Accession Number : ADA290740

Title :   Dealing with Decoupled Nuclear Explosions Under a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,

Corporate Author : COLUMBIA UNIV NEW YORK LOWELL MEMORIAL LIBRARY

Personal Author(s) : Sykes, Lynn R.

PDF Url : ADA290740

Report Date : 08 DEC 1994

Pagination or Media Count : 62

Abstract : The detonation of nuclear explosions in large underground cavities so as to muffle or decouple the seismic waves they generated has been debated for more than 35 years. This report reviews the history of the decoupling concept, assesses what countries have the technological capabilities to carry out such a test of a given yield, and evaluates a number of decoupling scenarios. I conclude that testing with large decoupling factors, DF, is feasible for yields of a few kilotons (kt) or larger only in cavities in salt domes. Past nuclear explosions conducted in salt for which cavities may remain standing that are large enough for the full decoupling of explosions with yields greater than or equal 0.5 kt are concentrated in only a few areas of Kazakhstan and Russia. The existence of all cavities of that size that were created by past nuclear explosions is known since the explosions that created those cavities must be at least 20 times larger in yield than the size of a fully decoupled event that can be detonated in them. Hence, the monitoring of cavities created in that way that may remain standing should be relatively easy at the 1 kt level if appropriate verification measures are put in place. While large cavities can be created in salt by solution mining, no country is known to have evacuated such a cavity of brine and then conducted a decoupled nuclear explosion in it. (MM)

Descriptors :   *NUCLEAR EXPLOSION TESTING, *ARMS CONTROL, *NUCLEAR EXPLOSION DETECTION, *TREATIES, USSR, YIELD(NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS), VERIFICATION, UNDERGROUND EXPLOSIONS, CAVITIES, DECOUPLING, SEISMIC WAVES, SALTS, DETONATIONS.

Subject Categories : Government and Political Science
      Nuclear Weapons

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE