Multilateral efforts towards nuclear disarmament marked a significant achievement when the three nuclear powers – the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States – concluded the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT). This week 50 years ago on September 24, 1963, the U.S. Senate ratified the PTBT with a bipartisan majority of 80 to 19 and the treaty entered into force on October 5, 1963.
This treaty banned all test detonations of nuclear weapons except underground. Prior to this, atmospheric nuclear testing had increased global fallout levels to unprecedented levels. Radioactive elements such as strontium-90 had found their way into the food chain and ultimately into human bones and teeth, as U.S. scientist Louise Reiss discovered through her famous Baby Tooth Survey, which caused a public outcry.
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