Joint Verification Experiment Agreement

1986 – March 14: on-SITE MONITORING OF NUCLEAR TESTS WITH CORRTEX – President Reagan announces a new specific proposal for monitoring nuclear tests on the ground to strengthen the verification provisions of the TTBT and PNET. The proposal contains a hydrodynamic method of performance measurement — known as CORRTEX — that Soviet scientists are invited to inspect at the U.S. test site and monitor during a nuclear weapons test. Although the available evidence is unclear in light of the ambiguities surrounding the Soviet test model and the uncertainties of the verification, and although we have not been able to reach a definitive conclusion, this evidence indicates that soviet nuclear tests are a likely violation of the legal obligations under the TTBT for a series of tests. According to C. Paul Robinson, chief negotiator of the Geneva nuclear test talks, a breakthrough was made late last year, when the Soviets agreed to conduct the joint verification experiment. Both sides are closely monitoring nuclear explosions at nuclear test sites on the other side. 1954 – April 2 INDIAN “STANDSTILL AGREEMENT” – Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, calls for a “status quo agreement” on nuclear tests, the first initiative of its kind. In April, the Soviets proposed a joint experiment to demonstrate their approach to detecting nuclear SLCMs on ships equipped with a remote sensor. The Soviets, however, could not explain how this experience would tell us more than we already know. Such technology would not be effective under realistic conditions, including armoured nuclear warheads and radiation background generated by nuclear propulsion units, and would in any case not be able to distinguish between nuclear SLMCs and other nuclear weapons on board the ship. JVE provided the first opportunity for scientists from the American and Soviet nuclear laboratories to meet and work together. At the Nevada test site and during the follow-up experiment at the Soviet test site Semipalatinsk, they developed confidence-building measures that enabled the ratification of the TTBT in 1990.

Both the Russians and the Americans agree that cooperation between American and Soviet nuclear weapons scientists began with the CVE and subsequent discussions on the mechanisms for organizing TTBTs during the Geneva negotiations. This section contains general information on previous arms control agreements, events and experiences. For example, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on measures to further reduce and limit strategic offensive weapons (New START), as well as experiences such as the Black Sea experiment, the UK-Norway initiative and the trilateral initiative.