Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Facts

Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Facts
The Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (PNTBT), often abbreviated as the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, was a 1963 international treaty that limited the testing of nuclear weapons to underground facilities. The three main nuclear powers of the period - the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom - were the first signatories of the treaty on August 5, 1963, with 123 nation-states later signing. The treaty came about as the result of above ground nuclear weapons testing during the 1950s, which caused tremendous environmental damage and brought the specter of nuclear fallout into the public consciousness. The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 also brought a further sense of urgency to leaders in both American and Soviet leaders to better limit and control nuclear arsenals. Although the PNTBT was permanent and led to more nuclear weapons reductions treaties between the US and USSR, other nuclear powers, most notably China and France, did not sign the treaty and continued to test weapons above ground.
Interesting Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Facts:
In 1954, the United States detonated a fifteen megaton nuclear bomb on Bikini Atoll on the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific as part of its "Castle Bravo" test. The blast destroyed the atoll, spread radiation around the world, and led to the first calls to ban above ground testing.
Although there is often a perception that the Soviet government was monolithic in its philosophies and strategies regarding the Cold War, there was division among leaders concerning nuclear testing. The military leaders were against signing a test ban treaty, but many in the scientific community approved of such measures.
Most of the signatory nations to the PNTBT do not have nuclear weapons programs.
France first conducted its above ground tests in the desert of Algeria, but after Algeria was given independence it moved its test site to Tahiti.
After several back and forth attempts to come to an agreement between American President Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Khrushchev, the United States and Soviet Union worked more quickly in the months following the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The treaty was signed in Moscow.
Besides banning the signatories from testing nuclear weapons above ground, the treaty also banned the testing of nuclear weapons in space.
Experts believe that the PNTBT was effective in as much as radiation levels in the atmosphere rapidly decline following its ratification.
In 1979, Israel and South Africa, both of which were signatories to the PNTBT, may have violated the terms by conducting a nuclear weapon test in the South Pacific.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1996 largely superseded the PNTBT.
The 1956 film The Conqueror staring John Wayne was filmed in Utah, about 137 miles downwind from the Nevada National Security Site. In 1953, eleven above ground nuclear weapons were tested at the sight and soil from the area was later used in Hollywood set shots for the film. It is believed that of the 220 cast and crew who worked on the film, ninety-one, including Wayne, contracted some form of cancer.

Related Links:
Cold War Facts
Animals Facts