France is the only nuclear-weapon State to have closed down and dismantled its nuclear testing centre, located in the Pacifique (Centre d’expérimentation du Pacifique). It now no longer has facilities in which to conduct nuclear tests.
French support to ban nuclear tests has several components:
The definitive end of nuclear tests announced on 20 January 1996.
The dismantling of facilities of the Centre d’expérimentation du Pacifique announced in 1996 and completed in late July 1998. France, together with its European Union partners, is calling for the dismantling of all nuclear testing sites, in a manner that is transparent and open to the international community.
To find out more
The French Defence Ministry published a scientific report - the first of its kind - in March 2007, on the radiological aspects of French nuclear tests in the Pacific. To date, France is the only nuclear-weapon State to publish such extensive information on its testing sites and their surrounding environment.
Also see the 2008 report on monitoring radioactivity in French Polynesia published by the French Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety (ISRN).
Support for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty 1 signed by France on 24 September 1996 and ratified on 6 April 1998 with the United Kingdom. France calls for universal ratification of the CTBT and completion of its verification regime. It provides its active technical and financial support to the provisional technical Secretariat of the CTBT.
Promotion of the CTBT was one of the proposals set out by President Sarkozy in Cherbourg on 21 March 2008 in his disarmament action plan. It was a priority of the French Presidency of the European Union in disarmament and non-proliferation during the second half of 2008. The entry into force of the CTBT is thus one of the key elements of the EU disarmament action plan adopted under the French Presidency and endorsed by the European Council in December 2008. In addition, the European Union adopted an action plan that provides for systematic high-level work to promote the treaty ahead of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
France’s support for the CTBT can likewise be seen in its jointly presiding on 24 and 25 September 2009 the Article XIV Conference 2 with Morocco with a view to facilitating the entry into force of the CTBT.
France welcomes the current momentum for the entry into force of the CTBT. In his speech in Prague in April 2009, President Obama committed to working with the Senate with a view to US ratification of the CTBT as soon as possible and to then launch a “major diplomatic initiative” to ensure its entry into force. A US ratification would have a knock-on effect on the eight other Annex 2 States which have not yet ratified the Treaty.
Moreover, France is helping to bolster the verification regime and support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Preparatory Commission. It is responsible for 24 monitoring stations.
At European level, three joint actions adopted within the framework of the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) yielded work in such areas as training, building verification regime performance and technical assistance to third countries. In that last area, concrete projects as part of the third joint action being implemented are going to benefit the largest number of countries possible among the 28 African and Indian Ocean countries. European Union support likewise furthers the development of scientific and civil uses of technologies in the international watch system. This European support has also been translated into sizeable financial pledges since European Union financial contributions to the CTBT have amounted to over €5 million since 2006.