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Delegates Hopeful as Superpowers Resume Nuclear Test-Limit Talks

June 27, 1989|From United Press International

GENEVA — The United States and Soviet Union resumed nuclear test limitation talks Monday with delegates predicting an early accord on verification procedures, including mutual on-site inspections.

Measures to ensure verification have been demanded by the Senate before it ratifies 1974 and 1976 treaties placing a ceiling of 150 kilotons on the yield of underground tests and peaceful nuclear explosions. One kiloton of nuclear power is the equivalent of 1,000 pounds of TNT.

The Soviets refused to ratify the treaties alone, although both powers have respected them pending negotiation to prevent cheating. The latest round of negotiations is the fourth since talks began in 1987.

In Washington, the White House said late Monday that the new verification program for the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty has been "substantially completed" and reaffirmed U.S. determination to complete the complementary Threshold Test Ban Treaty so both can be forwarded to the Senate for long-delayed ratification.

The Soviet delegation reiterated Moscow's position that talks would turn immediately to the more significant--and more complex--task of further limits on the size and number of nuclear tests and eventually their "complete cessation."

President Bush made it known, however, that he is maintaining the Reagan Administration's opposition to any early negotiations on banning all nuclear tests because they are needed to maintain the nuclear deterrent.

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