New book on CTBT: Nuclear Test Ban - Converting Political Visions to Reality

Three highly knowledgeable experts on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) from Sweden, Norway and The Netherlands have co-authored a book on the CTBT “Nuclear Test Ban - Converting Political Visions to Reality”. It was published in February 2009 by Springer.

The 250-page book was formally presented to the public at a reception on 26 February 2009 at the Swedish Ambassador’s residence in Vienna, Austria.
In a nutshell
The book provides an overview in layman's language of the long and bumpy road to the CTBT’s creation and implementation. The writers, who were personally involved in this work for more than 25 years, give a unique insight into the challenging international work of establishing a comprehensive global verification regime to monitor the ban on nuclear testing.

A thorough review is made of the extensive nuclear testing that occurred between 1945 and 1996, and arguments are presented in favour of a test ban and the efforts to implement one. The Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, where the CTBT was negotiated, witnessed unprecedented efforts by international scientists to form a common understanding on how to verify a comprehensive test ban and develop a prototype global verification regime. This work was significant in building confidence at the height of the Cold War.
“This book is about investments in nuclear disarmament and non- proliferation through efforts over half a century to ban testing of nuclear weapons, the most deadly weapons ever invented”.

The main part of the book is devoted to more than a decade of efforts by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to implement the Treaty and its verification regime. This is described as the most comprehensive verification regime ever created, with global coverage provided by more than 300 monitoring stations, the International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna, and a strong on-site inspection mechanism. An essential element of the book is its assessment of the experience gained through many years of political, managerial and technical activity.

The authors presented their book at a reception at the residence Ambassador Hans Lundborg of Sweden in Vienna, Austria on 26 February 2009.

"This book is an excellent overview of the evolution of the CTBT and its verification regime...a thorough and engaging narrative of the long road that led to the CTBT. Their story will appeal to both the layman and the expert and provide useful lessons for future negotiations on disarmament issues."

Who will read the book?
Professionals in political, diplomatic, military areas, politicians and their staff; scientists and graduate students in political science; researchers at institutions in security related fields; NGOs; journalists; laymen with a background and interest in security politics.
The Authors The authors are eminent scholars from the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden who have been intimately involved with the CTBT and the work of the CTBTO, from their inception to the present day.
“A stirring recount of the struggle for the CTBT. Only through the perseverance and decade-long dedication of experts like Ola Dahlman, Svein Mykkeltveit and Hein Haak, the CTBT is now coming within reach.”

Ola Dahlman has been engaged in arms control negotiations for over thirty years. He chaired the Group of Scientific Experts (GSE) that laid out the scientific basis for the CTBT before and during the negotiations of the CTBT from 1982 to 1996. He headed the Working Group on verification issues (WGB) at the CTBTO from 1996 to 2006. He is currently overseeing the International Scientific Studies Project which will assess independently the state of readiness of the CTBT verification regime. For an in-depth interview with Ola Dahlman on the CTBT’s verification regime, see here.

Svein Mykkeltveit is programme coordinator for verification activities at the NORSAR institution in Norway. As a seismologist, he has directed the design and installation work for several seismic arrays in Norway. He joined the GSE in 1986 and chaired the planning group for the Third Group of Scientific Experts Technical Test (GSETT) experiment. Since 1996 he has supported the chairmen of the WGB as a Friend of the Chair.

Hein Haak headed the Division of Seismology at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. In 1987 he joined the GSE. As a seismologist, he also became interested in the related field of infrasound, another area of prime importance to the CTBT. In the decisive final year of the CTBT negotiations in Geneva, 1996, he served on the team that assisted the Dutch chair Ambassador Jaap Ramaker, who lead the negotiations. Since 1997 he has supported the work of the CTBTO as a Friend of the Chair of WG B. He was elected Chairman of the group in 2006 and recently reappointed for another period of three years.ed the chairmen of the WGB as a Friend of the Chair.

Table of contents

Chapter 1 To test or not to test…
Chapter 2 Monitoring technologies
Chapter 3 A long journey to a treaty
Chapter 4 The Treaty
Chapter 5 The birth of an organization
Chapter 6 Establishing the verification regime
Chapter 7 Testing shows high performance
Chapter 8 National technical implementation of the CTBT
Chapter 9 The CTBTO Preparatory Commission and the PTS - an organizational perspective
Chapter 10 The CTBTO Preparatory Commission and the world
Chapter 11 Always too early to give up

For a more detailed table, see Springer homepage here.