officially Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water
Treaty that prohibits all tests of nuclear weapon s except those conducted underground.
U.S.-Soviet test-ban talks began after concerns arose in the 1940s and '50s about the dangers of radioactive fallout from aboveground nuclear tests. These talks made little progress until the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. In the following year, Britain, the U.S., and the Soviet Union signed the treaty, and more than 100 other governments soon followed. France and China were notable nonsignatories. In 1996 the treaty was replaced by the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, which will not take effect until it is signed by all 44 countries with nuclear power plants. India refuses to do so on the ground that the treaty lacks disarmament provisions and permits nonexplosive testing. See also Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty .