The limitations imposed on nuclear tests were of great importance during the Cold War, and they remain relevant now that the post-bipolar world order has collapsed. Now that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (the INF Treaty) has ceased to exist, the nuclear arms control system is no longer functional, giving countries new opportunities to develop nuclear weapons and conduct test launches. Additionally, contemporary nuclear weapons are much more powerful and destructive than those that existed 70 years ago.
On August 19, after abandoning the INF Treaty, the United States conducted a test of a new medium-range missile. The US military also confirmed that they are developing a hypersonic missile capable of carrying a ballistic warhead with a range that would have been prohibited under the arms control agreement. Due to this, the issue of the prohibition of nuclear tests is relevant as never before.
Will the CTBT ever enter into force? Is the prohibition of nuclear tests effective in countering the proliferation and improvement of nuclear weapons? Is a complete prohibition of nuclear tests and the elimination of nuclear arsenals possible? These and some other questions were addressed by the participants of the expert discussion.
Vadim Smirnov, Director of On-Site Inspection Division of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO; via videolink);
Anton Khlopkov, Director of the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS);
Grigory Berdennikov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation (former Deputy Foreign Minister, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and to the International Organizations in Vienna).