PTS reviews first year of operations

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom) completed its first operational year on 17 March 1998. Its Provisional Technical Secretariat now has a staff of 110 from 45 States signatories. As at 18 March, nearly 94 per cent of the contributions to the 1997 budget (US$ 27.7 million) and over 16 per cent of the contributions to the 1998 budget ($58.4 million) had been paid. Executive Secretary Wolfgang Hoffmann recently told States signatories: "This is an extraordinary achievement for a nascent international organization and reflects the high degree of commitment by all States signatories." During its first year, the PrepCom focused on setting up a cost-effective and efficient organization to put in place the global verification regime foreseen in the Treaty. The regime - expected to be operational by the time the Treaty enters into force - will consist of a monitoring network of 170 seismic, 80 radionuclide, 60 infrasound and 11 hydroacoustic stations, to be upgraded or newly established around the world. Their purpose is to detect and identify nuclear explosions, prohibited under article I of the Treaty, and supply a continuous stream of data to the International Data Centre (IDC) inaugurated on 28 January at the Provisional Technical Secretariat in Vienna. The IDC will process and analyse the raw data, and provide all States signatories with rapid access to lists of located events and associated information. The IDC will soon have seven computer servers and 35 work stations installed, and start testing processing and analysis software in May. Data transmission between about 60 monitoring stations and the Centre will also begin in May. Four site surveys were done during the year, to assess the suitability of the locations chosen for the stations specified in the Treaty. Three more such surveys are already under way. In 1998, further surveys are due to take place at 66 sites and investment work at 48 sites. On-site inspection workshops were held at Vienna from 31 July to 4 August 1997 and 2-6 February 1998. Two introductory training programmes on the International Monitoring System were conducted in 1997; one for the Latin American region was held in Argentina (10-14 November) and one for the African region was held in South Africa (1-5 December). A technical training programme and further introductory training programmes are scheduled for 1998. During its first operational year, the Preparatory Commission held three meetings to consider and approve the recommendations of its subsidiary bodies (Working Group A on administrative and budgetary matters, Working Group B on verification matters, and the Advisory Group on financial and associated administrative matters), which met 14 times. To enter into force, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has to be ratified by 44 States listed in the Treaty as countries whose ratification is necessary under article XIV. To date it has been signed by 149 and ratified by 11 States, including four - Austria, Japan, Peru and Slovakia - of those listed. The other seven are Czech Republic, Fiji, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Qatar, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

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