Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, introduced a bill today calling on the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. While 140 nations have signed and ratified the treaty since 1996, the United States is one of only 10 remaining nations, including Syria and North Korea, which have not yet done so — and it can’t take effect without us.
“There is no bigger threat than a nuclear weapon in the wrong hands,” Tauscher, who chairs the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said in a news release. “This legislation is an opportunity to for the United States to stand up for the basic principles of non-proliferation. In a dangerous world where new and emerging threats make themselves known every day, the U.S. needs to be the moral and diplomatic leader on this critical international security issue.”
The treaty bans “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion,” and so is meant to help block development of new types of nuclear warheads by existing nuclear-weapons states — such as the U.S., China, Russia, India, and Pakistan — while also impeding development of smaller, more easily deliverable warheads by nuclear wanna-bes such as North Korea and Iran.
The omnibus budget deal just struck by Congress contains a slight increase, to $24 million, for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization: the international organization established by the treaty’s signers in 1996, charged with carrying out necessary preparations for the treaty’s implementation; working to create the 337-facility International Monitoring System plus the International Data Center; and developing operational manuals including those to be used for on-site inspections.
“This is a very good step,” Tauscher said. “My legislation coupled with this increase in funding sets us in the right direction toward a national re-commitment to non-proliferation standards.”