The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)
In 2021, it was 25 years since CTBT was adopted by the UN. Even though the agreement has not entered into force, it has helped to strengthen international security and the global non-proliferation and disarmament work for nuclear weapons. This is due to the strong commitment of the growing group of signatory states and not least due to the implementation of the Treaty's verification system.
About the Treaty
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the UN in 1996. The treaty prohibits the testing of nuclear weapons. It has been signed by 186 states and ratified by 176. Since it has not been ratified by all states it has according to a clause in the treaty, not entered into force. Nevertheless, we monitor in compliance with the treaty. The treaty has a unique and comprehensive verification regime, consisting of 337 monitoring facilities worldwide, to make sure that no nuclear explosion goes undetected. This enables the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna to detect nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, underground and at sea across the globe. The system, which is now 90 percent implemented, proved useful when it detected the six nuclear explosions carried out by North Korea, the most recent in 2017, and the CTBTO was able to share data with the international community in the wake of the explosions.
Norwegian contribution by NORSAR
NORSAR contributed to the design and development of the verification system and has been an active player in the CTBTO throughout the years. Researchers from NORSAR participated in the treaty negotiations and contributed to the establishment of the monitoring system.
Upon Norway’s ratification of the CTBT in 1999, NORSAR was appointed the Norwegian national data centre. Today, our research makes a significant contribution to the technology used by the monitoring system, and we participate in international forums where technology development and operations are discussed.
We advise the Norwegian authorities on matters related to compliance with the treaty and operate six international monitoring stations on Norwegian territory. These include four seismic stations in Hedmark, Karasjok, on Svalbard and Jan Mayen. The fifth station is a radionuclide station located on Platåberget on Svalbard, while the sixth station is an infrasound station in Bardufoss. It is the Treaty’s signatory states obligation to declare an explosion nuclear or not.