Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 34, February 1999
US Conducts Sub-Critical Test
On 9 February, the United States conducted a sub-critical nuclear test. Sub-critical tests, which incorporate fissile materials but which do not result in any nuclear explosion or lead to any release of radioactivity, are being carried out by both the US and Russia (see last issue) to ascertain information about nuclear warhead design and performance without recourse to full nuclear testing, banned under the terms of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Many people, however, see such tests as honouring the letter of the CTBT by means of a breaching its spirit and fundamental intention.
On 10 February, the Mayors of Hiroshima (Takashi Hiraoka) and Nagasaki (Itcho Ito) strongly condemned the test. Hiraoka expressed his "strong indignation" while Ito argued it was "clear" that such experiments "run counter to the spirit" of the test ban.
Report: Japan mayors condemn US nuke test, Associated Press, 10 February.© 1999 The Acronym Institute.