The Trump administration discussed last week whether to conduct its first nuclear test explosion since 1992, the Washington Post reported late on Friday, citing a senior official and two former officials familiar with the matter.
The topic surfaced at a meeting of senior officials representing the top national security agencies after accusations from the administration that Russia and China are conducting low-yield nuclear tests, the Washington Post said.
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The meeting, however, did not conclude with any agreement to conduct a nuclear test. A decision was ultimately made to take other measures in response to threats posed by Russia and China and avoid a resumption of testing, the report added.
U.S. officials could not be reached immediately for a comment.
In April, the U.S. State Department issued a report saying that China may have secretly set off low-level underground nuclear test explosions despite claiming to observe an international pact banning such blasts.
U.S. concerns about Beijing's possible breaches of a "zero yield" standard for test blasts have been prompted by activities at China's Lop Nur nuclear test site throughout 2019, the State Department report said.
Zero yield refers to a nuclear test in which there is no explosive chain reaction of the type ignited by the detonation of a nuclear warhead.
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"China's possible preparation to operate its Lop Nur test site year-round, its use of explosive containment chambers, extensive excavation activities at Lop Nur and a lack of transparency on its nuclear testing activities ... raise concerns regarding its adherence to the zero yield standard," the report said, without providing evidence of a low-yield test.
Beijing's lack of transparency included blocking data transmissions from sensors linked to a monitoring center operated by the international agency that verifies compliance with a treaty banning nuclear test explosions.