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 Post said.
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.
But it hasn't been ruled out. The Post reports one official said it was "very much an ongoing conversation".
US officials could not be reached immediately for a comment.
One expert told the Post a test would spark a new arms race.
“It would be an invitation for other nuclear-armed countries to follow suit,” said Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association. "It would be the starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race."
He added it would prompt North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to tear up his deal with the US not to conduct more tests.
Since 1992, the US has relied on computer modelling rather than live tests. The last known live test was carried out in 2017 by North Korea. The last countries to do open-air tests before that were India and Pakistan in 1998.
Reuters / Newshub.