Subcritical Nuclear Test


On February 23, the US and UK conducted a joint subcritical nuclear test at the US test site in Nevada. All nuclear testing is abhorrent, but this particular test, coming as it does during tense negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, is beyond hypocritical to unconscionable. The message to Iran and the rest of the world is: "No, you may not exercise your right as a sovereign nation to build a nuclear weapon, but we will continue to develop new nuclear weapons with which to enforce that prohibition."

 Tadatoshi Akiba, the Mayor of
Hiroshima and President of Mayors for Peace, wrote a protest letter to Tony Blair.  This is what he wrote on February 24, 2006:

The Right Honourable Anthony Charles Lynton Blair

Prime Minister The United Kingdom

Letter of Protest

United Kingdom, in conjunction with the US, conducted a subcritical nuclear test at the American underground test site in Nevada on February 23.

With the international community gravely concerned about nuclear proliferation, the
UK purports to be leading the effort to find a peaceful resolution to the problem of Iran's nuclear program, yet you conduct a subcritical nuclear test, a clear indication that you are developing new nuclear weapons. Such behavior is intolerable. You have brought the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the international agreement regarding nuclear weapons, to the brink of collapse, and, we fear, are provoking a new round of proliferation.

Mayors for Peace is now conducting an Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons that has been endorsed by the US Conference of Mayors, the US National Conference of Black Mayors, the European Parliament, the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, and many other organizations around the world. The vast majority of people and nations on this planet desire the total abolition of nuclear weapons, yet you utterly discount them and conduct a subcritical nuclear test. We are outraged by your trampling on the hopes and desires of the A-bomb survivors and countless millions around the world seeking liberation from nuclear weapons, and, on behalf of the 1,285 cities in 115 countries and territories that are members of the Mayors for Peace, we vehemently protest.

While demanding that non-nuclear-weapon states abandon their nuclear programs, nuclear-weapon states have failed to fulfill the promise of "an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of [their] nuclear arsenals" made at the NPT Review Conference in 2000. This double standard is provoking nuclear proliferation. The prevention of proliferation will require, above all, cooperation and monitoring by the international community. Thus, we urge you halt all nuclear testing, including subcritical testing, and take the lead in a convincing effort to build a genuinely peaceful 21st century free from nuclear weapons.

The Conference of Mayors for Peace