1994-96: Monitoring and inspection

Page 1: 1994-96 Monitoring and inspection

The Verification Regime

As compared to other highly politicized aspects of the CTBT, negotiations over development of the verification mechanism progressed relatively smoothly. This was thanks in large part to the years of work already completed by the Group of Scientific Experts (GSE) on seismic monitoring.

British Ministry of Defense scientist, Peter Marshall, acted as principal coordinator during the IMS negotiations. Marshall had participated in the tripartite testing talks between the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union in 1977-1980 and had been a member of the GSE since its creation.

Issues that required resolution before the IMS could be agreed upon included: which technologies should be incorporated into the IMS; what costs (both monetary and political) would be involved; what role national intelligence or national technical means should play in the IMS; and how information collected and analyzed by the International Data Centre would be distributed to Signatory States.

Early on in the negotiations, it was clear that the verification system would include a network of seismological stations, though the number and placement of the stations was still up for debate. However, there were numerous views on which other technologies to incorporate into the system.

China and Pakistan insisted that the IMS include satellites as well as monitoring for electromagnetic pulses (EMP). The French also initially supported a satellite system, but acknowledged that the cost might be prohibitive. Russia supported space-based sensors and the maintenance of aircraft to monitor for radionuclide particulates emitted from nuclear explosions. At US$3000 million, many delegates were discouraged by the estimated cost of such a system.

Compromises and cooperation

Late into the negotiations, the Russian Federation announced that because their test site, Novaya Zemlya, would apparently prove easier to monitor than the sites of the other NWS, an additional four seismic stations and radionuclide particulate detectors at test sites used by the NWS needed to be included. The United States managed to resolve this issue by adding a seismic station at the Nevada test site. It was also agreed that a seismic station would be constructed in Kazakhstan, near the Chinese Lop Nor test site.