1976: THRESHOLD TEST BAN TREATY

The US and Soviet Union negotiated and signed an agreement that limited nuclear tests to no more than 150 kilotons of explosive power—roughly 10 times the size of the Hiroshima blast. This limit was seen as a way to “stabilize” the nuclear balance and prevent one side from gaining advantage. Signed in 1976, the treaty was not ratified and entered into force until 1990. This delay was due both to geopolitical factors and to a lack of confidence in the ability to measure test size. By 1987, treaty compliance could be assured by several methods, including hydrodynamic tests, seismic monitors, and direct on-site inspection. LEARN MORE

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