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From build-up to sustainment

Vienna International Centre, Austria

The first decade of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) had to contend with two overriding challenges: 1) trying to obtain the necessary ratifications to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force; and 2) laying the extensive technical groundwork so that, when it does, the CTBT’s global verification regime, including its 337-facility International Monitoring System (IMS), will be fully operational.

“The CTBTO verification regime is one of the most ambitious global projects ever undertaken. “
International Monitoring System laboratory (ATL03), Seibersdorf, Austria

As was discussed in “The Pioneering Decade”, the early days of the IMS were described as “build-as-you-design” because the CTBTO Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) was operating under severe time constraints. Today much has been accomplished but the final touches remain to be put. The majority of the IMS stations and radionuclide laboratories are either certified, operating, testing or under construction.

Now comes the difficult end phase, in which recalcitrant political, environmental, financial, technical and logistical problems must be solved before the IMS can become fully established.