Posted by: ctbtonewsroom | April 28, 2015

Beyond the bomb: The world’s nuclear watchdog expands its science (Earth Magazine)

Written by Timothy Oleson in a monthly scientific magazine, the article provides a comprehensive overview of the CTBTO, it’s International Monitoring System (IMS), the International Data Center (IDC), the On-Site Inspections (OSI) and the detection of the DPRK’s nuclear tests as well as civil and scientific uses of IMS data. The article also features interviews with the Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo, IDC Director Randy Bell and others.

“‘Our mission is to contribute, as we can, to make this world safe and secure,’ says CTBTO executive secretary Lassina Zerbo. ‘We’ve put together a deterrent that makes sure today that no nuclear test explosion relevant to the development of a nuclear weapon would go undetected.’”

: International Data Center (IDC) director Randy Bell (far left) and CTBTO executive secretary Lassina Zerbo (second from left) speak with Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, president of the Economic Community of West African States in the IDC’s operations center.

International Data Center (IDC) director Randy Bell (far left) and CTBTO executive secretary Lassina Zerbo (second from left) speak with Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, president of the Economic Community of West African States in the IDC’s operations center.

“‘What we’re really aiming for is continuous high sensitivity of the entire network,’ so no corner of the globe ever goes unmonitored, says IDC director Randy Bell. However, he says, ‘integrating the data from the four different detection methods is a challenge.’”

“In many cases, an event is likely to be picked up by at least two of the networks, says CTBTO seismo-acoustic officer and infrasound specialist Pierrick Mialle, but not always. In the case of an aboveground test, ‘infrasound might be the only waveform technology to pick up’ a clear signal, he notes, so having all three offers valuable redundancy.”

In an event that the CTBT would enter into force, the third and final element of the verification regime would enter – the On-Site Inspections.

Portable laboratories and equipment made up the operations base for IFE14.

Portable laboratories and equipment made up the operations base for IFE14.

“To best mimic what investigators would see in an actual OSI, planners went to great lengths to make the scenario — several years in the making — realistic and scientifically credible, says Gordon MacLeod, [Integrated Field Exercise] project manager and OSI division chief of policy, planning and operations. You start by asking: ‘What would an actual nuclear test look like coming across the IMS?’ he says, and then work backward from that to set up conditions on the ground.”

Read full article here.


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