Lassina Zerbo, SnT2013 Project Executive and Executive Secretary-elect, CTBTO. Click for CV.

On behalf of the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), it is my pleasure to welcome you to Vienna for the 2013 Science and Technology Conference (SnT2013).

Your response to the call for papers this year has been robust and we are delighted that the Conference spans five days so that more of the excellent research and development related to nuclear- test-ban verification can be presented and discussed.

The CTBT was negotiated in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva from 1993 to 1996.

The Treaty negotiators recognized that scientific progress is ubiquitous, and that better monitoring and verification technologies would inevitably emerge over time.

Their foresight resulted in the Treaty’s provision requiring States Parties to cooperate with the CTBTO in “... improvement of the verification regime, and in the examination of the verification potential of additional monitoring technologies ... to enhance the efficient and cost-effective verification of this Treaty.”

Because a key objective of the PTS is to establish a continuous operational capability, it must rely on interactions and partnerships with the scientific and technological community to ensure that the latest relevant advances are examined and tested so that they might ultimately be incorporated into the operational effort.

SnT2013 builds upon the S&T 2011 Conference.

The goals of SnT2013 are based on encouraging test-ban monitoring research and development through the interaction of the CTBTO with the scientific community. Specifically, the goals are to:

• capitalize on scientific and technological innovations for verifying CTBT compliance,

• promote the wider scientific application of data that are used for test-ban verification,

• enhance the exchange of knowledge and ideas between the CTBTO and the broader scientific community, and

• enlarge the scientific community engaged in test-ban monitoring.

The Conference begins with a perspective from policy makers who will underscore the importance of the scientific verification research we have come here to discuss. Immediately following the opening ceremony on the first day of the Conference we will hear from three distinguished keynote speakers whose policy experience has helped shape the current climate of global non-proliferation.

The speakers include The Honorable Ellen Tauscher (former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, USA), Dr Hans Blix (former Director General of the IAEA), and Dr Roald Sagdeev (who was advisor to President Mikhail Gorbachev on issues related to civilian space and space-based weapons systems).

Click for Book of Abstracts.

The scientific sessions consist of oral sessions, poster sessions and plenary sessions with both invited lectures and panel discussions.

The sessions have been organized into three themes, each with several topics:

1. The earth as a complex system;

2. Events and their characterization;

3. Advances in sensors, networks and processing.

Innovations to the poster sessions have been introduced that we hope will provide a better overview of the many poster presentations, and that will allow a wide participation. The oral sessions will feature invited presentations on a number of topics that we think you will find stimulating, and that we hope will generate lively discussions.

Three panel discussions are planned: Synergies between On-Site Inspection Technologies and Industry; Innovations and Technological Drivers that Will Shape the Future of Verification, and Radioxenon Anthropogenic Release Mitigation.

CTBTO’s monitoring of the DPRK Nuclear Test in February 2013.

The closing day of the Conference includes sessions on recent events. In February of this year the DPRK announced that it had conducted an underground nuclear test. A few days later a massive bolide entered the earth’s atmosphere and exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Both of these events were of enormous interest to the monitoring and verification community; the sessions devoted to them promise to be one of the highlights of the Conference.

The closing session will feature keynote addresses by Mr Michel Miraillet (Director of Strategic Affairs and Defence Policy, Ministry of Defence, France) and Dr Siegfried Hecker (former Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA).

I sincerely hope that you will find this year’s SnT Conference a stimulating and rewarding experience, and that you will take this opportunity to focus thoughtfully on the scientific and technological aspects of monitoring and verifying a comprehensive nuclear test ban.