Visit to U.S. nuclear labs and former Nevada Test Site

At the invitation of the U.S. government, CTBTO Executive Lassina Zerbo visited the U.S. nuclear labs, the Nevada National Security Site (formerly Nevada Test Site) as well as Stanford University and the Monterey Institute of International Studies from 19 to 25 November 2015.

Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo (right) with LLNL Director Bill Goldstein.

During his visit to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Zerbo was welcomed by LLNL Director William H. Goldstein and viewed the laboratory’s contributions to CTBT verification, such as device for detecting radioactivity during on-site inspections and innovative seismic monitoring techniques.

The LLNL-developed 'smart sampler' to extract radioactive noble gases during on-site inspections.

While in California, he met with the State’s Governor Jerry Brown to discuss cooperation on raising awareness for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The State of California is host to the 4 of the 38 International Monitoring System facilities hosted by the United States.

Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo and California's Governor Jerry Brown (left).

It is a sobering thing to visit a place where so many nuclear explosions were conducted, and I appreciate this tremendous opportunity. I applaud the United States for foregoing nuclear explosive testing for over 23 years and I hope that will continue, along with the U.S. support for our efforts to make a global ban on nuclear explosions the international norm. I was greatly impressed by what I saw in Nevada, and it has given me a renewed motivation to make nuclear explosions a thing of the past for all nations.

In Nevada, Zerbo visited the National Atomic Testing Museum and toured the Nevada National Security Site, where he viewed the crater from the 1962 Sedan nuclear test and the tower of the cancelled 1992 Icecap nuclear test.
It is our privilege to invite Dr Zerbo to visit the Nevada National Security Site. We thought it was important for him to visit the place where the United States did so many of its nuclear weapons explosive tests; to see not only the environment but to also feel a little bit that history and to understand why it is so important both for the CTBTO and the United States that we never test again.

In California, he met former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz at Stanford University and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry. Perry is also a member of the CTBT Group of Eminent Persons (GEM).

At the Sedan test crater with NNSA Deputy Administrator Anne Harrington.

In his discussion with scientists and engineers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Zerbo emphasized the importance of science and technology for CTBT verification.

With former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz.

The CTBT is one of the most important Treaties around. The justification for a yes vote is more powerful today...You can point to a verification system & say it works. It seems like a 'no-brainer' to ratify this Treaty.

During his visit to the United States, Zerbo also visited Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
In 1996, I was the lead author on a position statement from the two largest professional societies that include seismology (AGU and SSA) on the verifiability of a CTBT. To be able to see the CTBTO stand-up in 20 years and do such a marvelous job is quite an achievement.

See also NNSA press release of 24 November 2015.

Los Alamos National Laboratory Senior Manager Terry Wallace welcomed Zerbo to the lab.