The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty marks an historic milestone in efforts
to reduce the nuclear threat by prohibiting any nuclear explosion, anytime, anywhere.
President Clinton has announced concrete, specific Safeguards that define the conditions
under which the United States will enter into a comprehensive test ban. These Safeguards
strengthen the United States commitments in the areas of stockpile stewardship, maintenance
of our nuclear laboratories, intelligence, monitoring and verification, and test readiness.
To help meet the Safeguards requirements, the Department of Energy successfully
conducted a high explosive subcritical experiment, named Stagecoach, at the Nevada
Test Site on March 25. Subcritical experiments are designed to obtain scientific data
and technical information on the effects of aging and behavior of nuclear weapon
materials. The experiments support DOE’s Science Based Stockpile Stewardship Program
to maintain the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without
underground testing. These experiments are called “subcritical” because no critical
mass is formed and therefore no self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction can occur.
President Clinton recently visited the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and was
briefed on the Stockpile Stewardship Program. He was advised by all three Directors
of our nuclear labs -- John Browne (Los Alamos), Bruce Tarter (Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory) and Paul Robinson (Sandia National Laboratories) of their
confidence in the Stockpile Stewardship Program and its ability to maintain
America’s nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing.
President Clinton, in his commitment to Stockpile Stewardship as a cornerstone of a
comprehensive test ban, recently wrote to 30 members of Congress: “The CTBT enjoys the
support of four former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the current
Chairman, the Joint Chiefs, and the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command. The
support of our nation’s current and former military leaders for the CTBT is directly
tied to the six CTBT Safeguards I announced on August 11, 1995. Four of these Safeguards
are directly related to the DOE Stockpile Stewardship Program, underscoring the importance
of this program to our nation’s security and to our arms control and nonproliferation
The President continued, “I want to assure you that the Stockpile Stewardship Program
is being implemented in keeping with both the letter and spirit of the CTBT.”