Experimental Nuclear Explosions and the Arms Race
It is highly significant that, ever since the first few years of experimental explosions of thermonuclear devices, the three nuclear powers of the time (the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union) have grappled with the problem of suspending their nuclear tests. This awareness of the importance that the discontinuance of programmes to develop military nuclear technology could have for international security and peace led, in the summer of 1958, to the convocation of a conference of experts of the Eastern and Western countries to tackle the technical questions linked with the detection of experimental nuclear explosions. The conclusions of those discussions were that it would be possible to detect and identify nuclear explosions in the atmosphere above the power of 1 kiloton (kt; 1 kt = 1000 tons of TNT), and to detect, with a reliability of approximately 90 per cent, underground nuclear tests of more than 5 kt. The monitoring network necessary for this purpose would have required a system of around 160 to 170 control stations installed on the ground and about ten appropriately-equipped ships.
KeywordsNuclear Weapon Nuclear Explosion Nuclear Test Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Weapon System
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