Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
Participation in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
|Signed||10 September 1996|
|Location||New York City|
|Effective||Not in force|
|Condition||180 days after it is ratified by|
|Ratifiers||164 (states that need to take further action for the treaty to enter into force: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, United States)|
|Depositary||Secretary-General of the United Nations|
|Languages||Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish|
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty by which states agree to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 but it has not entered into force due to the non-ratification of eight specific states.
To date, over 2,000 nuclear tests have been carried out at different locations all over the world. Arms control advocates had campaigned for the adoption of a treaty banning all nuclear explosions since the early 1950s, when public concern was aroused as a result of radioactive fall-out from atmospheric nuclear tests and the escalating arms race. Over 50 nuclear explosions were registered between 16 July 1945, when the first nuclear explosive test was conducted by the United States at White Sands Missile Range near Alamogordo, New Mexico, and 31 December 1953. Prime Minister Nehru of India voiced the heightened international concern in 1954, when he proposed the elimination of all nuclear test explosions worldwide. However, within the context of the Cold War, skepticism about the capability to verify compliance with a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty posed a major obstacle to any agreement.
Partial Test Ban Treaty
Limited success was achieved with the signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, which banned nuclear tests in the atmosphere, underwater and in space, but not underground. Neither France nor China signed the PTBT. They did sign it later though, France on 1974 and China on 1980. However, the treaty was still ratified by the United States after an 80 to 19 vote in the United States Senate. While the PTBT reduced atmospheric fallout, underground nuclear testing can also vent radioactivity into the atmosphere, and radioactivity released underground may seep into the ground water. Moreover, the PTBT had no restraining effects on the further development of nuclear warheads.
Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty
A major step towards non-proliferation of nuclear weapons came with the signing of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968. Under the NPT, non-nuclear weapon states were prohibited from, among other things, possessing, manufacturing or acquiring nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. All signatories, including nuclear weapon states, were committed to the goal of total nuclear disarmament. However, India, Pakistan and Israel have declined to sign the NPT on grounds that such a treaty is fundamentally discriminatory as it places limitations on states that do not have nuclear weapons while making no efforts to curb weapons development by declared nuclear weapons states.
Negotiations for the CTBT
Given the political situation prevailing in the subsequent decades, little progress was made in nuclear disarmament until the end of the Cold War in 1991. Parties to the PTBT held an amendment conference that year to discuss a proposal to convert the Treaty into an instrument banning all nuclear-weapon tests; with strong support from the UN General Assembly, negotiations for a comprehensive test-ban treaty began in 1993.
Adoption of the CTBT
Intensive efforts were made over the next three years to draft the Treaty text and its two annexes. However, the Conference on Disarmament, in which negotiations were being held, did not succeed in reaching consensus on the adoption of the text. Under the direction of Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Australia then sent the text to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where it was submitted as a draft resolution. On 10 September 1996, the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by a large majority, exceeding two-thirds of the General Assembly's Membership.
- Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control.
- Each State Party undertakes, furthermore, to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.
The Treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996. It opened for signature in New York on 24 September 1996, when it was signed by 71 States, including five of the eight then nuclear-capable states. As of March 2015, 164 states have ratified the CTBT and another 19 states have signed but not ratified it.
The treaty will enter into force 180 days after the 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty have ratified it. These "Annex 2 states" are states that participated in the CTBT’s negotiations between 1994 and 1996 and possessed nuclear power reactors or research reactors at that time. As of 2015, eight Annex 2 states have not ratified the treaty: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed but not ratified the Treaty; India, North Korea and Pakistan have not signed it.
Monitoring of the CTBT
Geophysical and other technologies are used to monitor for compliance with the Treaty: forensic seismology, hydroacoustics, infrasound, and radionuclide monitoring. The technologies are used to monitor the underground, the waters and the atmosphere for any sign of a nuclear explosion. Statistical theories and methods are integral to CTBT monitoring providing confidence in verification analysis. Once the Treaty enters into force, on site inspection will be provided for where concerns about compliance arise.
The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), an international organization headquartered in Vienna, Austria, was created to build the verification regime, including establishment and provisional operation of the network of monitoring stations, the creation of an international data centre, and development of the On Site Inspection capability.
The monitoring network consists of 337 facilities located all over the globe. As of May 2012, more than 260 facilities have been certified. The monitoring stations register data that is transmitted to the international data centre in Vienna for processing and analysis. The data are sent to states that have signed the Treaty.
Nuclear testing after CTBT adoption
Three countries have tested nuclear weapons since the CTBT opened for signature in 1996. India and Pakistan both carried out two sets of tests in 1998. North Korea carried out three announced tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. All three North Korean tests were picked up by the International Monitoring System set up by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.|
- List of weapons of mass destruction treaties
- Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
- Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission
- National Technical Means
- Nuclear proliferation
- Nuclear disarmament
- Nuclear weapon
- Nuclear warfare
- Nuclear-free zone
- Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
- "Resolution adopted by the general assembly:50/245. Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty". United Nations. 17 September 1996. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- "Nuclear testing world overview". Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- "1963 Year In Review". UPI.com. 1963. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- Daryl Kimball and Wade Boese (June 2009). "Limited Test Ban Treaty Turns 40". Arms Control Association. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- "Comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty: draft resolution". United Nations. 6 September 1996. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- "Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty CTBTO" (PDF). CTBTO Preparatory Commission. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
- United Nations Treaty Collection (2009). "Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty". Retrieved 23 August 2009.
- "Status of Signature and Ratification". Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
- David E. Hoffman (1 November 2011), "Supercomputers offer tools for nuclear testing — and solving nuclear mysteries", The Washington Post; National, retrieved 30 November 2013
In this news article, the number of states ratifying was reported as 154.
- "The Russian Federation's support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty". CTBTO Preparatory Commission. 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
- "STATE DEPARTMENT TELEGRAM 012545 TO INTSUM COLLECTIVE, "INTSUM: INDIA: NUCLEAR TEST UNLIKELY"". Nuclear Proliferation International History Project.
- "US nuclear security administrator dagostino visits the CTBTO". CTBTO Preparatory Commission. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
- "Highlight 2007: The CTBT Verification Regime Put to the Test – The Event in the DPRK on 9 October 2006". Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- "Press Release June 2009: Experts Sure About Nature of the DPRK Event". Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- Full text of the treaty
- For official news releases and information on the treaty see – http://www.ctbto.org
- Two articles from the March/April Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists cover the state of play regarding the CTBT: Keith Hansen, "Forecasting the future" and Trevor Findlay & Andreas Persbo, "Watching the world."
- The Test Ban Test: U.S. Rejection has Scuttled the CTBT
- US conducts subcritical nuclear test ABC News, 24 February 2006
- International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, 1991
- Daryl Kimball and Christine Kucia, Arms Control Association, 2002
- General John M. Shalikashvili, Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
- Christopher Paine, Senior Researcher with NRDC's Nuclear Program, 1999
- Obama or McCain Can Finish Journey to Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
- For the number of nuclear explosions conducted in various parts of the globe from 1954-1998 see – http://blip.tv/file/1662914/
- Introductory note by Thomas Graham, Jr., procedural history note and audiovisual material on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law
- Lecture by Masahiko Asada entitled Nuclear Weapons and International Law in the Lecture Series of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law
- Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments Congressional Research Service
- The Woodrow Wilson Center's Nuclear Proliferation International History Project or NPIHP is a global network of individuals and institutions engaged in the study of international nuclear history through archival documents, oral history interviews and other empirical sources.