U.S. decision is near on new nuclear tests

May 14, 1993|By Newsday

WASHINGTON -- The Clinton administration is nearing a decision on resuming underground nuclear tests, a move critics say would be unjustified technically and could hamper efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

A nine-month test moratorium expires July 1, after which Congress has authorized up to 15 nuclear tests to check the safety and reliability of existing weapons. No tests would be allowed after Sept. 30, 1996, unless another country conducts a test first.

The United States can resume its tests once the White House submits a justification for them to Congress as well as plans for negotiating a comprehensive test ban with other nuclear powers by 1996.

A Pentagon aide, who asked not to be identified, said senior administration officials were to try to resolve disputes over the testing issue and present recommendations to President Clinton a matter of days." He predicted that the White House will decide to go ahead with at least some of the tests allowed by Congress.

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