Reps. Steven Horsford and Dina Titus Announce Nuclear Testing Ban Legislation

June 8, 2020
Press Release

Las Vegas, Nev. -- Today, Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04) and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01) introduced the Preserving Leadership Against Nuclear Explosives Testing (PLANET) Act. This legislation, which is the House companion to legislation introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), would prevent the Trump administration from restarting explosive nuclear weapons testing by restricting funds for fiscal year 2021 and all previous years from being used for such a purpose.

“The Trump administration has repeatedly advocated for policies that would compromise the safety of Nevadans, and this recent discussion of resuming nuclear testing in our state is yet another example of such disrespect,” said Congressman Horsford. “Every year for the last two decades, the Secretaries of Defense and Energy have reported that the U.S. stockpile is safe, secure, and effective in the absence of nuclear testing. Resuming nuclear testing would open a door to allow other nations to openly conduct nuclear test explosions while imposing immense financial and health costs on the American people.”

"Decades ago, the Cold War Patriots risked their lives at the Nevada Test Site to protect our freedom and defend democracy around the world,” said Congresswoman Titus. “Today, the Trump Administration is considering asking Nevadans to put themselves in harm's way for an unjustified experiment that would make our country less secure. We must continue to ensure the safety and reliability of our nuclear stockpile without encouraging other nations to conduct tests of nuclear weapons. I’m introducing this legislation to stop the Trump Administration from needlessly putting Nevadans and all Americans in danger.”

According to a May 22 report by The Washington Post, senior Trump administration officials at a White House meeting earlier that month discussed conducting a nuclear test. The Post cited a senior administration official saying that a nuclear test could strengthen U.S. negotiating leverage in possible future arms control talks with Russia and China.

Specifically, the PLANET Act would:

  • Prohibit the use of funds appropriated in Fiscal Year 2021 or from any previous year to prepare for or to conduct an explosive nuclear test that produces any yield
  • Allow for stockpile stewardship activities that are consistent with U.S. law – such as certifying the safety, security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile – so long as those activities are consistent with the “zero-yield” scope of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

The United States last conducted a nuclear test explosion in 1992, and signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996, which commit to not conducting a nuclear weapons test of any yield, which can be verified by an array of International Monitoring Stations (IMS) positioned all around the planet.  While the United States Senate has not yet ratified the CTBT, the country did lead the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2310 (2016), which calls upon all countries, including the United States, not to defeat the object and purpose of the CTBT by conducting a nuclear test.