Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
The treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water, often abbreviated as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), or Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (NTBT) (although the latter also refers to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) is a treaty prohibiting all test detonations of nuclear weapons except underground. It was developed both to slow the arms race (nuclear testing was, at the time, necessary for continued nuclear weapon advancements), and to stop the excessive release of nuclear fallout into the planet's atmosphere.
It was signed by the governments of the Soviet Union (represented by Andrei Gromyko), the United Kingdom (represented by Sir Alec Douglas-Home) and the United States (represented by Dean Rusk), named the "Original Parties", at Moscow on August 5, 1963 and opened for signature by other countries. It was ratified by the U.S. Senate on September 24, 1963 by a vote of 80 to 19. The treaty went into effect on October 10, 1963. 
Much of the initiative for the treaty had its focus in what was the rising concern about radioactive fallout as a result of nuclear weapons testing underwater, in the atmosphere, and on the ground's surface, on the part of the nuclear powers. These concerns became more pronounced after the United States successfully tested a hydrogen bomb and a thermonuclear device with the power of eight megatons of TNT in the early 1950s and when the USSR detonated a 50-megaton nuclear warhead in 1961.
Initially, the Soviet Union proposed a testing ban along with a disarmament agreement dealing with both conventional and nuclear weapon systems. The Western nuclear powers and the Soviet Union traded positions on this issue over the course of negotiations in the 1950s through offers and counteroffers proposed under the aegis of the U.N. Disarmament Commission. It was only later during 1959 and into the early 1960s that the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union agreed to detach a general agreement on nuclear disarmament from a ban on nuclear weapons testing.
The Soviet Union, however, only agreed in principle to a testing ban with no verification regime or protocols. It was over what measures and the method by which they could be effectively carried out that caused much of the deadlock in the latter half of 1961 over a test ban agreement. The problem of detecting underground tests—that is, distinguishing it from an earthquake—proved to be particularly troublesome. Therefore the United States and United Kingdom insisted on intrusive, inspection-based control systems as a means to verify compliance. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, maintained the position that surveillance and seismic detection equipment operated from outside the boundaries of any signatory was adequate to verify compliance. The Western powers felt that any agreement not subject to a control system rigorous enough to verify compliance would set a bad precedent in nuclear arms control for future agreements.
Deadlock ensued until July 1963 when Premier Khrushchev signaled his willingness to give up on a ban that would include underground testing. In effect, this meant the Soviet Union would agree to a test ban in the atmosphere, outer space, and under water environments; a position the Western powers had long favored as an alternative to a more comprehensive (underground environment) ban. This opened an opportunity for a three-power meeting among the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on July 15, 1963 in Moscow. The Moscow negotiations, in reflecting the long deliberations that had gone on for nearly a decade, took relatively little time as the treaty was signed by representatives of the three governments only 21 days later.
Most countries have signed and ratified the treaty. Countries known to have tested nuclear weapons but which have not signed the treaty are China, France and North Korea, although North Korean nuclear tests have not been as successful as those done by the French or Chinese.
- Air Force Technical Applications Center
- Boeing NC-135
- Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
- High altitude nuclear explosion
- List of parties to the Partial Test Ban Treaty
- Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone
- Project Orion
- Space law
- Threshold Test Ban Treaty
- Underground nuclear testing
- Audio clips from President Eisenhower and President Kennedy on the nuclear test ban treaty negotiations
- Nuclear Files.org Partial Test Ban Treaty as entered into force on October 10, 1963
Nuclear weapons limitation treaties1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty · 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty · 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty · 1974 Threshold Test Ban Treaty · 1970s Strategic Arms Limitation Talks · 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty · 1991 START I · 1993 START II · 1994 United States – Russia mutual detargeting · 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (not into force) · 1997 START III · 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty · 2010 New START
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Look at other dictionaries:
Partial Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty — noun → Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (def. 1) … Australian English dictionary
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty — /njukliə ˈtɛst bæn ˌtriti/ (say nyoohkleeuh test ban .treetee) noun either of two international treaties: 1. Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a treaty banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, underwater, or in space, signed in 1963 by many… … Australian English dictionary
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