"Since the United States is committed to ending nuclear testing, we do not need to do these subcritical tests," says Robert Tiller, Director of Security Programs at PSR. "It is outrageous for the US to continue these needless and expensive tests at a time when we should be setting an example of disarmament."
Although these subcritical tests are technically permitted under the terms of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Physicians for Social Responsibility believes that the tests are totally unnecessary for the maintenance of the nation's nuclear stockpile.
The U.S. has declined to open the tests to a broad range of observers from other nations and from non-governmental organizations. "This lack of transparency creates a very serious perception issue," says Tiller. "Why should other countries trust that our intentions are peaceful if we hide our activities and keep acting as if we're preparing to use nuclear weapons? The tests send the wrong message to other nations at a time when there is increased interest in banning all nuclear weapons. "
Another nuclear test has been approved and funded by Congress and will be conducted at the nuclear test site later this year. DOE is seeking approval and funding for additional tests in the coming years. Physicians and other concerned citizens are calling for a halt to these tests and for a strong commitment to both the text and the spirit of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
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Robert W. Tiller is the Director of Security Programs at PSR, a national nonprofit organization of more than 15,000 health professionals working to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Tiller has more than 15 years experience as a lobbyist on arms control and disarmament issues and has authored dozens of articles on military spending, foreign affairs and other public policy issues.