New Zealand second State signatory to have signed Facility Arrangement

New Zealand second State
signatory to have signed
Facility Arrangement

On Friday, 13 November 1998, a Facility Arrangement was signed between the Permanent Representative of New Zealand, Ambassador Joan Mosley, and the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom), Wolfgang Hoffmann. The ceremony took place at the headquarters of CTBTO PrepCom in Vienna. New Zealand is the second State signatory, after Canada, to have signed such an agreement.

The purpose of the Facility Arrangement is to grant the necessary legal authority to the CTBTO PrepCom to undertake work on New Zealand territory to establish or upgrade the six monitoring stations that New Zealand is hosting to implement the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). In addition to the six monitoring stations, the National Radiation Laboratory at Christchurch will also be ready to provide its expertise, on request, to supplement data drawn from the worldwide network of radionuclide monitoring stations.

Work to prepare the six New Zealand monitoring stations to meet the criteria of the International Monitoring System provided for in the CTBT is proceeding apace. The two radionuclide stations at Chatham Island and Kaitaia are being installed and at least one will be linked to the International Data Centre by the global communications infrastructure early next year. One auxiliary seismic station on Raoul Island will be installed shortly and the sites for one auxiliary seismic station at Erewhon and one at Urewara are being surveyed and will be ready for investment, pending the allocation of funds. Regarding the infrasound station on Chatham Island, a contract is under negotiation for a survey to assess the suitability of its location as laid down in the Protocol to the CTBT. The National Authority will be the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Wellington.

The ratification process is well under way in parliament.

The CTBT, signed by New Zealand on 27 September 1996, recognizes that halting all nuclear-weapon-test explosions is an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It is effective because it limits the development and improvement of nuclear weapons. Under the Treaty´s global verification regime to monitor compliance, a network of 321 monitoring stations - spanning some 90 countries - will be able to record data generated by nuclear explosions and other sources in the atmosphere, under water or underground. The network includes 50 primary and 120 auxiliary seismic stations from which data can be used to distinguish between nuclear explosions and the thousands of earth tremors registered annually by the seismic system. It also includes 80 radionuclide stations to sample radioactive debris released during a nuclear explosion and, in addition, 16 laboratories to assist in the analysis of samples. Furthermore, 60 infrasound and 11 hydroacoustic stations will be able to record acoustic signals in the atmosphere or under water that may have come from a nuclear explosion. The monitoring stations will transmit, via satellite, in near real time the data to the International Data Centre (IDC) within CTBTO PrepCom in Vienna, where the data will be used to detect, locate and characterize events. These data and IDC products will be made available to the States signatories for final analysis.

For further information on the CTBTO, please see www.ctbto.org or contact:
Annika Thunborg, Chief, Public Information  
T    +43 1 26030-6375  
E    annika.thunborgping@ctbtopong.org
M    +43 699 1459 6375       
I    www.ctbto.org