NewsNew arms race? Nuclear test raises concerns

New arms race? Nuclear test raises concerns

Launching a Tomahawk missile from a submerged submarine.
Launching a Tomahawk missile from a submerged submarine.
Images source: © US Navy
ed. TWA

4:42 AM EDT, October 21, 2023

US conducted a test at the nuclear testing range in Nevada. Previously, Russia announced that it will withdraw from The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the global agreement prohibiting nuclear tests. The consequence of this could be a new arms race - Bloomberg summarizes.

Bloomberg - citing the U.S. Department of Energy - reports that a test in Nevada used chemicals and radioisotopes to "test new predictive models of explosions". These actions are said to be part of a process leading to the detection of nuclear explosions in other countries.

The Department of Energy oversees stockpiles of over 5000 nuclear weapons.

"Although the test is legal, the timing of its implementation was significant: it occurred shortly after Russia's announcement that it will no longer adhere to the treaty (CTBT) which bans nuclear explosions. Despite the treaty never having gained legal force, both Russia and the USA have adhered to its provisions since the end of the Cold War" - emphasizes Bloomberg.

According to officials, greater transparency is needed because even though countries do not test warheads, they carry out so-called subcritical experiments -- explosions that verify weapons designs without enough material to maintain a chain reaction. These smaller explosions can still be detected by sensitive seismic stations and arouse suspicions among antagonists.

New arms race?

- Considering that Russia accuses the USA of preparing for nuclear test explosions contrary to regulations, and that the United States accuses Russia of not adhering to the rules, both sides should engage in discussions that would enable the introduction of trust-building measures - said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

Analysts fear that actions such as the test conducted in Nevada this week may be misinterpreted and lead to further escalation, especially considering the deep animosity between the USA and Russia, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

Related content