Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 197: Comprehensive ratification

click to enlarge, a map of who is in and out, who was ratified and who has just signed, image from CTBTO

Bill Clinton signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty back in 1996 and so the United States of America became one of 180 nations who have since signed the treaty. Yet, the treaty has never been ratified (ratify: To approve and give formal sanction to; confirm) by our government. George W. Bush didn't nothing to move this along and some nuclear watch dog groups are calling for Obama to finally finalize what we committed to only partially over a decade ago. For the document to "enter force" it must be ratified by 44 states listed in Annex 2, it currently has been ratified by 35 of those needed.

"The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty bans all nuclear explosions on Earth whether for military or for peaceful purposes. It comprises a preamble, 17 articles, two annexes and a Protocol with two annexes." read more here, on the slick CTBTO website.

The CTBTO monitors for compliance with the Treaty using "seismology, hyroacoustics, infrasound, and radionuclide monitoring. The technologies are used to monitor the underground, the waters and the atmosphere for any sign of a nuclear explosion. Once the Treaty enters into force, on site inspection will be provided for where concerns about compliance arise."

There is ongoing debate whether or not the US should ratify the CTBT. Proponents of ratification claim that it would:

- Establish an international norm that would push other nuclear capable countries like North Korea, Pakistan, and India to sign.

- Constrain worldwide nuclear proliferation by vastly limiting a country's ability to make nuclear advancements that only testing can ensure.

- Not compromise US national security because the Science Based Stockpile Stewardship program serves as a means for maintaining current US nuclear capabilities without physical detonation. -from wikipedia

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