple of years.  That's part of the program.
     The issue is extremely low-yield testing, like in the tens of tons --
the kind of test that would be comparable to an explosion at a construction
site, or setting off a large-yield conventional weapon.  Now, my question
would be this:  how better to get a handle on that than to have an on-site
inspection option?  Because you're never, ever -- it is beyond the realms
of American science -- as good as American science is as we know it today
-- to imagine a seismic monitoring regime, with stations in place, that
could detect and discriminate a nuclear test of, say, ten tons, from a lot
of tests that are going on all around the world of conventional weapons;
from construction activity that's going on around the world; or from the
background earthquake noise that's going on around the world.
     So there is a natural physical limit to how low you can go with
absolute verification, if you're relying on seismic detection.  That is why
the crucial breakthrough for the CTB was the American success in persuading
the world that there had to be on-site inspection.  That wasn't a given.
When we started the negotiation, there were a lot of countries that fought
that.  And we worked hard to get on-site inspection into the final treaty.

That's the means to do it.
     My recommendation to Senator Warner -- who I worked with for many
years and have great respect for -- would be to consider how we're going to
do this monitoring task, how the Intelligence Committee is going to do
that, absent the tools that the CTB will bring to bear on the problem.
     Q    And are you confident that if you petition the North Koreans,
under the provisions of the treaty, for an on-site inspection, they'll open
the doors and welcome you in?
     MR. BELL:  Well, they don't have any choice, if the international
organization that will implement the CTB decides to approve an on-site
inspection.  It's not at the subject -- it's not at the volition of the
challenged state.  If the international organization votes to send in the
inspectors, they must be received -- or they are then found in violation of
the treaty.  And the treaty contains provisions on sanctions for states
that are in violation.
     Q    How do you think that Iraq is going to react to this?  Are you
hopeful that on-site inspections in Iraq will be effective?
     MR. BELL:  Well, Iraq is subject to, has been subject to a whole
nuclear inspection regime by the IAEA.  In many senses, North Korea took
the fall once the IAEA realized in the wake of the original Iraqi
experience in the Gulf War how far Iraq had gotten under the previously lax
IAEA safeguards.
     In the wake of the Gulf War, the IAEA said we've got to have a tighter
regime, and North Korea fell afoul of that.  So there are a lot of
different ways to approach this problem.  But states that are signatory to
the NPT and are participating in the IAEA are facing a very robust set of
inspections under that regime as well.
     UNDER SECRETARY HOLUM:  Let me just add to that, that the test ban --
the reason I didn't mention Iraq in the rack-up of countries that are of
particular concern is that Iraq is, as Bob said, subject to this additional
set of constraints and inspections that go way beyond, admittedly, what the
test ban provides for.  It's very important to recognize that those will
remain in place -- the Security Council's requirement to enforce those --
regardless of the CTBT, those controls were made on Iraq.
     Q    Two things.  You said earlier, I believe it was you who said that
China and Russia could continue to upgrade their nuclear forces.  For us,
the main benefit from this treaty is nonproliferation.  So would you
explain why China and Russia would be able to do this, with special
provisions for them?  And the other question is, in terms of a computer
simulations you do, if actual testing is a 10, how good are computer
simulations on a scale of 10?
     UNDER SECRETARY HOLUM:  What I said was that it would constrain Russia
and China; but the constraints on Russia and China, since they're already
nuclear weapon states, are less important to us from a security standpoint
than the constraints on other countries that might want to be nuclear
weapon states.
     As Bob said, it will constrain China's capability to exploit whatever
information it has in pursuing advanced new warhead designs from any
source.  It'll make it harder for them to develop multiple,
independently-targetable warheads.  Russia will also be constrained.  There
may be some things they can do.  Most things that head toward the direction
of significant new weapons, they couldn't.  So it'll constrain both of
those.  That's important to us, but the even more important value of the
treaty is to prevent the spread to more countries.
     UNDER SECRETARY MONIZ:  On the question about simulations:   first, I
think it's very important to stress that the program is not simply a
simulation program.  We are not trying to maintain weapons simply on the
basis of computer simulations.  It's an experimentally based program.
We have the historical data on these weapons systems.  And I want to stress
we are doing stockpile stewardship.  I mentioned a variety of facilities.
We are doing experiments on virtually every subsystem of the weapon.  We
are learning about how components behave as they age.
     Then we use the simulation -- which has been benchmarked against our
historical tests -- to understand how a change in a particular property
would modify the weapon's performance, and then either do a corrective
action or say that it's okay.  And the simulations have already reached the
point, as I mentioned, that we are even able to explain historical
anomalies in previous tests as part of our benchmarking.
     But think of the simulations as a technique to integrate our
experimental and observational data as the weapons age, and not as a
stand-alone way to try to understand a very, very complicated device.
     Q    Secretary Holum, regarding the sub-critical tests, many in the
anti-nuclear lobby -- and this is an especially important issue in Japan --
say that because they involve fissile material, they are against the --
they violate the spirit of the treaty that you're promoting today.  Will
you consider that if you are really committed to banning nuclear tests, why
doesn't the United States halt these sub-critical tests?
     UNDER SECRETARY HOLUM:  For precisely the reason that Ernie and others
have just been describing.  We made very clear during the course of the
negotiations that this was not a process to eliminate nuclear weapons.
They remain a part of our strategy.  They need to be maintained safely and
reliably.  And sub-critical, non-nuclear experiments are part of that
process, and are important to that process.
     What you can't do -- and the dividing line under the treaty -- is you
can't have a self-sustaining chain reaction.  You can't go super-critical.
You can't have a nuclear explosion.  That dividing line was well-understood
at the time.  It was clear to all the participants, all the countries that
were involved in the negotiation -- 61 countries, at the end.  So nobody
should be surprised by this.  And it's fully consistent with the position
we took throughout.
     Q    Russia has suggested that they would like their scientists to
have access to U.S. supercomputers used in these testing simulations.  Is
the United States willing to consider giving Russia and any other states
access to these supercomputers to simulate testing, in order to encourage
compliance with the CTBT?
     Q    Why not?  Why not?
     UNDER SECRETARY HOLUM:  Because we have an obligation to maintain the
U.S. stockpile safely and reliably.  We're not in the business of
maintaining other countries' nuclear stockpiles.  I would add that Russia
     Q    Even if that will encourage compliance?
     UNDER SECRETARY HOLUM:  Russia has signed the treaty.  We expect
they'll ratify when and if we do.  The same with China.  And they can
maintain their stockpile under the treaty; they have the same rights we do.
Our technology is different.  Our needs are different.  They have a
different history, and different types of nuclear weapons.
     So mirror-imaging doesn't work here.  We'll do what we need to do, and
I'm sure they'll do what they need to do within the limits of the treaty.
     Q    I'm curious about the nuclear waste situation -- it's not quite
on the topic.  Do you mind, David?  The situation -- how dangerous is the
fact that the nuclear weapons are -- nuclear waste materials are scattered
around the country and will not be consolidated at Yucca Mountain any time
in the foreseeable future?
     UNDER SECRETARY MONIZ:  I assume you're referring here to commercial,
nuclear power plant, spent fuel?
     Q    The Yucca Mountain.
     UNDER SECRETARY MONIZ:  Yes, the situation there is that a National
Academy report has stated that there is no technical problem with continued
storage at the 72 locations which currently hold nuclear spent fuel.  There
are issues of reaching capacity at certain spent fuel pools, et cetera.
But there is no recognizable danger.  And the National Academy, as I say,
has endorsed that.
     So we are proceeding on pace to finish our scientific evaluation of
Yucca Mountain -- understand how water flows, understand engineering
properties -- and we expect to submit a suitability recommendation to the
President in 2001.
     Q    If that can't be utilized, what alternatives do you have?
     UNDER SECRETARY MONIZ:  The alternatives would be to continue with
some form of storage until the geological issue is resolved --
specifically, dry cast storage, et cetera.  But I do want to stress that we
issued a so-called viability assessment last December, and it explicitly
stated that today we see no show-stoppers in the science for Yucca
Mountain.  We do have more work to do.  We will complete that, as I say, by
2001, and make a recommendation to the President.
     MR. LEAVY:  Thanks, guys.
                 END                        12:55 P.M. EDT