|Timeline of the Nuclear Age 2000s|
The year 2000 began with only minor Y2K-related glitches. In January, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a new national strategy allowing the first-use of nuclear weapons "in case of a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation."
In May, the sixth Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference concluded with the five declared nuclear weapons states pledging "an unequivocal undertaking.to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals." However, no immediate subsequent actions or changes in their policies indicated that they were serious about their promises.
After two highly publicized test failures in the US ballistic missile defense program earlier in the year, President Clinton announced on September 1st that he was unconvinced of the technological feasibility of a national missile defense and deferred a decision on its deployment to the next president. At the same time he ordered the Pentagon to pursue a "robust program" of research to prove the effectiveness of the technology.
In November, Japan decided to restart its Monju fast-breeder reactor that had been shut down since a 1995 accident. In the same month Ukraine shut down the final nuclear power reactor at Chernobyl.
As the year and millennium came to a close, the US conducted its fifth subcritical nuclear test of 2000. Mayor Iccho Itoh of Nagasaki commented, "This is a leap in the dark by a big nuclear country. The US continues to conduct nuclear tests while having agreed to a 'clear commitment to the abolishment of nuclear weapons' at the NPT (Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty) review conference this May. I think its nuclear strategy will be denounced internationally."