U.S. Nuclear Weapons Testing Moratorium

Signed: 1992

Passed: 1992

Senate Vote: 55-40

In October 1991, Soviet Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev declared a unilateral moratorium on Soviet nuclear weapons testing.  This declaration forced the U.S. to examine its own need to continue nuclear weapons tests.  If the Cold War and nuclear arms race were over, was there a continued benefit of further testing?  After conducting over 1,030 nuclear weapons tests, more than all other nations combined, the U.S. had already amassed a wealth of information on building and optimizing nuclear explosive devices.  In 1992, President George H. W. Bush declared a U.S. moratorium on nuclear weapons testing. His successor, President Bill Clinton, extended this moratorium.  In 1996, the U.S. became one of the early signatories to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). However, the U.S. Senate has failed to ratify the CTBT, thus leaving open the possibility of other nations restarting a second nuclear arms race. The CTBT has now been ratified by Russia and all NATO members except for the U.S.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization

Project for the CTBT

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