A decade of "remarkable achievements" in
advancing the CTBT, says CTBTO Executive
Secretary Tibor Toth

Vienna, 9 November 2010
 
VIENNA – By the end of 2012, a global network of facilities to detect nuclear explosions will be more than 90 percent in place, Tibor Tóth, head of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) told its executive body.

There have been some “remarkable achievements” in advancing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and its verification regime, Tóth said.

In the past decade, the Treaty’s monitoring system has expanded to its current status of 258 certified facilities from zero in 2000, he said.

“Just 10 years ago, in 2000, we had only 51 ratifications. Today the number has tripled and the Treaty enjoys 153 ratifications and 182 signatures.”

The achievements are being driven by “a vision to bring an end to the era of nuclear weapons,” Tóth told diplomats from among States that have signed the Treaty, who are attending the meeting.

Tóth said that the CTBTO’s hydroacoustic network, which monitors the oceans, is already complete; its seismic network to detect underground explosions is 90 percent finished; over 70 percent of its infrasound facilities, which detect sounds below the limit of the human ear, are in place, and nearly 80 percent of its radionuclide stations, which analyze the air for evidence of nuclear material, have been installed.

The achievements reflected  “a strong desire to establish an international norm against nuclear testing,” as well as “a firm political will to advance the Treaty’s entry into force,” Tóth said.

In the last decade, there had been engineering solutions designed to increase “the robustness and performance of the monitoring technologies,” Tóth said. Station design has evolved, leading to increased detection capabilities, and there has been a continuous improvement in the availability of data, now at 85 percent, he said.

The United States Permanent Representative to the CTBTO, Glyn Davies, said that the United States “is committed to bringing about CTBT entry into force as soon as possible.”

“The Nuclear Posture Review adopted earlier this year demonstrably reaffirmed this commitment and emphasized the strength that the CTBT can lend to the international non-proliferation regime and strategic stability,” Davies said.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Frank Recker, Permanent Representative of Belgium, said “the EU will continue to offer political, financial and practical support, both for the universalization of the Treaty and the completion of its verification regime.”

The meeting of CTBTO Member States will approve extra funding to pay for the replacement of hydroacoustic facilities at Juan Fernandez Island in Chile, which was severely damaged during a tsunami in February. It will also support expenditure to invest in the development of an integrated computer-based management system known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for the CTBTO, to provide the organization with an upgraded, state-of-the-art accounting and management tool.

The meeting also approved the appointment of Xolisa Mfundiso Mabhongo, the South African Permanent Representative, as CTBTO Chairperson, and welcomed Oleg Rozhkov, newly appointed Director of the On-Site Inspection Division. It will approve the re-appointment of Lassina Zerbo as Director of the International Data Centre Division for a further three years.

Background on the CTBT and its verification regime

The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere: on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground. One hundred and eighty-two countries have signed the Treaty, of which 153 have also ratified it. Of the 44 countries that have to ratify the Treaty for entry into force, 35 have already done so. The remaining nine are: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States. On 3 May 2010, Indonesia stated it had initiated the CTBT ratification process.

The CTBTO is building a verification regime to monitor the planet for compliance with the Treaty. When complete, 337 facilities worldwide will monitor underground, the oceans and the atmosphere for any sign of a nuclear explosion. To date, 80 percent of the monitoring facilities send data to the CTBTO’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria, where the data are processed and analyzed and then transmitted to the 182 Member States. On-site inspections to collect information on the ground in the case of a suspected nuclear explosion complement the verification regime.

For further information on the CTBT, please see www.ctbto.org – your resource on ending nuclear testing,
or contact:

Annika Thunborg, Spokesperson and Chief, Public Information  
T    +43 1 26030-6375 
E    annika.thunborgping@ctbtopong.org
M    +43 699 1459 6375      
I    www.ctbto.org

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