MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. The mission to resume nuclear tests, should they be necessary, which has been set by Russian President Vladimir Putin, will be accomplished as the Novaya Zemlya nuclear test site is being kept in ready condition for operation, a source close to the Russian Defense Ministry told TASS on Tuesday.
"The task set by the Russian president to prepare for nuclear tests will certainly be accomplished. The Novaya Zemlya nuclear test site has been kept in ready condition for the resumption of nuclear tests if such a need arises," he said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly that the Defense Ministry and the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation should "get ready to carry out nuclear tests if necessary." However, Putin added that Russia "won’t be the first to conduct them."
Scientific Director of the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics Vyacheslav Solovyov told TASS on February 8 that nuclear tests could be resumed at the Novaya Zemlya nuclear test site if such a need arose and a political decision was made. "A special program is in effect to maintain the testing site’s readiness," he explained.
The Novaya Zemlya nuclear test site is maintained by the Russian Defense Ministry’s 12th Main Department. A total of 130 tests were carried out there between September 21, 1955, and October 24, 1990, including 88 atmospheric, three underwater and 39 underground tests.