Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
Opened for signatureSeptember 10, 1996[1] in New York
Entered into forceNot yet in force
Conditions for entry into forceThe treaty will enter into force 180 days after it is ratified by all of the following 44 (Annex 2) countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Romania, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Vietnam.
Parties140, including 34 of the 44 Annex 2 countries [2] (as of 19 September 2007)
Enlarge picture
Annex Two countries that are parties to, signatories to, or are outside the CTBT are coloured red, orange and yellow respectively. Other states that are parties to, signatories to, or are outside the CTBT are coloured blue, azure and cyan respectively
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes.


The Treaty was opened for signature in New York on 24 September 1996, when it was signed by 71 States, including five of the eight then nuclear-capable states. The CTBT has now been signed by 177 states and ratified by 138. On 16 January 2007, Moldova ratified the CTBT, completing the ratification of the treaty by all the states of Europe. India and Pakistan, though not nuclear weapons states as defined by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), did not sign; neither did the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). India and Pakistan conducted back-to-back nuclear tests in 1998, while North Korea withdrew from the NPT in 2003 and tested a nuclear device in 2006. Fifteen other states have not signed.


(Article I):
  1. Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control.
  2. Each State Party undertakes, furthermore, to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon tests explosion or any other nuclear explosion.


Arms control advocates had campaigned for the adoption of a treaty banning all nuclear explosions since the early 1950s, when public concern was aroused as a result of radioactive fall-out from atmospheric nuclear tests and the escalating arms race. Over 50 nuclear explosions were registered between 16 July 1945, when the first nuclear explosive test was conducted by the United States at Alamogordo, New Mexico, and 31 December 1953. Prime Minister Nehru of India voiced the heightened international concern in 1954, when he proposed the elimination of all nuclear test explosions worldwide. However, within the context of the Cold War, skepticism in the capability to verify compliance with a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty posed a major obstacle to any agreement. On 13 October 1999 the United States Senate rejected ratification of the CTBT.

Partial Test Ban Treaty, 1963

Limited success was achieved with the signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, which banned nuclear tests in the atmosphere, underwater and in space. However, neither France nor China, signed the PTBT.

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, 1968

A major step towards non-proliferation of nuclear weapons came with the signing of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968. Under the NPT, non-nuclear weapon states were prohibited from, inter alia, possessing, manufacturing or acquiring nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. All signatories, including nuclear weapon states, were committed to the goal of total nuclear disarmament.

Negotiations for the CTBT

Given the political situation prevailing in the subsequent decades, little progress was made in nuclear disarmament until 1991. Parties to the PTBT held an amendment conference that year to discuss a proposal to convert the Treaty into an instrument banning all nuclear-weapon tests; with strong support from the UN General Assembly, negotiations for a comprehensive test-ban treaty began in 1993.

One of the largest issues was the priorities of the different countries. The Non-aligned movement countries were highly concerned with vertical proliferation (more and more bombs, new bomb technology) while the Nuclear Powers were focusing on horizontal proliferation (nuclear bombs being produced by states other than themselves).

Adoption of the CTBT, 1996

Intensive efforts were made over the next three years to draft the Treaty text and its two annexes, culminating in the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on 10 September 1996 by the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

US Ratification of the CTBT

The US has signed the CTBT, but not ratified it. There is ongoing debate whether or not the US should ratify the CTBT. Proponents of ratification claim that it would:
  1. Establish an international norm that would push other nuclear capable countries like North Korea, Pakistan, and India to sign.
  2. Constrain worldwide nuclear proliferation by vastly limiting a country's ability to make nuclear advancements that only testing can ensure.
  3. Not compromise US national security because the Science Based Stockpile Stewardship Program serves as a means for maintaining current US nuclear capabilities without physical detonation.

Monitoring of the CTBT

Geophysical and other technologies are used to monitor for compliance with the Treaty: seismology, hydroacoustics, infrasound, and radionuclide monitoring. On Site Inspection is provided for where concerns about compliance arise.

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), an international organization headquartered in Vienna, Austria, was created to build the verification regime, including establishment and provisional operation of the network of monitoring stations, and development of the On Site Inspection capability.

As of December 2005, around 65 percent of monitoring stations are operational.


Original text derived from Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization.

Signatures and Ratifications

Source: CTBTO: Status of Signature and Ratification

Bold-type indicate the 44 required states.

Afghanistan24 SEP 200324 SEP 2003
Albania27 SEP 199623 APR 2003
Algeria15 OCT 199611 JUL 2003
Andorra24 SEP 199612 JUL 2006
Angola27 SEP 1996
Antigua and Barbuda16 APR 199711 JAN 2006
Argentina24 SEP 199604 DEC 1998
Armenia01 OCT 199612 JUL 2006
Australia24 SEP 199609 JUL 1998
Austria24 SEP 199613 MAR 1998
Azerbaijan28 JUL 199702 FEB 1999
Bahamas04 FEB 2005
Bahrain24 SEP 199612 APR 2004
Bangladesh24 OCT 199608 MAR 2000
Belarus24 SEP 199613 SEP 2000
Belgium24 SEP 199629 JUN 1999
Belize14 NOV 200126 MAR 2004
Benin27 SEP 199606 MAR 2001
Bolivia24 SEP 199604 OCT 1999
Bosnia and Herzegovina24 SEP 199626 OCT 2006
Botswana16 SEP 200228 OCT 2002
Brazil24 SEP 199624 JUL 1998
Brunei Darussalam22 JAN 1997
Bulgaria24 SEP 199629 SEP 1999
Burkina Faso27 SEP 199617 APR 2002
Burundi24 SEP 1996
Cambodia26 SEP 199610 NOV 2000
Cameroon16 NOV 200106 FEB 2006
Canada24 SEP 199618 DEC 1998
Cape Verde01 OCT 199601 MAR 2006
Central African Republic19 DEC 2001
Chad08 OCT 1996
Chile24 SEP 199612 JUL 2000
China24 SEP 1996
Colombia24 SEP 1996
Comoros12 DEC 1996
Congo11 FEB 1997
Cook Islands05 DEC 199706 SEP 2005
Costa Rica24 SEP 199625 SEP 2001
Cote d'Ivoire25 SEP 199611 MAR 2003
Croatia24 SEP 199602 MAR 2001
Cyprus24 SEP 199618 JUL 2003
Czech Republic12 NOV 199611 SEP 1997
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Democratic Republic of the Congo04 OCT 199628 SEP 2004
Denmark24 SEP 199621 DEC 1998
Djibouti21 OCT 199615 JUL 2005
Dominican Republic03 OCT 199604 SEP 2007
Ecuador24 SEP 199612 NOV 2001
Egypt14 OCT 1996
El Salvador24 SEP 199611 SEP 1998
Equatorial Guinea09 OCT 1996
Eritrea11 NOV 200311 NOV 2003
Estonia20 NOV 199613 AUG 1999
Ethiopia25 SEP 199608 AUG 2006
Fiji24 SEP 199610 OCT 1996
Finland24 SEP 199615 JAN 1999
France24 SEP 199606 APR 1998
Gabon07 OCT 199620 SEP 2000
Gambia09 APR 2003
Georgia24 SEP 199627 SEP 2002
Germany24 SEP 199620 AUG 1998
Ghana03 OCT 1996
Greece24 SEP 199621 APR 1999
Grenada10 OCT 199619 AUG 1998
Guatemala20 SEP 1999
Guinea03 OCT 1996
Guinea-Bissau11 APR 1997
Guyana07 SEP 200007 MAR 2001
Haiti24 SEP 199601 DEC 2005
Holy See24 SEP 199618 JUL 2001
Honduras25 SEP 199630 OCT 2003
Hungary25 SEP 199613 JUL 1999
Iceland24 SEP 199626 JUN 2000
Indonesia24 SEP 1996
Iran, Islamic Republic of24 SEP 1996
Ireland24 SEP 199615 JUL 1999
Israel25 SEP 1996
Italy24 SEP 199601 FEB 1999
Jamaica11 NOV 199613 NOV 2001
Japan24 SEP 199608 JUL 1997
Jordan26 SEP 199625 AUG 1998
Kazakhstan30 SEP 199614 MAY 2002
Kenya14 NOV 199630 NOV 2000
Kiribati07 SEP 200007 SEP 2000
Kuwait24 SEP 199606 MAY 2003
Kyrgyzstan08 OCT 199602 OCT 2003
Lao People's Democratic Republic30 JUL 199705 OCT 2000
Latvia24 SEP 199620 NOV 2001
Lebanon16 SEP 2005
Lesotho30 SEP 199614 SEP 1999
Liberia01 OCT 1996
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya13 NOV 200106 JAN 2004
Liechtenstein27 SEP 199621 SEP 2004
Lithuania07 OCT 199607 FEB 2000
Luxembourg24 SEP 199626 MAY 1999
Madagascar09 OCT 199615 SEP 2005
Malawi09 OCT 1996
Malaysia23 JUL 1998
Maldives01 OCT 199707 SEP 2000
Mali18 FEB 199704 AUG 1999
Malta24 SEP 199623 JUL 2001
Marshall Islands24 SEP 1996
Mauritania24 SEP 199630 APR 2003
Mexico24 SEP 199605 OCT 1999
Micronesia, Federated States of24 SEP 199625 JUL 1997
Moldova24 SEP 199716 JAN 2007
Monaco01 OCT 199618 DEC 1998
Mongolia01 OCT 199608 AUG 1997
Montenegro23 OCT 200623 OCT 2006
Morocco24 SEP 199617 APR 2000
Mozambique26 SEP 1996
Myanmar25 NOV 1996
Namibia24 SEP 199629 JUN 2001
Nauru08 SEP 200012 NOV 2001
Nepal08 OCT 1996
Netherlands24 SEP 199623 MAR 1999
New Zealand27 SEP 199619 MAR 1999
Nicaragua24 SEP 199605 DEC 2000
Niger03 OCT 199609 SEP 2002
Nigeria08 SEP 200027 SEP 2001
Norway24 SEP 199615 JUL 1999
Oman23 SEP 199913 JUN 2003
Palau12 AUG 20031 AUG 2007
Panama24 SEP 199623 MAR 1999
Papua New Guinea25 SEP 1996
Paraguay25 SEP 199604 OCT 2001
Peru25 SEP 199612 NOV 1997
Philippines24 SEP 199623 FEB 2001
Poland24 SEP 199625 MAY 1999
Portugal24 SEP 199626 JUN 2000
Qatar24 SEP 199603 MAR 1997
Republic of Korea24 SEP 199624 SEP 1999
Romania24 SEP 199605 OCT 1999
Russian Federation24 SEP 199630 JUN 2000
Rwanda30 NOV 200430 NOV 2004
Saint Kitts and Nevis23 MAR 200427 APR 2005
Saint Lucia04 OCT 199605 APR 2001
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa09 OCT 199627 SEP 2002
San Marino07 OCT 199612 MAR 2002
São Tomé and Príncipe26 SEP 1996
Saudi Arabia
Senegal26 SEP 199609 JUN 1999
(continuing the membership of Serbia and Montenegro)
08 JUN 200119 MAY 2004
Seychelles24 SEP 199613 APR 2004
Sierra Leone08 SEP 200017 SEP 2001
Singapore14 JAN 199910 NOV 2001
Slovakia30 SEP 199603 MAR 1998
Slovenia24 SEP 199631 AUG 1999
Solomon Islands03 OCT 1996
South Africa24 SEP 199630 MAR 1999
Spain24 SEP 199631 JUL 1998
Sri Lanka24 OCT 1996
Sudan10 JUN 200410 JUN 2004
Suriname14 JAN 199707 FEB 2006
Swaziland24 SEP 1996
Sweden24 SEP 199602 DEC 1998
Switzerland24 SEP 199601 OCT 1999
Syrian Arab Republic
Tajikistan07 OCT 199610 JUN 1998
Thailand12 NOV 1996
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia29 OCT 199814 MAR 2000
Togo02 OCT 199602 JUL 2004
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia16 OCT 199623 SEP 2004
Turkey24 SEP 199616 FEB 2000
Turkmenistan24 SEP 199620 FEB 1998
Uganda07 NOV 199614 MAR 2001
Ukraine27 SEP 199623 FEB 2001
United Arab Emirates25 SEP 199618 SEP 2000
United Kingdom24 SEP 199606 APR 1998
United Republic of Tanzania30 SEP 200430 SEP 2004
United States of America24 SEP 1996
Uruguay24 SEP 199621 SEP 2001
Uzbekistan03 OCT 199629 MAY 1997
Vanuatu24 SEP 199616 SEP 2005
Venezuela03 OCT 199613 MAY 2002
Viet Nam24 SEP 199610 MAR 2006
Yemen30 SEP 1996
Zambia03 DEC 199623 FEB 2006
Zimbabwe13 OCT 1999

See also

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