Science: Harder Than It Seemed

The international Conference of Experts that met in Geneva last summer concluded that a worldwide system of 180 inspection stations could detect nearly all underground nuclear tests. Any explosion of even the modest energy of 5 kilotons, they figured, could be distinguished from the noise made by small earthquakes and other natural causes. Only about 100 seismic "events" a year would be borderline cases. These could be followed up and checked by other means.

Two weeks ago the U.S. Government announced that new information has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the 180-station system....

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