Russia may pull out of Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty(CTBT): How the treaty tried — and failed — to stop nuclear testing

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Source: The post is based on the article “Russia may pull out of Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty(CTBT): How the treaty tried — and failed — to stop nuclear testing” published in “Indian Express” on 12th October 2023

What is the News?

Russia might revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty(CTBT).

What is the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty(CTBT)?

CTBT is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, whether for military or peaceful purposes.

The treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996.

For the treaty to enter into force, it must be signed and ratified by 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries. But the eight of these 44 countries have not ratified the agreement yet.These eight countries are: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.

Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO): It is an international organization established by the States Signatories to the Treaty on 19 November 1996 and has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. 

– The objective of the organization is to achieve the object and purpose of the Treaty, to ensure the implementation of its provisions, including those for international verification of compliance with the Treaty and to provide a forum for consultation and cooperation among Member States.

How did the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty(CTBT) come into being?

Nuclear Tests in 1940’s: USA conducted the world’s 1st successful nuclear weapons test in 1945 whereas the Soviet Union tested its 1st nuclear weapon in 1949.These tests triggered a decades-long arms race between the two superpowers.Between 1945 and 1996, more than 2,000 nuclear tests were carried out.

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): The US and Soviet Union agreed to sign the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT), which established a nuclear threshold by banning the two countries from conducting tests that would produce a yield exceeding 150 kilotons (equivalent to 150,000 tons of TNT).

CTBT: A major breakthrough came after the Cold War ended through the CTBT in 1996 that will prohibit all nuclear weapons tests and other nuclear explosions upon its entry into force.

Did the CTBT stop nuclear testing?

Since the CTBT, 10 nuclear tests have taken place.India conducted two in 1998, Pakistan also two in 1998, and 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.

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