Science & Technology 2011
Conference kicks off in Vienna

The Science and Technology 2011 Conference started today, 8 June 2011, at the Hofburg in Vienna with over 800 participants. Scientists from all over the world will discuss advances in science and technology relevant to test ban verification and to explore scientific applications of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) verification infrastructure, such as tracking radiation from damaged nuclear power plants.

"The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is widely  recognized as a milestone in promoting nuclear  non-proliferation and disarmament. But above and beyond that  central mission, and even before entering into force, the  CTBT is saving lives. When the devastating earthquake and  tsunami hit Japan in March, the CTBTO quickly sent data to  Japan and other Pacific communities, and shared valuable  information with the International Atomic Energy Agency."UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

On the positive impact of a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing, keynote speaker and renowned U.S. physicist Richard Garwin, who was involved in the U.S. nuclear weapons program since its inception, stated: “Without testing, States will not have the confidence that the warhead design will work, especially an advanced thermonuclear design. No military would ever accept an untested weapon in their arsenal.” On the possibility of clandestine tests, Garwin, who also has decades of expertise on the detection of nuclear tests, stated in response to a question: “Yes, the CTBT is effectively verifiable.”

The second keynote speaker, famous U.S. geophysicist David Strangway commended the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) for its “incredible work on the question of nuclear detection” adding that “the establishment of the CTBTO’s International Monitoring System was a revolution for Earth-related sciences.”

Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger assured the conference that his country “will continue to work to convince the remaining States that still have to join for the Treaty to come into force”, describing the CTBT’s entry into force as “long overdue and necessary”. He also highlighted his country’s experience as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in May 2009, when the Council could base its condemnation of the second announced DPRK nuclear test on the timely and precise information provided by the CTBTO.

CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth showed himself “personally humbled by the dedication of so many scientists so enthusiastically reacting to a renewed call to scientific arms.” The organization’s exchange with science had evolved into a “into a scientific pilgrimage with around 800 participants and 350 scientific submissions and posters” since the first Synergies with Science Conference in 2006 in Vienna.

Check the conference website for the latest statements or follow it via livestream.