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Jordan to host full-scale CTBT on-site inspection exercise

Joint press release by the CTBTO and the Jordanian Ministry for Media Affairs and Communications

Amman, 2 December 2013

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will host the next full-scale simulation of an on-site inspection (OSI) under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). An OSI is the Treaty’s final verification measure conducted to ascertain whether or not a nuclear explosion has taken place. The Integrated Field Exercise 2014, known as IFE14, will be held in southern Jordan, near the Dead Sea, in November 2014.

Speaking at a press conference in Amman, Jordan, Mohammad Hussien Al Momani, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications, said that “Jordan is proud to host this exercise. It is in line with Jordan’s desire to strengthen the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation framework, in particular in the Middle East.”

Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said: “I wish to express my appreciation for Jordan’s outstanding leadership and cooperation with the CTBTO and the international community. With Jordan’s commitment to a successful IFE14, our ability to conduct an on-site inspection under realistic and challenging conditions and demonstrate the progress made since the last integrated field exercise will be taken to a whole new level. Jordan is contributing to the strengthening of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation framework, which is of special significance to the Middle East where the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction remains an urgent aspiration.”

IFE14 will be the second comprehensive field exercise conducted by the CTBTO, following IFE08 in Kazakhstan in September 2008. Preparations for IFE14 are well underway: throughout 2012 and 2013, the CTBTO has carried out a series of build-up exercises to practice specific methods and techniques of an OSI. Several OSI workshops have also been held, most recently in Yangzhou, China, in November 2013.

In 2010 Jordan hosted Directed Exercise 10, an OSI exercise aimed at testing ground-based visual observation techniques and communications means. In November 2013 the CTBTO organized various preparatory training and field activities in Jordan. These included testing special multispectral and infrared sensors which will be used during overflights, as well as the field testing of communications equipment. The CTBTO is currently conducting a host country training course for the Jordanian personnel involved in the exercise. See video [link to new video] on the ongoing preparations for IFE14 and the cooperation between the CTBTO and the Jordanian authorities.

ENDS

The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere: on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, in outer space, underwater and underground. To date 183 countries have signed the Treaty. Of these, 161 have also ratified the Treaty. A global verification regime with 337 facilities (final configuration) monitors the globe around the clock for nuclear explosions to detect any violations of the Treaty.

After the CTBT has entered into force, on-site inspections can be dispatched to search for evidence of a nuclear explosion. An inspection team of up to 40 experts may search an area of up to 1,000 square kilometres using a wide range of inspection techniques including radionuclide, seismic, geophysical and other methods.

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