International organizations to re-assess nuclear emergency response framework

VIENNA - “The CTBTO stands ready to further cooperate with and provide expert advice to the IAEA and other relevant organizations and for its global monitoring system to continue contributing to disaster prevention and mitigation,” the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Tibor Tóth said today.

He made this pledge during a video conference called by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to re-examine the international emergency response framework in case of nuclear accidents. In a statement issued after the meeting, Ban Ki-moon said: “I also encourage States to consider lessons learned and to adopt appropriate measures in an innovative way to strengthen the nuclear safety regime.”

Among the participating organizations were the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA).

CTBTO further improves data sharing with Member States

Earlier in the morning, the CTBTO briefed its Member States on its latest findings. Representatives of the IAEA, WHO and WMO were also present. Following the nuclear accident at the Fukushima power plant, the CTBTO has been providing information on the detection of radioactive isotopes at monitoring stations worldwide. The CTBTO has also provided information on the predicted global dispersion of radioactive material. With information made available by the IAEA since yesterday on the release level of radioactive substances at the Fukushima power plant – the so-called source term – CTBTO experts are now able to also provide quantitative measurements as part of its global dispersion predictions.

Each CTBTO Member States are granted equal access to all monitoring data and analysis bulletins. Currently, 120 Member States and 1200 scientific and expert institutions make use of this opportunity, including radiation protection institutions.  As of today, a number of interactive tools were added for States and institutions to obtain detailed information on the dispersion of radioactive materials.

Global network to detect nuclear explosions

The CTBTO is building a global verification system to detect nuclear explosions to verify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  When complete, its 337-facility network of seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound stations will watch underground, the oceans and the atmosphere, and its radionuclide stations will sniff the air for tell-tale signs of a nuclear explosion.

Nearly 270 monitoring stations, of which 63 are radionuclide sensors, are already operational and send data to the International Data Centre in Vienna, Austria, for processing and analysis. While the system is designed to detect nuclear blasts, it also picks up a vast amount of data that could be used for civil and scientific purposes.

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