Posted by: ctbtonewsroom | May 10, 2018

How scientists keep a global watch for nuclear testing


The Verge science reporter, Rachel Becker, explores the work of the scientists at CTBTO that are responsible for detecting nuclear tests. Woken up at dawn with a phone call along the lines of “We’ve got an interesting event. Can you come up and have a look at the data?”, data analysts were called in to work on 3 September 2017, when North Korea conducted its latest nuclear test. Becker describes in detail the process of analysis and includes seismic graphs received as a result from the test. She also points out that making sure the data is clean and correct is key, as CTBTO sends information to its member states. Indeed, as seismologist Ezekiel Jonathan explains, “If we make a mistake of giving out data or information that is not accurate, it means all our member states are going to come up with the wrong decisions or actions.”

Honing in on CTBTO’s work in general, Becker talks about the origins of the CTBT and discusses the Treaty in the today’s context, saying that “the treaty and the organization hang in limbo, preparing for a day when the world’s nuclear powers all agree to support the test ban”. However, despite not being able to “go out and investigate themselves” in countries that haven’t signed and ratified the treaty, the CTBTO “still find themselves called upon the global stage,” with more and more international actors calling for the treaty to be signed, with particular reference to North Korea.

Read the full article here.

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