Posted by: maboulette | May 23, 2020

Is Trump Pushing To Resume Nuclear Weapons Testing?

chart of testing

The Trump administration has been discussing whether to conduct America’s first nuclear weapons test in almost 30 years, according to a report in The Washington Post.   A senior official in the administration told the Post on Friday that deliberations occurred on Friday May 15, while a meeting with members from top national security agencies was being held.


There was at least one member of the Trump administration who began the discussions by claiming that both China and Russia are conducting low-yield, underground nuclear tests of their own.  Both countries have denied this.  Members at the May 15 meeting proposed that undertaking a rapid test of US nuclear weapons might help Washington negotiating with both Beijing and Moscow.


The last full-scaled underground test of a nuclear weapon was conducted by Los Alamos National Laboratory at the Nevada Test Site.  This test which was code named “Divider” was the last of 1,030 nuclear tests carried out by the US.


Daryl Kimball who is the executive director of the Arms Control Association, told the Post:

“It would be the starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race. You would also disrupt the negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who may no longer feel compelled to honor his moratorium on nuclear testing.  If this administration believes that a nuclear test explosion and nuclear brinkmanship is going to coerce negotiating partners to make unilateral concessions, that’s a dangerous ploy.”

These were some of the sentiments echoed by some members of the national security agencies during the May 15th meeting.


The administration official told the Post that there were serious disagreements about whether the US should begin nuclear weapons testing again.  Members of the National Nuclear Security Administration are said to have been especially vocal.  This same official claims that the proposal to resume weapons testing – while divisive – is very much an ongoing conversation.  However, another source that is familiar with the May 15th meeting, claimed it concluded with a decision to avoid a resumption of testing.



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