1819 H Street, NW, Suite 420,
Washington, DC 20006-3603
(202) 862-9740 fax: (202) 862-9762
formerly SANE/FREEZE

September 10, 1996

For immediate release
Contact: Karina Wood (Education Fund)
202 862-9740 ext. 3044


Washington, D.C.: Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the largest grassroots U.S. peace organization, welcomed today's announcement from New York that the nations of ths world have at last approved a Comprehensive nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Since the founding of SANE in 1957, our organization has sought to abolish nuclear weapons. Today, forty years of grassroots activism has produced a significant step toward that goal: a zero yield treaty permanently prohibiting all nuclear bomb explosions. We salute the Australian government for its innovative leadership in breaking the log-jam in treaty negotiations. We applaud Test Ban Committee Chair Jaap Ramaker and all those who negotiated in good faith at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva for nearly three years to deliver this historic anti-proliferation treaty.

"Since 1945 over 2,000 nuclear weapons test explosions more than half conducted here in the U.S. -- have polluted our planet and its people through vast releases of carcinogenic radiation, and imperiled the very survival of our species by fueling the nuclear arms race. The global nuclear test ban agreed today is long overdue. It represents a huge achievement by tbe people of the worId and enlightened politicaI leaders who have labored for this day ever since the U.S. dropped nudear bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 51 years ago," said Gordon Clark, Executive Director of Peace Action.

It is important to note, however, that the test ban treaty agreed today is far from perfect. By prohibiting underground nuclear bomb explosions the CTBT protects the environment and our health, and prevents nuclear proliferation, but it does not commit ths nuclear weapons states to reduce, let alone disarrn, their vast nuclear arsenals. Furthermore, the nuclear Weapons states now possess the technology to design and develop new nudear weapons through computer simulations and laboratory "sub-critical" testing -- activities not prohibited by this treaty. The CTBT prevents the nuclear arms race from speeding up, but does not bring it to a complete halt. So, the peace movement still has a lot of work to do. "We are chalking this treaty up as a great accomplishment, and utilizing the momentum it has created to push for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons," added Clark.

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