Argument: Detecting nuclear tests is too difficult to enforce ban

Issue Report: Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty


Robert Irion. “Scientists convene in San Francisco to discuss Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty”. University of California, Santa Cruz. January 6, 1997: “While the treaty calls for a total ban on nuclear testing, there is a threshold beneath which the seismic network will be unable to detect tiny events, Lay says. However, much of the research by network designers is driven by the U.S. objective of detecting explosions as small as a few kilotons “evasively tested,” meaning that the testers devise some way to prevent the explosion from vibrating the surrounding rock as strongly. Suspending the device within a large subterranean cavity is one such technique. To unveil all such explosions, says Lay, “We’d have to be able to look everywhere in the world for a magnitude 2.5 event, detect it, and discriminate between an earthquake, nuclear test, mining blast, or some other event. That’s a staggering objective.”