There is a known treaty about full banning nuclear tests, from 1996. Many states have signed it, but not all ratified. I can understand, why, for example, DPRK haven't signed it - it is critical for their national security.

We all know, that US foreign politics is oriented towards peace, and I remember some claims about fully banning nuclear weapons (from Obama times).

But why has the US not ratified it, if so? Were there some public claims about origin of this non-ratification?

  • 7
    Wikipedia lists no less than six reasons that the US has supposedly given for not ratifying the treaty, but only lists a single source for the entire list. Given the discussions we've had recently about source quality, I don't feel comfortable making an answer out of it, but felt it was worth pointing out.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 13:06
  • 4
    I've not voted on this question, but if you're keen to avoid people responding emotionally, that second paragraph could do with a re-think. Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 13:27
  • @F1Krazy, accepted! Really missed it - I mostly read about it in Russian, than open english wiki and missed those points. Close! Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 13:29
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    @F1Krazy: the source (CRS) is quite reliable for the official US position, but what is questionable is that it is from 2005; lots of water under bridge since then. The position might have changed. I don't think this questions should be closed just because that link was provided. Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 17:23
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    @motoDrizzt Knowing OP, I'm guessing that was meant to be sarcastic.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Sep 21, 2019 at 7:41

2 Answers 2


The US has a well-known record for talking peace and love, but refusing to commit to anything which would place restrictions on its actions. For example, there is a treaty on maritime conventions that the US has not signed. The US is unwilling to submit to judgments by the ICC. There are various climate change agreements the US has bailed on.

So why this treaty? Well, the US is one of the few countries with a huge nuclear arsenal. And the US wants to be able to do whatever it wants with those nukes.

  • Please try to elaborate with some references. This seems on track to be a good answer, but I'd dispute the last answer by saying the US did work on disarmament, e. g. through new START.
    – JJJ
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 0:56
  • Not wanting to sign a treaty doesn't mean they don't want peace and they could just see downsides of signing it that outweigh the upsides.
    – Joe W
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 20:37

Acording to this Wikipedia article

The United States has stated that its ratification of the CTBT is conditional upon:

A: The conduct of a Science Based Stockpile Stewardship Program to ensure a high level of confidence in the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons in the active stockpile, including the conduct of a broad range of effective and continuing experimental programs.

B: The maintenance of modern nuclear laboratory facilities and programs in theoretical and exploratory nuclear technology which will attract, retain, and ensure the continued application of our human scientific resources to those programs on which continued progress in nuclear technology depends.

C: The maintenance of the basic capability to resume nuclear test activities prohibited by the CTBT should the United States cease to be bound to adhere to this treaty.

D: Continuation of a comprehensive research and development program to improve our treaty monitoring capabilities and operations.

E: The continuing development of a broad range of intelligence gathering and analytical capabilities and operations to ensure accurate and comprehensive information on worldwide nuclear arsenals, nuclear weapons development programs, and related nuclear programs.

F: The understanding that if the President of the United States is informed by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy (DOE) – advised by the Nuclear Weapons Council, the Directors of DOE's nuclear weapons laboratories and the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command – that a high level of confidence in the safety or reliability of a nuclear weapon type which the two Secretaries consider to be critical to the U.S. nuclear deterrent could no longer be certified, the President, in consultation with Congress, would be prepared to withdraw from the CTBT under the standard "supreme national interests" clause in order to conduct whatever testing might be required.

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