White House Statement on the Soviet-United States Joint Verification Experiment for Nuclear Testing


August 17, 1988


Today at the U.S. nuclear test site in Nevada, the United States and the Soviet Union will conduct the first phase of the Joint Verification Experiment (JVE). This is the result of a U.S.-Soviet agreement which provides for one underground nuclear explosion experiment at the U.S. test site and for another such experiment at the Soviet test site near Semipalatinsk in September. U.S. and Soviet scientists, technicians, and observers will be present at each other's test site to measure yields of the explosions and to discuss the results of the two tests.


During the December 1987 Washington summit, the U.S. and Soviet Union agreed to design and conduct the JVE to facilitate an agreement on effective verification measures for the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT) of 1974 and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (PNET) of 1976. Such an agreement on effective verification measures would in turn permit these two treaties to be ratified, a longtime goal of the administration. The JVE will provide the opportunity to measure the yield of nuclear explosions using techniques proposed by each side. The United States has proposed CORRTEX, a direct hydrodynamic yield measurement system, as the most accurate technique available for verification of the TTBT and PNET. Through the JVE, the United States hopes to provide the Soviet Union with the information it needs to accept the routine U.S. use of CORRTEX in the verification of these two treaties.


For the past four decades a strong nuclear deterrent has ensured U.S. security and helped to preserve the freedom of our allies and friends. As long as we must rely on nuclear weapons, we must continue to test to ensure the reliability, effectiveness, safety, security, and survivability of our nuclear arsenal. Today's JVE is a further positive step which reflects the success of the administration's practical and measured approach to nuclear testing.