Nuclear test ban would limit development of new weapons, chief says


Robert Floyd, the new executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission, speaks to Kyodo News in Vienna, Austria, August 20, 2021. (Kyodo)

VIENNA (Kyodo) – The new head of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization has said the treaty will place a “real limit” on further development of new weapons by nuclear-weapon states ‘it enters into force and becomes legally binding.

Robert Floyd, who was appointed executive secretary of the CTBTO preparatory commission this month, told Kyodo News in a recent interview that the entry into force of the test ban would also make it “virtually impossible” to development of any non-nuclear weapon state. such weapons in the future.

The CTBT, which prohibits countries from performing any type of nuclear explosive testing, was signed by 185 states and ratified by 170 after its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996. Japan has ratified it. in 1997.

For the treaty to enter into force, it must be signed and ratified by the 44 countries that had nuclear reactors for research or power generation while the treaty was being negotiated, but eight, including China and the United States. United States, have not yet done so.

“The CTBT as a treaty enjoys very strong support from the vast majority of states in the world,” Floyd said, adding that the pact “was already having an effect” because of the global standard against nuclear testing.

With the CTBTO providing the International Monitoring System, a global system that detects nuclear explosions by collecting seismic data and observing radioactive particles among other verification technologies, “no one can test without it being detected, this which is already giving us some advantages, ”said Floyd.

The Australian scientist further pointed out that having “a strict nuclear test ban is a really valuable and important thing” to counter the initiatives of nuclear-weapon states, such as the United States and Russia, which appear to be going. in the opposite direction by modernizing and expanding their existing arsenals.

As for North Korea, Floyd said the United States and other countries have made efforts to denuclearize the country, and he expressed hope that it will take steps to sign and ratify the CTBT in the future when talks progress.

“It would be a powerful signal from the North Korean leadership and could be a confidence-building measure, a gesture to move towards a solution,” he said.

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