Glossary

Baruch Plan

The US initiative to outlaw nuclear weapons and to internationalize global stocks of fissile material for use in peaceful nuclear programmes. After Bernard Baruch proposed the plan in 1946 at the United Nations, the United States and Soviet Union held negotiations on the programme but never reached agreement. The United States insisted on retaining control of its nuclear weapons while all fissile material was put under international control, while the Soviet Union demanded that the United States cede its weapons to international control before other countries gave up their fissile material. The United States also wanted sanctions for noncompliance as part of the regime, while the Soviet Union objected.

Basic communications topology

The arrangement of communications equipment at stations whose data are routed directly to the International Data Centre via the Global Communications Infrastructure.

Becquerel

One Becquerel (Bq) is defined as the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second. The becquerel is named after Henri Becquerel, who shared a Nobel Prize with Pierre and Marie Curie in 1903 for their work in discovering radioactivity. A gigabecquerel is one billion, or 1000.000.000 becquerel.

Berlin blockade

Lasting almost a year, from 24 June 1948 to 11 May 1949, the Berlin Blockade began when the Soviet Union blocked railway and road access by the three post-World War II Western powers (i.e.  France, the United Kingdom and the United States) to the Western-occupied sectors of Berlin. The Blockade stopped after the Western powers used airplanes to airlift food and other provisions.

Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was the most prominent symbol of the division between East and West Germany, separating West Berlin from East Berlin and the rest of East Germany. It was also a symbol of the Cold War confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies.  The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 by the German Democratic Republic to prevent East Berliners escaping from the Soviet-controlled East German state into the West of the city, which was then occupied by the Americans, British and French. The fall of the wall in 1989 occurred after major civil unrest, mainly by Germans residing in the East who wished to travel freely to West Berlin. This paved the way for the reunification of Germany on 3 October 1990.

Bilateral

Negotiations, arrangements, agreements, or treaties that affect or are between two parties, countries, etc.

Body waves

Seismic waves that travel through the interior of the Earth.  There are two different types of body waves: P-waves and S-waves. P-waves are primary or compressional waves that alternately compress and expand the ground in the direction of the waves’ propagation.  These waves can move through any material.  S-waves – secondary or shear waves – move perpendicular to the direction of the waves’ propagation.  S-waves can only move through solids as this kind of movement is impossible in liquid or gaseous materials.

Bombers

Aircraft carrying conventional or nuclear bombs or conventionally or nuclear-armed cruise missiles for use against ground targets.

Boosted fission nuclear weapon

A nuclear weapon that relies primarily on fission, but gets some of its power from fusion.

Borehole (seismic)

A hole drilled up to 50 meters into the earth, where seismometers and digitizers are installed to measure seismic activity.

Buffering

The process of creating a "cushion" of acquired data despite interruptions in data transmission from digital and physical causes, in order to ensure a constant and verified stream of data. A buffer is a temporary record of station data maintained to minimize data loss during a period of communication outage with the International Data Centre.