UCS Statement on Ratification of New START

December 22, 2010
David Wright
Former contributor

The Senate today approved the New START Treaty by a 71 to 26 vote. The treaty, which required a two-thirds majority, will reduce each country’s strategic nuclear arsenals to no more than 1,550 deployed warheads and 800 delivery vehicles.

Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, released the following statement:

The Union of Concerned Scientists applauds the Senate for rising above narrow partisanship and endorsing New START. We are particularly grateful for the tremendous bipartisan leadership provided by Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar.

New START is just that: a new start in a global, cooperative effort to reduce the nuclear threat. It reflects a strong and growing bipartisan consensus that nuclear weapons are a security liability. They do not protect us against today’s threats.

But a “new start” is just that. There is much more that needs to be done. Even after the New START reductions, there still will be thousands of nuclear weapons around the world, and most of them are in U.S. and Russian arsenals. If even one is ever detonated again, the consequences would be devastating, affecting everyone on the planet.

It is unfortunate that every senator did not support this treaty, but the Senate’s approval has laid the groundwork for the next steps to reduce the nuclear threat. The Senate should approve the ratification of the 1999 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The United States and Russia should negotiate a new treaty covering strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, both deployed and reserve. And the United States and Russia should join with other nuclear nations to begin talks to ban the production of fissile material for weapons.