Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
- 27 Apr 2020
- 3 min read
Why in News
Recently, the United States State Department has accused China and Russia of conducting nuclear tests with low yields, in violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
- CTBT was negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996.
- The Treaty intends to ban all nuclear explosions - everywhere, by everyone. It was opened for signature in 1996 and since then 182 countries have signed the Treaty, most recently Ghana has ratified the treaty in 2011.
- A comprehensive test ban has been defined as a “zero yield” test ban that would prohibit supercritical hydro-nuclear tests but not sub-critical hydrodynamic nuclear tests.
- Hydronuclear tests study nuclear materials under the conditions of explosive shock compression. Their yield ranges from negligible all the way up to a substantial fraction of full weapon.
- Subcritical (or cold) tests are types of tests involving nuclear materials and possibly high-explosives that purposely result in no yield.
- The Treaty will enter into force after all 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty will ratify it.
- These States had nuclear facilities at the time the Treaty was negotiated and adopted.
- As of August 2011, 36 of these States have ratified the Treaty. Eight States still need to do so: China, North Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.
- India, North Korea and Pakistan have not yet signed the Treaty.
- All three have also undertaken tests after 1996; India and Pakistan in May 1998 and North Korea six times between 2006 and 2017.
- The CTBT has therefore not entered into force and lacks legal authority.
- Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO):
- The organization promotes the Treaty so that it can enter into force.
- It establishes a verification regime to monitor adherence to the Treaty. The verification system is built around a network of over 325 seismic, radionuclide, infrasound and hydroacoustic (underwater) monitoring stations.
- The organization was founded in 1996. It is headquartered in Vienna. It employs a staff of roughly 260 from the CTBT’s Member States.