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Trump Administration Mulls First US Nuclear Test in Decades


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The Trump administration "has discussed whether to conduct the first U.S. nuclear test explosion since 1992," reports the Washington Post, "in a move that would have far-reaching consequences for relations with other nuclear powers and reverse a decades-long moratorium on such actions, said a senior administration official and two former officials familiar with the deliberations." The matter came up at a meeting of senior officials representing the top national security agencies last Friday, following accusations from administration officials that Russia and China are conducting low-yield nuclear tests — an assertion that has not been substantiated by publicly available evidence and that both countries have denied. A senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the sensitive nuclear discussions, said that demonstrating to Moscow and Beijing that the United States could "rapid test" could prove useful from a negotiating standpoint as Washington seeks a trilateral deal to regulate the arsenals of the biggest nuclear powers. The meeting did not conclude with any agreement to conduct a test, but a senior administration official said the proposal is "very much an ongoing conversation." Another person familiar with the meeting, however, said a decision was ultimately made to take other measures in response to threats posed by Russia and China and avoid a resumption of testing... During the meeting, serious disagreements emerged over the idea, in particular from the National Nuclear Security Administration, according to two people familiar with the discussions. The Post points out that since 1945 "at least eight countries have collectively conducted about 2,000 nuclear tests, of which more than 1,000 were carried out by the United States. "The environmental and health-related consequences of nuclear testing moved the process underground, eventually leading to near-global moratorium on testing in this century with the exception of North Korea."

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