The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the UN in 1996. NORSAR researchers participated in treaty negotiations and contributed to the establishment of the CTBT’s monitoring system. The Treaty is one of the main pillars in global disarmament efforts and enjoys near-universal support through 187 signatory states. However, the CTBT has not formally entered into force because not all states defined in the Treaty Annex have ratified it.
Despite not formally being legally binding, compliance is monitored, and the Treaty has created a strong international norm against nuclear testing. Since its adoption, only ten tests have been carried out, in this millennium, only by North Korea.
Under the Treaty, an international verification regime has been established to monitor and verify compliance. The verification system is operative, with over 300 stations worldwide utilizing varying technologies (seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound, and radionuclide) to detect nuclear tests underwater, in the air, and on or below the Earth’s surface. A nuclear test cannot be performed without being detected by the network.

NORSAR’s role in the CTBT

In 1999, NORSAR was appointed Norway’s National Data Center for the CTBT by the Norwegian parliament. We advise Norwegian authorities on treaty-related matters and maintain the operations of the international monitoring stations on Norwegian territory.
Six Norwegian stations are part of the international network. Four of these are seismic stations, located in Løten, Karasjok, on Svalbard, and on Jan Mayen. The fifth is a monitoring station for radioactive molecules and gases on Svalbard, and the sixth is an infrasound station in Bardufoss. In addition to monitoring nuclear explosions, our research contributes to the development of the technology the international monitoring system uses. Our research contributes to the further development of the technology, and we participate in international forums where technology development and operation are discussed.

Our research has contributed significantly to this matter, and we take part in international forums where technology development and operation is discussed. Additionally, we are involved in preparing a new generation of technical experts to take CTBTO’s work forward through coordination of the Young Professionals Network. In this way, we contribute to a more secure world!