NDC Development Workshop in Burkina Faso

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has held a workshop for the development of National Data Centres (NDC) with emphasis on radionuclide monitoring in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 16 to 19 December 2013. NDC are data centres operated by Member States to receive and analyse CTBTO data. This event was one of the largest of its kind with 70 participants representing 30 African Member States.

Djibril Y. Bassolet, Minister of Foreign Affairs and of regional cooperation

"The presence of many experts from different African countries is testimony to our countries' dedication to address questions as urgent as those linked to the analysis of data, notably when it comes to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, accidents and other catastrophes."

The objective of this workshop was to further build up the national and regional capacities in implementing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and participating in the verification regime and in particular in using both waveform (seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound) as well as radionuclide measurements for interpreting and identifying a possible nuclear explosion. Participants also discussed their experiences in applying CTBT data for non-verification purposes such as the mitigation of the consequences of nuclear and natural disasters and scientific research. 

Paulina Amponsah, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission

“The NDC development workshop has been an eye opener for the Ghana NDC. I have gained insight in the activities of other NDCs in Africa as well as the achievements and challenges we face. This has been a very rewarding workshop.”

This workshop is financed by the European Union and took stock of all past activities financed under its Joint Action for the African Region. Over the past years, the European Union’s voluntary contributions have enabled the training of experts in particular from Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean to help NDCs to further enhance their verification capabilities.

Inside the Transportable Xenon Laboratory currently deployed in Burkina Faso.

Before now, limited infrastructure and data analysis skills have continued to hinder the Nigerian NDC from carrying out the implementation of the requirements of the CTBT. The CTBTO’s capacity building project support has gone a long way towards removing this hindrance.

The CTBTO places great emphasis on building capacity in developing countries to enable them to play a more active role in CTBT verification. CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo opened the workshop ( statement ), quoting the late South African President Nelson Mandela, who had passionately argued for the abolishment of nuclear weapons: “We must ask the question, which might sound naïve to those who have elaborated sophisticated arguments to justify their refusal to eliminate these terrible and terrifying weapons of mass destruction – why do they need them.”
Since the programme’s inception five years ago, the percentage of African Member States having established a Secure Signatory Account (to be able to access CTBTO data) has increased to over 60 percent, representing an increase of 40 percent. This year alone, four additional countries have established an account: the Central African Republic, Chad, Niger and the Sudan. The last NDC waveform analyst training course under EU Joint Action funding for African countries will take place in Vienna, Austria, from 20 January to 14 February 2014. The PTS collected recommendations from the participants for its future capacity building activities for African countries and other regions that will be maintained at its high level..

Awwal Bisallah, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission

The workshop was funded by the European Union

I would like to express my thanks to our host for the warm welcome and the very good organization. I am grateful to the European Union for its sustained assistance to sustain our efforts in making the verification system a reality.