Fukushima: Another Reason to Ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Over the past two weeks, the monitoring system put in place under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has proved useful in helping the international community weather the effects of Japan’s massive 9.0 earthquake. Designed to detect nuclear weapons tests, the CTBT’s network of global monitoring stations has enabled the international community to track Fukushima’s radioactive plume, which reached the West Coast of the United States last week. Perhaps even more significantly, in the immediate aftermath of the quake, data from the CTBT’s monitoring system allowed scientists to issue tsunami alerts for Japan, Hawaii, and other parts of the Pacific. The utility of this monitoring system during this terrible time should serve as a reminder to the Obama administration and the Senate that ratifying the CTBT would strengthen both US and global security.

The above excerpt was originally published in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.