Vienna, 27 February 2012
Japan has made a voluntary contribution of U.S. $ 730,000 to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which will further enhance the organization’s capabilities to monitor the dispersion of radioactivity in the atmosphere.
“Japan benefitted greatly from the objective data supplied by the CTBTO during the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station,” stated Ambassador Toshiro Ozawa, Permanent Representative of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna. “Our contribution is aimed at allowing the CTBTO to predict the dispersion of radioactivity with even greater precision. This will help to better inform and protect populations around the world in the event of future nuclear testing or accidents.”
“I am very grateful to Japan for this generous contribution, which is yet another demonstration of Japan’s outstanding commitment to our work,” said CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth. “This contribution will also enable us to pinpoint the location of nuclear tests more effectively.”
Through a method called Atmospheric Transport Modelling, or ATM (watch clip), the earlier movement of airborne radioactive material can be backtracked from where it is detected by a CTBTO radionuclide monitoring station. This method enables the determination of a source region (backward ATM), as was the case with the 2006 nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. If, on the other hand, an emission’s location is known, the future travel path of the radioactive material can also be predicted (forward ATM), such as during the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident.
The CTBTO cooperates with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to base its ATM calculations on high-quality meteorological data provided by the WMO. During the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident, the measurements from the CTBTO’s highly sensitive radionuclide stations in combination with ATM provided first-hand information on the emissions, including predictions of their dispersal and chemical composition.
The Japanese contribution will be used to finance half of the costs for a new computer and storage system for ATM calculations. Japan is already the second largest contributor to the CTBTO’s regular budget. The country also hosts 11 fully functional monitoring facilities. The radionuclide station at Takasaki, located at around 200 km distance from the site of the accident, was the first to detect radioactivity from Fukushima, see video.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans all nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere: on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, in outer space, underwater and underground. 182 countries have signed the Treaty, of which 157 have also ratified it. Japan signed the Treaty the day it opened for signature on 24 September 1996, and ratified it less than a year later, on 8 July 1997. An unprecedented global verification regime with over 300 sensors monitors the globe around the clock for nuclear explosions to detect any violations of the Treaty.