Palau signs Facility Agreement

The Republic of Palau has signed a Facility Agreement with the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. The Facility Agreement was concluded on 29 April 2002, and has been signed by the President of the Republic of Palau, the Hon. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr, and the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Mr Wolfgang Hoffmann.

The Agreement facilitates the activities of the Provisional Technical Secretariat on Palau in establishing and certifying monitoring facilities to International Monitoring System (IMS) standards. The IMS is a cornerstone of the global verification regime outlined in the Treaty, and data received from its network of 337 monitoring facilities are used to detect possible nuclear test explosions. Palau is an archipelago located in tropical western Pacific. The nearest landmasses are the Philippines (880 km to the west), Papua New Guinea (1300 km to the South) and Guam (1300 km to the northeast). The main island group stretches some 100 km, and contains several populated islands and hundreds of smaller uninhabited islands.

A site survey was carried out in Palau in 2001, assisted by Palau's Bureau of Foreign Affairs, to determine suitable locations for elements of a sensitive infrasound array. The survey identified sites in the state of Ngaremlengui, in the western part of Babelthaup Island. The infrasound array will comprise seven elements which will be distributed over an area of approximately 2 kilometers. All proposed sites are located in elevated areas with good vegetation cover. This will shield the array from prevailing winds and wind related turbulence. The Central Processing Facility for the array, together with the satellite earth station connection to the Global Communications Infrastructure, will be located at the Palau Community College agricultural research facility.