Making America feared again: the Trump administration considers resuming nuclear weapons testing | IPPNW peace and health blog

Americans who grew up with nightmares of nuclear weapons explosions should get ready for some terrifying flashbacks, for the Trump administration appears to be preparing to resume US nuclear weapons tests.

Nuclear tests, of course, enabled the nine nuclear powers to develop bigger and more efficient nuclear weapons for the purpose of waging nuclear war.  Along the way, millions of people in the United States and other nations died or developed illnesses caused by the radioactive fallout from these tests.

Actually, there are numerous reasons why the resumption of US nuclear weapons explosions is a terrible idea.  If the U.S. government began atmospheric nuclear testing, it would violate the Partial Test Ban Treaty (which it ratified), as well as the CTBT (which it signed but, thanks to Republican Senate opposition, has not yet ratified).  Even if US nuclear tests were conducted underground and, thus, violated only the CTBT, the result would be a dramatic loss of credibility for the United States and an escalation of the nuclear arms race.  As Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, has remarked:  “Other nuclear powers would undoubtedly seize the opportunity provided by a U.S. nuclear blast to engage in explosive tests of their own, which could help them perfect new and more dangerous types of warheads.”

In addition, a considerable numbers of non-nuclear nations might decide that, given the US government’s failure to fulfill its treaty obligations, their adherence to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty no longer made sense.  Therefore, they would begin nuclear testing to facilitate developing their own nuclear weapons arsenals.

Making America feared again: the Trump administration considers resuming nuclear weapons testing | IPPNW peace and health blog