Issue No. 18, September 1997
Anniversary of CTBT Signing;
'First Anniversary of opening for signature of Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty marked on 24 September,' United Nations
Information Service Press Release, DCF/316, Vienna, 23 September
CTBTO Progress Report
"'Thanks in particular to the support of the Austrian
authorities and the international organizations in Vienna and
elsewhere, we have got off to a flying start in fulfilling the
tasks entrusted to us', said Wolfgang Hoffmann, Executive Secretary
of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom). Mr. Hoffmann
was speaking on the eve of the first anniversary of the signing of
the Treaty, which was opened for signature at United Nations
Headquarters a year ago, on 24 September 1996.
Since starting work on 17 March 1997, the Preparatory Commission
has initiated activities to establish the global verification
regime foreseen in the Treaty so that it will be operational by the
time the Treaty enters into force. Last Friday, 19 September, the
Commission concluded its third meeting, at which it had reviewed
progress since its last meeting in May and discussed the draft
programme and budget for next year. The budget for 1998 will be
decided at the Commission's fourth meeting, in December. ...
Global Verification Regime
To monitor compliance, the Treaty envisages a global
verification regime including a worldwide network of monitoring
stations, an international data centre, and on-site inspections.
Over the next years, the worldwide network of 321 seismic,
infrasound, hydroacoustic and radionuclide stations - the
International Monitoring System - will be progressively built
Supported by 16 radionuclide laboratories, the International
Monitoring System will be capable of registering vibrations
underground, in the seas and in the air, as well as detecting
tell-tale traces of radionuclides released in the atmosphere during
a nuclear explosion. A stream of data generated by the four
complementary technologies will be transmitted via a global
communications system to the International Data Centre in Vienna.
The data will then be combined and made available to the States
Signatories. Ambiguous events will be subject to consultation and
clarification. As a final verification measure, an on-site
inspection may be requested.
During the first six months, the subsidiary bodies of the
Commission - Working Group A (administrative and budgetary matters)
and Working Group B (verification issues) - formulated proposals on
the budget and verification issues, while the Advisory Group
discussed financial regulations and other organizational matters.
In addition, an on-site inspection workshop discussed the
methodology for conducting inspections, phenomena associated with
nuclear explosions and radiation measurement.
Workshops were also hosted by State signatories on various
aspects of the verification regime, and others are foreseen. The
Commission's programme of work for this year calls for the survey
of 55 sites for stations and the establishment or upgrading of l8
seismological stations and one hydroacoustic station.
The Preparatory Commission was established at a meeting of
States signatories on 19 November 1996. The budget for 1997 is $US
27.4 million. The staff currently numbers 80 persons from 38
Building on the support it has received from the host country,
the CTBTO PrepCom is working in conjunction with the other
organizations based at the Vienna International Centre to benefit
from their experience and develop maximum synergies. For example,
while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has experience
in conducting on-site inspections and, says Mr. Hoffmann, 'getting
people on the ground fast', it could be that 'our organization
might eventually, if requested, be able to provide support to the
other organizations'. ..."
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.
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