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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nuke Tests Won't Involve Explosions

Russia, responding to a U.S. press report, said Friday it did not plan a nuclear test blast but would continue "subcritical" tests, which do not cause nuclear explosions and are legal under a test ban treaty.

The Washington Times on Thursday cited U.S. intelligence sources as saying satellite photographs showed Russian trucks unloading material near deep shafts at a nuclear test site on the arctic island of Novaya Zemlya.

The materials could be used to plug up the shafts for an underground nuclear test, the paper said.

But a top Russian nuclear official said any planned tests would not involve a nuclear explosion.

Russia said in July it would carry out a subcritical test before winter but would not conduct full-scale tests requiring nuclear explosions, forbidden under the treaty. The United States regularly performs subcritical tests, seen as necessary to maintain its existing nuclear stockpile.

Viktor Mikhailov, first deputy nuclear power minister, said Friday that Russia was continuing its ongoing program of nuclear experiments, but planned no explosions.