The treaty will only come into effect if the 44 countries that have the capability to develop nuclear weapons ratify it. Although 26 countries, including France and the UK, have ratified the treaty, Russia, China and the US have not. "This decision is a serious blow to the entire system of agreements in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation," said Vladimir Rakhmanin of the Russian foreign ministry. The Senate is concerned that that it would be too difficult to verify whether nations are keeping to the treaty.

Despite the Senate's decision, President Clinton has said the US would retain its moratorium against nuclear tests and abide by the terms of the test ban treaty. Joseph Rotblat, the nuclear and medical physicist who shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize, called the Senate's decision "perverse". Rotblat added that "once the treaty has come into force you have access to a world-wide network of seismic stations that can look for nuclear tests."