Mauritania signs Facility Agreement
A Facility Agreement between Mauritania and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has entered into force on 17 September 2003. The Agreement grants the Preparatory Commission the necessary legal authority to carry out work on International Monitoring System (IMS) facilities on Mauritanian territory. The Facility Agreement was signed in Vienna on 16 September by Mr Wolfgang Hoffmann, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission, and in Berlin on 17 September by Ambassador Melainine Ould Moctar Nech of Mauritania. The Commission has now signed 27 Facility Agreements with States hosting IMS facilities.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which Mauritania signed on 24 September 1996 and ratified on 30 April 2003, bans all nuclear test explosions. Compliance with the terms of the Treaty is monitored by a global verification regime. The 337-facility International Monitoring System (IMS) is a key element in this regime. It uses seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide technologies to detect evidence of possible nuclear explosions. Under the terms of the CTBT, Mauritania hosts a radionuclide station at Nouakchott (RN43).
The IMS network consists of 50 primary seismic stations, 120 auxiliary seismic stations, 60 infrasound stations and 11 hydroacoustic stations which monitor vibrations in the atmosphere or under water that may result from a nuclear explosion. The IMS also includes 96 radionuclide facilities which sample or analyse radioactive material which may have been released during a possible nuclear explosion. Data from the IMS stations are transmitted to the International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna, where they are processed and forwarded to the Member States for their review.