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Chinese monitoring stations now sending data

Vienna, Austria
6 January 2014

As of 1 January, the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has started receiving data from key International Monitoring System (IMS) stations hosted by China.

CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo welcomed the step: “The Chinese stations’ data significantly enhances our system’s global coverage. And it is more than that: China has demonstrated its dedication to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and its verification regime. I encourage other countries with unresolved issues regarding our stations to follow China’s leadership.”

The development follows a visit by Zerbo to China in August 2013, days after having taken office, as well as technical training for Chinese station managers in September 2013.

“This is an important step towards certification, the formal acceptance of these stations in our system,” explained Randy Bell, Director of the International Data Centre. “In addition to enhancing the detection of nuclear explosions, the flow of data should also benefit China’s capabilities in the field of disaster mitigation and scientific research.”

The CTBTO is building a verification system to detect any nuclear explosion. The IMS will consist of 337 monitoring facilities when complete; over 85% have already been established and are sending data to CTBTO headquarters in Vienna. The system quickly, reliably and precisely detected all three nuclear tests announced by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Moreover, its noble gas component was the only system worldwide to detect radioactivity in connection with the February 2013 DPRK announced nuclear test. CTBTO data is made available to all Member States in near-real time and has spin-offs for disaster warning and science.

China hosts 11 IMS stations: 6 seismic stations, 3 radionuclide stations (of which 2 are noble gas-capable) and 2 infrasound stations. With the installation of the infrasound station at Kunming in Southern China, expected for this year, all but a second infrasound station at Beijing will be complete. Until last year, none of these stations had been connected to the CTBTO’s International Data Centre in Vienna.


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