1994-96: Creating the organization

Page 1: 1994-96: Creating the organization

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Organization

It was generally accepted that the technical complexity of a verification regime warranted a permanent CTBT organization (CTBTO) which would oversee the construction and operation of the International Monitoring System (IMS)and the International Data Centre (IDC). This organization would serve as the mechanism under which the implementation of Treaty provisions could take place. States Parties could also use the organization as a forum for consultations, including decisions over on-site inspections.

The IAEA monitors the “upstream” dimension of nuclear
weapons development while the CTBT is intended to
monitor the “downstream” final proof of a State’s
intention to develop nuclear weapons—that is, the actual
nuclear test explosion.

Some delegations believed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna was an ideal candidate organization to implement the CTBT's provisions, including administration of the verification regime. The draft Treaty text put forth by Sweden called for this arrangement. However, India and Pakistan, both outside the NPT regime, were concerned that information could be leaked between the IAEA and the CTBT because membership of the two bodies was different. Moreover, Israel and the United States believed that the IAEA lacked the necessary expertise for verifying and monitoring nuclear explosions.

While the IAEA, with the NPT as its legal basis, monitors the “upstream” dimension of nuclear weapons development (i.e., uranium enrichment, plutonium reprocessing and fuel fabrication), the CTBT would monitor the “downstream” final proof of a State’s intention to develop nuclear weapons; the nuclear test explosion. As such, although sharing the goal of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the CTBTO mandate would differ from that of the IAEA.

Finally, the negotiators decided that the UN Centre in Vienna was an appropriate venue to house the CTBTO. There were no substantial savings to be realized from merging the organization with the IAEA, and the city of Vienna could offer the proper accommodation required for the organization.