Treaty approval urged

The House of Representatives in Utah, the state that suffered most from the downwind impact of nuclear testing in Nevada, has called on Congress to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

The 1996 treaty prohibits all nuclear explosions. The United States, once a prime mover in 1963 and 1968 nuclear test limitation treaties, has not ratified the 1996 treaty. It has been approved by 151 nations. Among “Annex 2” states (conceivable nuclear powers) the holdouts, besides the United States, are China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan.

Utah Rep. Jen Seelig, a Salt Lake Democrat, told her colleagues that the 1996 treaty never was ratified by the United States because of concern about the nation’s atomic stockpiles and weapons development in other nations, but that those concerns have been satisfied.

Rep. Mike Noel, a Kane County Republican, was among those supporting the resolution. His mother died of cancer.

In December 2008, President-elect Barack Obama said, “As president, I will reach out to the Senate to secure the ratification of the CTBT at the earliest practical date and will then launch a diplomatic effort to bring onboard other states whose ratifications are required for the treaty to enter into force.”

The last Nevada nuclear test, code named “divider,” was on Sept. 23, 1992. It was a 5 kiloton test. The U.S. now has a policy against testing, but is not bound legally.