Glossary

P-5

The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (which are also the five nuclear weapon states under the Non-Proliferation Treaty): China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

P-waves

A type of seismic body wave that travels through the interior of the Earth.  P-waves are primary or compressional waves that alternately compress and expand the ground in the direction of the waves’ propagation.  They can pass through any kind of material, i.e. solid, liquid and gaseous. Measuring the azimuths of both P-waves and S-waves makes it possible to identify the direction from which the waves were emitted. P-waves travel faster than S-waves. It is therefore possible to determine the distance of a source event by measuring the different arrival times of both waves. 

Partial Test Ban Treaty

From 1963 bans all “Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water". It was signed 5 August 1963 in Moscow by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. While not banning tests underground, the Treaty does prohibit nuclear explosions in this environment if they cause "radioactive debris to be present outside the territorial limits of the State under whose jurisdiction or control" the explosions were conducted. The Treaty is of unlimited duration and, as of March 2008, 124 countries had ratified the PTBT although it was never signed by nuclear weapon states France or China. 

Party

A person, group or state that agrees to abide by the requirements of an agreement or a treaty.

Passband

This is the range of frequencies or wavelengths of interest to data gatherers. The data acquisition equipment is configured to allow this range of frequencies to pass through unaltered. In the IMS’s monitoring context, passbands are specified for three-component seismic stations and for array seismic stations as follows:
1) For a three-component seismic station using a broadband seismometer, a passband of 0.02 Hz to 16 Hz is required. For a three-component station to meet the required frequency range using a combination of long-period and short-period seismometers, the required long-period passband is 0.02 Hz to 1 Hz, and the required short-period passband is 0.5 Hz to 16 Hz;  
2) For a seismic array station, the vertical short-period array elements are required to have a passband of 0.5 Hz to 16 Hz except in the case of teleseismic arrays, for which the required passband is 0.5 Hz to 8 Hz. The three component recording requirements at an array are identical to those for a three-component station. See also Short period and long period.

Peaceful nuclear explosion

Nuclear explosions carried out for non-military purposes, such as the construction of harbors or canals. PNEs are technically indistinguishable from nuclear explosions of a military nature. Article V of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allows for PNEs. In the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, the States party agreed that Article V of the NPT is to be interpreted in light of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear explosions, including PNEs.

Peaceful nuclear explosions

Nuclear explosions carried out for non-military purposes, such as the construction of harbors or canals. PNEs are technically indistinguishable from nuclear explosions of a military nature. Article V of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allows for PNEs. In the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, the States party agreed that Article V of the NPT is to be interpreted in light of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear explosions, including PNEs.

Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty

"The Treaty between the United States and the U.S.S.R. on Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes," was signed in May 1976. The treaty governs all nuclear explosions conducted outside of nuclear test sites specifically named in the Threshold Test Ban Treaty. The PNET entered into force in December 1990. Many of its provisions were superseded by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear explosions.

Physical and network security

The measures taken to ensure the safe operation of International Monitoring System stations and the data transmission network, to include security fences, tamper switches, and data authentication procedures.

PIDC

Prototype International Data Centre. An experimental data centre set up as part of a project to research monitoring technologies and analysis methods for the verification of a nuclear test ban. The Prototype International Data Centre (PIDC) was created in 1995 in Arlington, Virginia, USA. The PIDC developed analysis software that was later provided to the International Data Centre (IDC) of the CTBTO.

Pipe array system

Related to infrasound monitoring, a pipe array system consists of a series of pipes that connect a large number of uniformly distributed inlet ports to a summing chamber at the inlet to the microbarometer infrasonic sensor. This sensor that can measure air pressure with high precision and is used to monitor compliance with the CTBT by detecting the infrasound signature of a nuclear explosion.

Plutonium

A transuranic element (i.e. having an atomic number greater than 92) produced when uranium is irradiated in a reactor. It is used primarily in nuclear weapons and, along with uranium, in mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel. Plutonium-239 is the most suitable isotope for use in nuclear weapons.

PNE

Same as Peaceful Nuclear Explosion

PNET

Same as Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty

Positive security assurances

Guarantees by nuclear weapon states that they will assist any non-nuclear weapon state that is the target of nuclear aggression or is threatened by such aggression.

Power: Basic system requirements

The station must have a reliably primary power source capable of meeting the data availability requirements. A secondary source of power is required for those parts of the station where failure of the primary power system would automatically result in loss of mission capability of the station. Power supplies should be regulated and protected from surges, including lightning strikes.

Preparatory Commission

The Preparatory Commission is the CTBTO's main policy-making organ. It is composed of all State Signatories.

Primary seismic station

Seismic stations can detect and identify shockwaves in the Earth caused by nuclear explosions. While primary seismic stations send data continuously in real time to the IDC, auxiliary seismic station send data on demand only.

Primary seismic stations

Seismic stations can detect and identify shockwaves in the Earth caused by nuclear explosions. While primary seismic stations send data continuously in real time to the IDC, auxiliary seismic station send data on demand only.

Proliferation

The spread of weapons of mass destruction (i.e. nuclear, biological and chemical weapons). Horizontal proliferation refers to the spread of WMD to states that have not previously possessed them. Vertical proliferation refers to an increase in the amount or devastating capacity of any currently existing WMD arsenals within a state. See also Non-proliferation, Non-proliferation Treaty, WMD.

Protocol

A negotiated document often meant as a supplement to a treaty or agreement, stipulating specific action that should be taken to fulfill the terms of the agreement or modifying the agreement.

Protocols

Negotiated documents often meant as a supplement to a treaty or agreement, stipulating specific action that should be taken to fulfill the terms of the agreement or modifying the agreement.

Prototype International Data Centre (PIDC)

An experimental data centre set up as part of a project to research monitoring technologies and analysis methods for the verification of a nuclear test ban. The Prototype International Data Centre (PIDC) was created in 1995 in Arlington, Virginia, USA. The PIDC developed analysis software that was later provided to the International Data Centre (IDC) of the CTBTO.

Provisional Technical Secretariat

Assists the CTBTO in carrying out the activities in its mandate, including the establishment of the verification regime and the promotion of the Treaty in all its aspects. 

PTBT

Same as Partial Test Ban Treaty

PTS

Same as Provisional Technical Secretariat

Pu

Same as plutonium

Pugwash

Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs are held annually and bring together influential scholars and public figures from around the world who are concerned with reducing the danger of armed conflict and seeking cooperative solutions for global problems. Pugwash and Professor Joseph Rotblat, one of the initiators of the Conferences, jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. The Pugwash Conferences take their name from the location of the first meeting, which was held in 1957 in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada. The stimulus for the gathering was a Manifesto issued in 1955 by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, which called upon scientists of all political persuasions to meet to discuss the threat posed to civilization by the advent of thermonuclear weapons.