Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty

Executive Summary

Treaty/Program Name:

Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes and the Protocol [Verification] to the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes

Brief Description:

The Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (PNET) between the U.S. and the former USSR was signed in 1976, but its Protocol on the verification of compliance was not completed until 1990. The Treaty allows peaceful nuclear explosions, but prohibits:

  • Any explosion exceeding a yield of 150 KT;
  • Any group explosion exceeding a yield of 150 KT that will not permit the identification and determination of the yield of each individual explosion in the group; or
  • Any group explosion with an aggregate yield of more than 1.5 MT.

The Protocol for PNET also requires notifications and provides the option of using either the hydrodynamic yield measurement method, the hydrodynamic yield measurement method in association with a local seismic network, or OSI (only if the hydrodynamic yield measurement method is not used) to verify the yield.

The recently signed Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) implicitly bans "peaceful nuclear explosions," as it prohibits nuclear explosions of any kind.

Negotiation Status/Signatories:
Signed: 28 May 1976 (Treaty)

01 June 1990 (Protocol)

Ratification: 11 December 1990
Entry Into Force (EIF): 11 December 1990
Duration: 5 years with 5 year extensions

Parties:

- United States
- USSR (Russian Federation [RF] assumes successor status)

Systems/Items Involved:

Peaceful Nuclear Explosions (outside test sites).

Monitoring:

What:

- Yields of Peaceful Nuclear Explosions

Where:

- U.S.
- Former USSR
- Any Other Requesting State

How:

- National Technical Means:
- Inspection using either of the following methodologies:

    Hydrodynamic Yield Measurement
    Seismic Yield Measurement
    On-site Inspection

Service/DoD Implementation Responsibilities:

No DoD equities as such.

OSIA would be involved in implementing the non-NTM parts of the verification regime

Implementation and Compliance Body:

Joint Consultative Commission (JCC)

Communications Means:

Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers (NRRC) in the U.S. and the RF.

Current Issues/Activities:

Nuclear explosions of any kind, including peaceful nuclear explosions, have been banned by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

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