Cessation of Nuclear-Weapon tests

The complete cessation of nuclear-weapon tests is widely considered essential for curbing the qualitative nuclear arms race, but the prospect for early achievement of such a comprehensive ban remained unlikely as of the end of 1983. The General Assembly, in 1978, accorded the highest priority to nuclear disarmament in the Final Document of its first special session devoted to disarmament, and regarded the cessation of nuclear-weapon testing as a most important initial measure. Similar priority was given to the subject outside the aegis of the United Nations, among others, by ICDSI, which, in 1982, called for concentrated efforts to negotiate a treaty banning all nuclear tests and for a voluntary moratorium on all such tests pending the conclusion of the treaty. The subject has actually been on the agenda of bilateral, trilateral and multilateral negotiating forums since the early 1950s but, despite these efforts, only partial results have been achieved. First, the USSR, the United Kingdom and the United States signed on 5 August 1963 the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and under Water, known as the partial test-ban Treaty, which has been the most important achievement so far. Although some 110 States are parties to the Treaty, it has two main limitations: it does not limit testing underground and two nuclear-weapon States, China and France, are not parties. France, however, has not conducted tests in the three prohibited environments since 1974.

Related Subject(s): Disarmament
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