The US conducted a high-explosive experiment at a nuclear test site in Nevada on Wednesday, just hours after Russia announced that it would no longer abide by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which prohibits nuclear explosions. Moscow will respond in kind if Washington resumes atomic experiments.
The Energy Department said the test was part of the $1.8 billion Scorpius project, which aims to study the aging nuclear weapons stockpile and improve the detection of underground nuclear tests by other countries.
However, Russia accused the US of preparing for non-compliant nuclear test explosions and warned that it would “mirror” any such actions by Washington.
The CTBT, signed in 1996, has been ratified by 170 countries, including Russia, but not by the US, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. The treaty has not entered into force because eight key states, including the US and China, have not ratified it.
The US and Russia have observed a moratorium on nuclear testing since the early 1990s, but both countries have conducted subcritical tests, which involve explosives and nuclear material but do not trigger a chain reaction.
However, the Pentagon has recently announced plans for developing a high-yield version of the B61 gravity bomb, while a congressional advisory body has urged a massive expansion of the US nuclear arsenal, no matter the cost.