Seismologists Question Second Round Of India's Nuclear Bomb Tests, As Reported In The 26 June 1998 Science

June 25, 1998

Washington, DC (25 June 1998)-In this week's issue of Science, a news story by Eliot Marshall reports that U.S. experts are questioning some of India's claims concerning last month's series of nuclear tests. The global web of sensors that monitor compliance with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) detected India's first round of tests on 11 May, but did not detect what India claimed was a second round of tests on 13 May. Now, according to Science, a strong consensus has emerged among U.S. seismologists that the system would have picked up a blast the size that India announced-equivalent to about 800 tons of TNT. This has led some experts to conclude that the 13 May tests may have been small blasts, fueled by chemical explosions, designed to test nuclear bomb components. Pakistan subsequently conducted two bomb tests of its own, both of which were observed by the seismic network.

The network's apparent failure to detect all of India's explosions has given strength to critics of the CTBT, who say that the network can't be trusted to detect small nuclear tests. President Clinton signed the CTBT in 1996, but the treaty's ratification is being stymied in the U.S. Senate. The monitoring system is also under threats of budget cuts.

For an embargoed copy of this news story, contact Heather Singmaster in the AAAS News & Information Office at 202-326-6414 or email at scipak@aaas.org. Please cite Science as the source of this item.
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American Association for the Advancement of Science

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