Members of the Trump administration have explored conducting the first U.S. nuclear test since 1992 in a move that would mark a reversal from a decades-long freeze on such tests.
A senior administration official and two former officials familiar with the deliberations told The Washington Post that discussions were held at a meeting of senior officials from the top national security agencies last Friday. The conversations came in response to accusations that Russia and China are running low-yield nuclear tests, though no evidence has emerged to support the claims.
A senior administration official told the Post that showing Russia and China, two top adversaries, that the U.S. could conduct a “rapid test” could grant Washington leverage in seeking a trilateral nuclear deal.
Last week’s meeting did not conclude with a decision regarding a test, though the conversation on conducting one is reportedly ongoing. However, officials seriously disagreed with each other over the idea.
The U.S. has not conducted a nuclear test since 1992.
The White House and the National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Concerns about the consequences of testing, particularly the health and environmental impacts, led to the signing of the Nuclear Testing and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by 184 nations. However, the U.S. has not ratified the pact.
While major powers have abided by the deal despite it not being ratified by the U.S., Washington has accused Moscow and Beijing of conducting extremely low-yield or underground tests. Russia and China have denied the allegations.