One year after the declared
nuclear test in DPRK,
CTBTO keeps momentum in
establishing verification system
to monitor nuclear test ban
One year ago today, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea announced that it had conducted a nuclear test. "This constituted an imposed performance test for the CTBTO and the verification system it is building. Since then, we have not remained idle", the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Tibor Toth, said. "The station network of the verification system to monitor the ban on nuclear explosions has grown by nearly 20 percent."
The announcement on 9 October 2006 by the DPRK was met with practically unanimous global concern. The United Nations Security Council condemned it as a threat to international peace and security. The Chairman and Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, as well as States Signatories, expressed grave concern at the declared test. They characterized it as an action against the letter and the spirit of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and a violation of the international norm against nuclear testing.
Although completed only partially and operating in test mode, the system proved its worth and its future potential. The declared test was recorded by over twenty seismic stations of the CTBTOs International Monitoring System (IMS). The International Data Centre in Vienna provided detailed analysis to States Signatories according to timelines prescribed by the Treaty. Findings at the radionuclide noble gas station at Yellowknife, Canada, - 7500 kilometres away - supported the hypothesis of a radioactive noble gas release in the DPRK. "The North Korean test, as disconcerting as it was, turned out to be a validation of the verification system. This bodes well for the CTBTs verifiability", Tibor Toth said.
The test "refocused the attention of the international community on the relevance of the CTBT as a key disarmament and non-proliferation instrument", Tibor Toth said. This is also reflected in the efforts undertaken towards completing the CTBT verification system. The overall number of monitoring facilities certified to meet all requirements now stands at 213 compared to 178 a year ago. When completed, the network will consist of 337 facilities. The particular importance of the radionuclide noble gas technology in the aftermath of the declared test is reflected in the increase by 70 percent in the number of monitoring stations equipped with this technology. A new Operations Centre was installed to monitor the worldwide transmission of data and first steps have been made in the installation of a new Global Communication Infrastructure. Training and exercises related to future on-site inspections continue in preparation for the Treatys entry into force.