O'Leary's Test Revelations Raise Verification Questions

Arms Control Today, January 1994 | Go to article overview

O'Leary's Test Revelations Raise Verification Questions


In a development that may have implications for the verification of a comprehensive test ban (CTB), Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary announced on December 7 that 204 of the 925 nuclear tests that have been conducted at the Nevada Test Site were unannounced. She also said the United States has conducted 1,051 nuclear tests since 1945.

In providing the number and dates but not the actual yields of these unannounced tests, O'Leary may have raised questions about the ability to detect and identify some of these tests by seismic means.

However, more than half of the 204 unannounced tests had previously been identified by private groups in the United States, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council. In addition, at least 15 of the newly revealed unannounced tests were conducted simultaneously with other known tests. Therefore, these 15, which were concealed by other tests, should be discounted from the number of undetected tests. There is also reason to believe the Soviet Union may have detected most of the unannounced U. …

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