Diplomats Visit Nuclear Test Monitoring Stations in Bavarian Forest

Vienna-based diplomats, journalists and staff from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) visited two monitoring stations located in the Bavarian Forest, Germany, on 23 October 2019.

The stations, primary seismic station PS19 and infrasound station IS26, are part of the global network of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty’s (CTBT) International Monitoring System (IMS) which scans the planet in order to make sure that no nuclear explosion goes undetected.

The visit provided an opportunity for participants to view on-site demonstrations conducted by station operators and scientists from the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR).

Seismic station PS19, installed in 1989 and certified in 2002, is composed of 25 elements, and has proved its reliability by detecting all six declared North Korean nuclear tests.

The visit also offered the group a chance to witness the newly refurbished seismic station array, following an investment of around €10 million funded by the German government and the CTBTO.  The major upgrades to the station were completed in October 2018.

The infrasound monitoring station IS26 was the very first IMS infrasound station certified by CTBTO, in 2001. Its array consists of eight elements which allow for better detection of high frequency signals. IS26 was one of 20 CTBT infrasound stations that detected the Chelyabinsk meteor blast in 2013.

Participants had the opportunity to become better acquainted with the functioning of both stations. In addition, they gained insight into the work done by the BGR, including Germany’s National Data Centre for the CTBTO, in station operation, processing and analysis of data for research and development, and coordination with external stakeholders and the CTBTO.

The visit was co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Germany and the CTBTO.

Germany signed the Treaty in 1996 and ratified it in 1998, and hosts five IMS stations. Together with Algeria, Germany is a co-coordinator and co-chair of the Article XIV Conference for the Facilitation of the Entry into Force of the CTBT and it is also a member of the Friends of the CTBT group.


Participants visiting IMS station IS26.

Participants visiting upgraded IMS station PS19.

Upgraded primary seismic station PS19.

Infrasound station IS26.

Infrasound station IS26.

Process of renovation of PS19.

Process of pulling new power and communication cables.

Participants in the visit.