The 11 March Japan Disaster

1 year after - panel on the CTBTO's contributions

The Colloquium CTBTO Past and Future Contributions to Emergency Preparedness: Fukushima Case Study on 9 March 2012 discussed the use of CTBTO data to enable national authorities to issue timely tsunami warnings and assess the dispersal of radioactive emissions after a nuclear accident. Participants included Denis Flory, Deputy Director General from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Wolfgang Weiss, Chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) and a number of other international organizations.

Read more here.

CTBTO’s Fukushima-related measurements

During the first phase of the 11 March disaster, CTBTO data helped Japanese authorities issue timely tsunami warnings. The data from about 20 seismic and hydroacoustic stations were sent directly and in real time to seven warning centres in the region, including in Japan and the United States (Hawaii) - see press release. Later, the radionuclide stations of the CTBTO’s International Monitoring System (IMS) detected radioactive isotopes and noble gases stemming from the damaged Fukushima power plant, among them Iodine-131 and Caesium-137.

Read more here.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo in September 2014

Emergency response cooperation intensified

Following the disaster, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has initiated closer cooperation between relevant international organizations. Read the 25 March 2011 press release here.

The CTBTO started sharing its monitoring data and analysis reports with the IAEA and WHO. Read the 18 March 2011 press release here.

On 15 September 2011, the UN released a report on the international response to the Fukushima crisis acknowledging the crucial role of the CTBTO.

A host of scientific and civil applications

Rapidly acquiring and disseminating data on earthquakes - in particular on potentially tsunami-generating earthquakes, aiding plane crash investigation, research on ocean processes and marine life, monitoring volcanic explosions, ice shelf break-up or providing critical information on nuclear accidents - these are just some of the many potential applications apart from verifying the nuclear test ban.

Read more here or click on image.



Click for ATM animation (ZAMG)

Austrian institute reports on spread of radioactivity

The Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) provided daily updates on the spread of radioactivity from the stricken Japanese power plant.

Read more (in German) here.

Isotope measurements published by the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection.

Data published by German institutes

The German Federal Radiation Protection Agency (BfS) and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) have also published comprehensive data on the CTBTO’s Fukushima-related findings on their respective websites.

Read more (in German): BfS / BGR

One of 1,200 institutes in the 120 Member States currently receiving CTBTO monitoring data and analyses. Click image for more on data distribution to Member States.

Philippine Institute provides data on Fukushima

The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) provided up-to-date information on measurements by the CTBTO’s radionuclide monitoring station in the country, as well as from its national samples of soil, water, and fish.


Japanese think tank publishes data from nearby CTBTO station

The Tokyo-based Center for the Promotion of Disarmament Non-Proliferation (CPDNP) has published data from the measurements of the radionuclide station RN38, which is located at around 200 kilometres distance from the Fukushima power plant.

Read more here (PDF - in Japanese).

Blog post on maps generated with CTBTO data

The blog Backyardworld features a collection of animated and still maps depicting the dispersal of radioactivity, based on CTBTO data.

Read more here.



Scientists project path of radiation plume

“[The CTBTO] has more than 60 stations that sniff the air for radiation spikes and uses weather forecasts and powerful computers to model the transport of radiation on the winds.” (New York Times)

Read more here.

Radiation data from Japanese disaster starts to filter out

"Japan and other countries have their own national radiation protection services, but where we could be useful is the worldwide nature of our monitoring network", Lassina Zerbo, Director of the CTBTO’s International Data Centre, is quoted (Nature magazine).

Read more here.

Fukushima: Another reason to ratify the CTBT

“The utility of this monitoring system during this terrible time should serve as a reminder to the Obama administration and the Senate that ratifying the CTBT would strengthen both US and global security.” (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists)

Read more here.

UN, diplomats seek to dispel nuclear anxiety

 “A diplomat with access to radiation tracking by the U.N.'s Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna cited readings from a California-based measuring station of the agency as about a billion times beneath levels that would be health threatening.” (Associated Press)

Read more here.

A Survey of the World's Radioactive No-Go Zones

Manmade radioactivity from over 2,000 nuclear explosive tests, nuclear accidents and related activities has contaminated many areas in the world for generations to come. (Der Spiegel)

Read more here.

Infos for journalists on the CTBTO Newsroom.

Media coverage

For an overview of the over 500 reports on the CTBTO’s Fukushima-related measurements in the international electronic media from March to June 2011, see here.