Panel: US can maintain nuclear arms without tests

By | March 30, 2012

20120330-113321.jpg… A study by the National Academy of Sciences has found that the U.S. can maintain its nuclear arsenal without resuming the testing program it suspended nearly 20 years ago, addressing a key issue in the debate over ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The study also found that monitoring networks would likely detect even relatively small nuclear blasts in most parts of the world, apparently countering concerns that other nations could cheat on the agreement without getting caught.

President Barack Obama’s has repeatedly called for Senate ratification of the treaty, most recently in a speech at the nuclear security summit in Seoul. The president has made arms control and nonproliferation central to his foreign policy and has pledged to work for a world free of nuclear weapons. The Associated Press reported in February that the administration is looking at plans to reduce the number of U.S.-deployed nuclear weapons by up to 80 percent.

Some Senate Republicans, though, have raised doubts that the aging U.S. arsenal could be counted on to work without periodic testing and have expressed concern that other countries might overtake the U.S. through clandestine nuclear tests.

The study, conducted by a 14-member panel made up mostly of technical experts, focuses on technical issues and does not take a position on ratification of the treaty, which President Bill Clinton signed in 1996 but the Senate rejected three years later.

“Technically, we think we can maintain the stockpile without nuclear testing,” Linton Brooks, former administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration under President George W. Bush, said in an interview Friday. “Technically, we believe that we can detect nuclear testing by others at any level under which the military balance would be affected.”

The unclassified version of the Academy of Sciences study released Friday found that advances in computer simulations of nuclear blasts have made scientists and specialists at U.S. nuclear labs increasingly less reliant on testing to maintain the arsenal.

“Provided that sufficient resources and a national commitment to stockpile stewardship are in place, the committee judges that the United States has the technical capabilities to maintain a safe, secure and reliable stockpile of nuclear weapons into the foreseeable future without nuclear-explosion testing,” the study’s authors wrote….

AP TOP NEWS | MARCH 30, 2012
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Wouldn’t it be great if all nukes everywhere in the world were sabotaged by aliens so they would no longer work? I can’t think of anything horrible resulting from a dud nuke… Unless we need to fire them all at an incoming asteroid or fend off an evil alien attack…

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