Test Ban News

The CTBT Will Improve U.S. Ability to Verify Test Ban

America’s ability to detect nuclear testing worldwide will be enhanced by ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

As President Clinton said before meeting with his national security team on Monday:  “If this Treaty is ratified, there are new tools to monitor the testing levels.  We’ll have monitoring stations, we can do on-site visits.  There’s the deterrent impact of a country signing and then getting caught violating it.  So we’ll have a lot more ability to pick up all kinds of testing at all levels and a lot more deterrent against it if we ratify the Treaty than if we don’t.”

While no treaty is 100 percent verifiable, we believe the monitoring capabilities of our National Intelligence Means, together with the Treaty’s verification provisions, and our diplomatic efforts, provide the United States with the means to make the CTBT effectively verifiable. 

The Treaty is effectively verifiable because of the significant probability of detection by a treaty-mandated system of 321 monitoring stations, other national and international monitoring networks, and the deterrent to cheating that the verification regime, including on-site inspection, 

provides.  These will ensure a very high cost to a potential evader.

The Treaty requires the establishment of an extensive International Monitoring System (IMS).  This system consists of four overlapping networks designed to detect, locate, and identify explosions by looking for different types of evidence.  This global network includes a seismic system to monitor seismic signals, a radionuclide network designed to detect radioactive traces that might be left behind from a nuclear explosion, a hydroacoustic system to detect nuclear explosions on or under water, and an infrasound system to detect nuclear explosions in the atmosphere.  This system provides us access to stations in regions of concern, including the installation or upgrade of 31 stations in Russia, 11 stations in China, and 17 stations in the Middle East. 

The Treaty also permits on-site inspections in the event of suspect activities.  These are carefully crafted to ensure that inspectors will be able to gather critical information in a short time frame for aiding in the determination of compliance, while ensuring that the inspected state’s legitimate interests are protected.

Produced by the White House Working Group on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. 
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