President Clinton's decision was based, in part, on the restraint other nuclear powers have shown over pressure to resume testing in response to China's test last October.
A White House spokeswoman, Dee Dee Myers, said Mr Clinton was concerned about the impact resumed American nuclear tests would have on comprehensive ban talks which opened in January.
Britain, which has traditionally relied on testing its nuclear warheads in the Nevada desert, said that the moratorium extension was not unexpected. 'We reaffirm we have no intention of testing while the US moratorium continues,' a Foreign Office spokesman said. 'We would also reaffirm our commitment to working with energy and speed towards the completion of an effective test ban treaty.'
When President Clinton instituted the test ban in 1992, Britain fiercely resisted the move as three tests were planned on Trident warheads 'for safety reasons'. But the Government has reluctantly accepted that world opinion is set against testing.Reuse content