I-F Crazy Creatives
Joined: 10 April 2005
Efforts to stop the testing of nuclear weapons have been going on for nearly as long as nuclear technology has existed. The 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty only banned tests in certain environments such as the atmosphere, outer space and beneath the sea. While the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty included a statement of intent to work towards the total ending of nuclear testing, it was not until the competition of the Cold War effectively ended and after the START Treaties between the United States and the U.S.S.R. were signed that a total moratorium became feasible. President Gorbachev in 1991 and President Bush Sr. in 1992 declared unilateral moratoriums on testing and were followed by other nuclear powers. In the 1990s debate has focused on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) of 1996 which rules out any nuclear tests in any environment indefinitely for its signatories. This was opened for signatures in 1996 but has not been ratified by the 44 listed Appendix 2 nations who must commit before the treaty comes in to force. Non-ratifiers include the U.S.A, China and India although major nuclear powers like Russia and the United Kingdom have committed. As such the situation is finely balanced and it is possible in a debate fairly to propose either the abandoning or the enforcing of the Treaty.
The CTBT works with the Non-Proliferation Treaty and is the best way to stop the development and proliferation of more, and more complex, nuclear weapons amongst established powers and to new States. It not only holds back the technical development of weapons but also reduces the extent to which they can be shown off, therefore reducing their value as a bargaining chip and a symbol of power. The CTBT means fewer weapons in fewer states and is therefore a valuable way of reducing nuclear tensions
Nuclear explosions have a huge environmental impact and cause huge harms. Large areas are irradiated by the blasts themselves and the long term effects of radioactive materials thrown into the atmosphere by the explosions are uncertain. Tests often involve moving people off their own lands as with the French tests in Polynesia in 1995 and involve the destruction of habitats. Underground tests are suspected to have caused earthquakes in China although information is limited.
Voters in the United States, for example, overwhelmingly favour the CTBT. 73% to 16% say that the United States should ratify the treaty. World opinion in all but a few rogue states strongly favours banning nuclear testing creating a significant political impetus.
Even if testing is done and nuclear weapons or nuclear plants are set up, there is no safe disposal method..the junk either goes into the seas or is buried in the layers of Earth.
Nuclear installations, whether military or civil, have a sad record of accidents and incidents, shrouded in cover-ups, lies and misinformation.
Moreover, nuclear energy has never been economic, despite the massive state subsidies it has received for decades. Even now funding still pours into the nuclear sector at the expense of renewable resources like solar or wind energy.
The CTBT is toothless. Its only specific measure is expulsion from the treaty rights and obligations. It is unenforceable and its only effect is likely to be on those states who threaten least by their nuclear armouries. Affectively it puts the tool of nuclear testing in the hands of the least stable and least scrupulous of the nuclear powers.
Overt testing by nuclear powers happens in only the most deserted and environmentally stable areas such as Siberia and the deserts of Western Australia and Nevada. As such its environmental impact is not just minimal but much less than that of secret tests which might take place to circumvent the Treaty. In the end the environmental damage is not significant enough to decide this debate.
Computer modelling can only work so long as it is based on data from real explosions. The less real data, the less effective it is; as time goes by and new technologies develop modelling will become increasingly unsatisfactory. Moreover, it is exactly the unexpected effects that are important in the tests. They not only allow us to ensure the weapons are working but also yield data which has been found highly useful in the peaceful nuclear industries which are specifically protected in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Now the question is,
Do you think Testing of Nuclear Weapons Stop altogether due to the harmful effects of the same?
Or should testing be allowed in isolated areas?
Do post your views ~
Joined: 10 May 2005
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