Comprehensive Nuclear- Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments [August 3, 2012]   [open pdf - 597KB]

"A ban on all nuclear tests is the oldest item on the nuclear arms control agenda. Three treaties that entered into force between 1963 and 1990 limit, but do not ban, such tests. In 1996, the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would ban all nuclear explosions. In 1997, President Clinton sent the CTBT to the Senate, which rejected it in October 1999. In a speech in Prague in April 2009, President Obama said, 'My administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.' However, the Administration focused its efforts in 2010 on securing Senate advice and consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The Administration has indicated it wants to begin a CTBT 'education' campaign with a goal of securing Senate advice and consent to ratification, but there have been no hearings on the treaty in the 111th or 112th Congresses. As of July 2012, 183 states had signed the CTBT and 157, including Russia, had ratified it. However, entry into force requires ratification by 44 states specified in the treaty, of which 41 had signed the treaty and 36 had ratified. Seven conferences have been held to facilitate entry into force, most recently on September 23, 2011. […] This report will be updated occasionally. This version reflects the FY2013 budget request, a 2012 study claiming North Korea may have conducted nuclear tests in 2010, and a March 2012 report by the National Research Council on the treaty, and makes other updates. CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report RL34394, 'Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Issues and Arguments', by Jonathan Medalia, presents CTBT pros and cons in detail. CRS Report R40612, 'Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Updated 'Safeguards' and Net Assessments', by Jonathan Medalia, discusses safeguards-- unilateral steps to maintain U.S. nuclear security consistent with nuclear testing treaties--and their relationship to the CTBT. CRS Report R42498, 'Energy and Water Development: FY2013 Appropriations', coordinated by Carl E. Behrens, provides details on stockpile stewardship."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33548
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