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On September 24, 1996 President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Two days later, John Holum, Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, declared: "[U]nder customary international law as codified in Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a signatory is obliged, pending ratification, to refrain from any action that would defeat its purpose... any further testing would defeat the CTBT's object and purpose... if a country signs the CTBT, it is legally bound not to test, whether or not it has ratified, and whether or not the Treaty is in force." The CTBT does not define a nuclear test, but it is understood to ban nuclear explosions with measurable nuclear yields.
On October 8, less than two weeks after the U.S. signed the CTBT, the
Department of Energy (DOE) announced its desire to conduct so-called
"subcritical" tests, underground at the Nevada Test Site. The proposal was
finalized on December 9, 1996. While subcritical tests may not violate the
"letter" of the CTBT, they are antithetical to its spirit and undermine
prospects for its global entry-into-force.
We have received comments from around the world about the Subcritical Tests being conducted by the U.S. Here is information we have received from various sources.