Senate Panel Approves Funds For Live Nuclear Testing "If Necessary"

Previously is was only in the realm of speculation whether the White House would actually move forward with recent confirmed "discussions" over resumption of live nuclear testing, which hasn't been done in nearly thirty years, since the close of the Cold War and implementation of arms reduction treaties. 

But now the Senate Armed Services Committee has just brought the US closer to resumption of testing, and appears to be moving forward with giving President Trump the option of pulling the trigger if the decision is made

On Monday multiple reports confirmed that under an amendment by hawkish Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, $10 million is to be set aside in preparation for live nuclear testing

Nuclear test file image, via NPR.

The Hill reports the money would be used if needed to “carry out projects related to reducing the time required to execute a nuclear test if necessary,” according to the proposed measure, which was approved in a 14-13 vote related to a markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last week.

Per The Hill, the funds will be made available related to the Department of Energy and Department of Defense's nuclear programs "if necessary" — which appears to be the big operative if in question.

In May a senior Trump admin official told The Washington Post the idea of a US test is “very much an ongoing conversation.”

But internal White House discussions have reportedly resulted in severe pushback though Trump is said to favor new tests.

Critics cite global proliferation concerns, also as multiple weapons treaties with Russia have lately collapsed after US pullout (such as the INF, Open Skies, and now even New START is said to be in danger), as well as the potential door opening to a new dangerous 'nuclear arms race' with China and Russia.

Proponents are open to new tests, however, based on the belief that US "rapid test" could provide much needed leverage in jump-starting arms negotiations with Russia and China for a White House conceived new trilateral arms control deal.