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Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)

  • Context (IE): Russia might revoke its Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) ratification to achieve parity with the US, which has not yet ratified CTBT.
  • The CTBT bans ALL nuclear explosions for military or peaceful purposes. It was signed by 187 countries and ratified by 178.
  • The UNGA adopted CTBT in 1996, but it has not entered into force, as eight Annex 2 nations (China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran, Egypt, and the US) have not ratified the treaty.
  • Annex 2 to the Treaty lists the 44 States (nuclear technology holder states) that must ratify the treaty for it to enter into force.
  • The CTBT establishes the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which ensures treaty implementation.

Signatories of CTBT

  • Signed and ratified: France, the UK, Russia
  • Signed but not ratified: China, the US, Israel
  • Non-signatory: India, Pakistan, North Korea

Did the CTBT stop nuclear testing?

  • Since the CTBT, ten nuclear tests have taken place. According to the UN:
    • India conducted two in 1998.
    • Pakistan also had two in 1998.
    • North Korea conducted tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016 (twice) and 2017.
  • The United States last tested in 1992, China and France in 1996, and the Soviet Union in 1990.
  • Russia, which inherited most of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, has never conducted a nuclear test.

History of CTBT

  • The US conducted the world’s first successful nuclear weapons test in July 1945. Four years later, the Soviet Union tested their first nuclear weapon.
  • These tests triggered an arms race between the two superpowers. Between 1945 and 1996, more than 2,000 nuclear tests were carried out.
  • The radioactive fallout from those tests drew criticism from around the globe. As a result, several attempts were made to curb the explosive tests.

Which countries have carried out nuclear tests

Limited Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (LTBT) (1963)

  • It prohibited nuclear testing in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater, but underground tests were still permitted.

Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT) (1974)

  • It was signed between the US and the Soviet Union.
  • It established a nuclear threshold and prohibited them from conducting tests that exceed 150 kilotons.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

  • Geopolitical tensions eased after the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
  • The UN took advantage of the situation and adopted the CTBT in 1996.
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