Wednesday, June 6, 2007 12:00 PM
ABM Treaty -- The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which banned deployment of a nationwide antimissile system, was signed in 1972 by the United States and the Soviet Union. In December 2001, the United States announced it would withdraw from the treaty, and formally withdrew on June 13, 2002.
CTBT -- The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits all nuclear test explosions, was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in September 1996, but has not gone into force, which happens after the 44 countries with nuclear power or research reactors have ratified the treaty. The five original nuclear countries -- the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China -- have signed the CTBT, but the United States and China have not ratified it.
IAEA -- The International Atomic Energy Agency, an international organization under the United Nations, was founded in 1957 and is based in Vienna, Austria. The IAEA was created to monitor the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation. A provision in the NPT requires non-nuclear countries to accept IAEA safeguards.
ICBM -- An intercontinental ballistic missile from a land-based system that has a range greater than 5,500 km, or 3,400 miles.
LTBT -- The Limited Test Ban Treaty, also called the Partial Test Ban Treaty, was signed in 1963 by the United States, United Kingdom, Russia and many non-nuclear countries. Under the treaty, the nuclear powers pledge to stop testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, underwater and in space. Underground testing is allowed.
NPT -- The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the main treaty for nuclear disarmament, was signed in 1968, went into effect in 1970, and was extended indefinitely in 1995. Under the treaty, the nuclear countries (the United States, United Kingdom, France, China and Russia) pledge not to transfer nuclear weapons and commit to negotiate for nuclear disarmament and the end of nuclear tests. Countries that do not have nuclear weapons pledge not to develop or acquire them. The treaty affirms the members' right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and establishes a safeguards system under the IAEA. An NPT Review Conference is to occur every five years since 1995. The 2005 conference ended without any substantive agreement that would strengthen the treaty, and preparations have begun for the 2010 conference.
SLBM -- Submarine-launched ballistic missile
SORT -- The Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions, also called the Moscow Treaty, was signed by the United States and Russia in May 2002 and went into force in June 2003. Under the treaty, both countries agree to reduce the number of their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,700-2,200 by Dec. 31, 2012.
SSBN -- A nuclear ballistic missile submarine
START -- The United States and Russia signed the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty on July 31, 1991, and pledged to reduce their strategic arsenals to no more than 6,000 deployed nuclear warheads by December 2001. The two countries signed START II on Jan. 3, 1993, to reduce their arsenals further. The U.S. and Russian legislatures had ratified different versions of START II, preventing it from taking force. A later treaty, SORT, included a provision to keep it from affecting the status of START, which expires in December 2009. In June 2002, after the United States withdrew from the ABM Treaty, Russia pulled out of START II.