Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 20, November 1997
US Accepts 'Seismic Event' Was Not Russian TestOn 4 November, the US gave its official verdict on a 16 August 'seismic event' in Russia's Kara Sea - it was "almost certainly" not a nuclear test. The assessment was presented in a statement issued by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), George Tenet, who referred to the work of a panel of experts he had appointed to study the available data:
"The panel concurred in the CIA's [earlier] assessment that nuclear-weapons related experiments were conducted by the Russians at Novaya Zemyla [Russia's nuclear test site] in mid-August 1997... The seismic event was almost certainly not associated with the activities at Novaya Zemyla and was not nuclear. However, from the seismic data, experts cannot say with certainty whether the Kara Sea event was an explosion or an earthquake."
Tenet added that the "nuclear-weapons related experiments" at Novaya Zemyla were causing "high concern."
Reports: US says Russia did not detonate nuclear test, Reuters, 4 November; CIA - August tremor not nuclear test, Associated Press, 4 November.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.