Stages Towards a New Test Ban

  • Paul G. Richards


After a lengthy period in which the subject was of concern primarily to specialists, limiting nuclear testing has once again become a prominent political issue. Actions by Congress and diplomatic moves by the United States, the Soviet Union and other nations have led many observers to conclude that there could be significant progress toward a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the next few years. However progress will not be easy, since the debate over testing has become polarized over the last ten years and opposing positions are very strongly held. Some seek a CTBT as soon as possible, and others want no restraints whatever beyond those currently in effect. Opponents of a CTBT assert that verification is still a problem, and that nuclear testing is essential to U.S. security to ensure stockpile reliability, modernize nuclear weapons systems, gauge the effects of nuclear explosions on military hardware, and avoid technological surprise by an adversary.1 The effect of dead-locked debate has, of course, been to preserve the status quo.


Nuclear Weapon Seismic Signal Nuclear Explosion Seismic Monitoring Underground Nuclear Explosion 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    U.S. Congress, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Intelligence Support to Arms Control, Report 100–450, November 19, 1987, p. 20.Google Scholar
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    Nuclear Arms Control, Background and Issues (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1985), pp.189–91. For extensive detail, see Robert Gilpin, American Scientists and Nuclear Weapons Policy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1962);Google Scholar
  3. H. K. Jacobson and E. Stein, Diplomats, Scientists, and Politicians (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1966).Google Scholar
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    Paul Doty, “A Nuclear Test Ban,” Foreign Affairs, Spring 1987, pp.750–69.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Harold A. Feiveson, Christopher E. Paine, and Frank von Hippel, “A Low Yield Test Ban is Feasible;” and George H. Miller, Paul S. Brown, and Milo D. Nordyke, “Facing Nuclear Reality,” Science, vol. 238, October 23, 1987, pp. 455–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 14.
    Otto Nutti, “Yield Estimates of Nevada Test Site Explosions Obtained from Seismic Lg Waves,” Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 91, no. B2, February 10, 1986, pp.2137–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Ralph W. Alewine III, “Seismic sensing of Soviet tests,” Defense 85, December 1985, pp. 11–21.Google Scholar
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    Anjon Franklin, Letter to the Editor, Science, vol. 233, September 26, 1986, p. 1367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 18.
    Lawrence Weiler, “The ACDA Scandal; A Critical Agency Becomes a Basket Case,” Arms Control Today, July 1983, pp. 1–3, 7–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Krepon and Mary Umberger 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul G. Richards

There are no affiliations available

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