The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996, but has not entered into force, as eight specific states have not ratified the treaty.
|Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)|
Participation in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
|Signed||10 September 1996|
|Location||New York City|
|Effective||Not in force|
|Condition||180 days after ratification by |
all 44 Annex 2 countries
|Ratifiers||168 (states that need to take further action for the treaty to enter into force: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, United States)|
|Depositary||Secretary-General of the United Nations|
|Languages||Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish|
The movement for international control of nuclear weapons began in 1945, with a call from Canada and United Kingdom for a conference on the subject. In June 1946, Bernard Baruch, an emissary of President Harry S. Truman, proposed the Baruch Plan before the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, which called for an international system of controls on the production of atomic energy. The plan, which would serve as the basis for United States nuclear policy into the 1950s, was rejected by the Soviet Union as a US ploy to cement its nuclear dominance.
Between the Trinity nuclear test of 16 July 1945 and the signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) on 5 August 1963, 499 nuclear tests were conducted. Much of the impetus for the PTBT, the precursor to the CTBT, was rising public concern surrounding the size and resulting nuclear fallout from underwater and atmospheric nuclear tests, particularly tests of powerful thermonuclear weapons (hydrogen bombs). The Castle Bravo test of 1 March 1954, in particular, attracted significant attention as the detonation resulted in fallout that spread over inhabited areas and sickened a group of Japanese fishermen. Between 1945 and 1963, the US conducted 215 atmospheric tests, the Soviet Union conducted 219, the UK conducted 21, and France conducted three.
In 1954, following the Castle Bravo test, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India issued the first appeal for a "standstill agreement" on testing, which was soon echoed by the British Labour Party. Negotiations on a comprehensive test ban, primarily involved the US, UK, and Soviet Union, began in 1955 following a proposal by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Of primary concern throughout the negotiations, which would stretch with some interruptions to July 1963, was the system of verifying compliance with the test ban and detecting illicit tests. On the Western side, there were concerns that the Soviet Union would be able to circumvent any test ban and secretly leap ahead in the nuclear arms race. These fears were amplified following the US Rainier shot of 19 September 1957, which was the first contained underground test of a nuclear weapon. Though the US held a significant advantage in underground testing capabilities, there was worry that the Soviet Union would be able to covertly conduct underground tests during a test ban, as underground detonations were more difficult to detect than above-ground tests. On the Soviet side, conversely, the on-site compliance inspections demanded by the US and UK were seen as amounting to espionage. Disagreement over verification would lead to the Anglo-American and Soviet negotiators abandoning a comprehensive test ban (i.e., a ban on all tests, including those underground) in favor of a partial ban, which would be finalized on 25 July 1963. The PTBT, joined by 123 states following the original three parties, banned detonations for military and civilian purposes underwater, in the atmosphere, and in outer space.
The PTBT had mixed results. On the one hand, enactment of the treaty was followed by a substantial drop in the atmospheric concentration of radioactive particles. On the other hand, nuclear proliferation was not halted entirely (though it may have been slowed) and nuclear testing continued at a rapid clip. Compared to the 499 tests from 1945 to the signing of the PTBT, 436 tests were conducted over the ten years following the PTBT. Furthermore, US and Soviet underground testing continued "venting" radioactive gas into the atmosphere. Additionally, though underground testing was generally safer than above-ground testing, underground tests continued to risk the leaking of radionuclides, including plutonium, into the ground. From 1964 through 1996, the year of the CTBT's adoption, an estimated 1,377 underground nuclear tests were conducted. The final non-underground (atmospheric or underwater) test was conducted by China in 1980.
The PTBT has been seen as a step towards the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968, which directly made reference to the PTBT. Under the NPT, non-nuclear weapon states were prohibited from possessing, manufacturing, and acquiring nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. All signatories, including nuclear weapon states, were committed to the goal of total nuclear disarmament. However, India, Pakistan, and Israel have declined to sign the NPT on grounds that such a treaty is fundamentally discriminatory as it places limitations on states that do not have nuclear weapons while making no efforts to curb weapons development by declared nuclear weapons states.
In 1974, a step towards a comprehensive test ban was made with the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT), ratified by the US and Soviet Union, which banned underground tests with yields above 150 kilotons. In April 1976, the two states reached agreement on the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (PNET), which concerns nuclear detonations outside the weapons sites discussed in the TTBT. As in the TTBT, the US and Soviet Union agreed to bar peaceful nuclear explosions (PNEs) at these other locations with yields above 150 kilotons, as well as group explosions with total yields in excess of 1,500 kilotons. To verify compliance, the PNET requires that states rely on national technical means of verification, share information on explosions, and grant on-site access to counterparties. The TTBT and PNET did not enter into force for the US and Soviet Union until 11 December 1990.
In October 1977, the US, UK, and Soviet Union returned to negotiations over a test ban. These three nuclear powers made notable progress in the late 1970s, agreeing to terms on a ban on all testing, including a temporary prohibition on PNEs, but continued disagreements over the compliance mechanisms led to an end to negotiations ahead of Ronald Reagan's inauguration as President in 1981. In 1985, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev announced a unilateral testing moratorium, and in December 1986, Reagan reaffirmed US commitment to pursue the long-term goal of a comprehensive test ban. In November 1987, negotiations on a test ban restarted, followed by a joint US-Soviet program to research underground-test detection in December 1987.
Given the political situation prevailing in the subsequent decades, little progress was made in nuclear disarmament until the end of the Cold War in 1991. Parties to the PTBT held an amendment conference that year to discuss a proposal to convert the Treaty into an instrument banning all nuclear-weapon tests. With strong support from the UN General Assembly, negotiations for a comprehensive test-ban treaty began in 1993.
Extensive efforts were made over the next three years to draft the Treaty text and its two annexes. However, the Conference on Disarmament, in which negotiations were being held, did not succeed in reaching consensus on the adoption of the text. Under the direction of Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Australia then sent the text to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where it was submitted as a draft resolution. On 10 September 1996, the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by a large majority, exceeding two-thirds of the General Assembly's Membership.
The Treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996. It opened for signature in New York on 24 September 1996, when it was signed by 71 States, including five of the eight then nuclear-capable states. As of February 2019, 168 states have ratified the CTBT and another 17 states have signed but not ratified it.
The treaty will enter into force 180 days after the 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty have ratified it. These "Annex 2 states" are states that participated in the CTBT's negotiations between 1994 and 1996 and possessed nuclear power reactors or research reactors at that time. As of 2016, eight Annex 2 states have not ratified the treaty: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed but not ratified the Treaty; India, North Korea and Pakistan have not signed it.
Geophysical and other technologies are used to monitor for compliance with the Treaty: forensic seismology, hydroacoustics, infrasound, and radionuclide monitoring. The technologies are used to monitor the underground, the waters and the atmosphere for any sign of a nuclear explosion. Statistical theories and methods are integral to CTBT monitoring providing confidence in verification analysis. Once the Treaty enters into force, on-site inspection will be provided for where concerns about compliance arise.
The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), an international organization headquartered in Vienna, Austria, was created to build the verification regime, including establishment and provisional operation of the network of monitoring stations, the creation of an international data centre, and development of the On Site Inspection capability.
The monitoring network consists of 337 facilities located all over the globe. As of May 2012, more than 260 facilities have been certified. The monitoring stations register data that is transmitted to the international data centre in Vienna for processing and analysis. The data are sent to states that have signed the Treaty.
Three countries have tested nuclear weapons since the CTBT opened for signature in 1996. India and Pakistan both carried out two sets of tests in 1998. North Korea carried out six announced tests, one each in 2006, 2009, 2013, two in 2016 and one in 2017. All six North Korean tests were picked up by the International Monitoring System set up by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission. A North Korean test is believed to have taken place in January 2016, evidenced by an "artificial earthquake" measured as a magnitude 5.1 by the U.S. Geological Survey. The first successful North Korean hydrogen bomb test supposedly took place in September 2017. It was estimated to have an explosive yield of 120 kilotons.
On 12 February 2013, North Korean state media announced it had conducted an underground nuclear test, its third in seven years. A tremor that exhibited a nuclear bomb signature with an initial magnitude 4.9 (later revised to 5.1) was detected by the China Earthquake Networks Center, Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and the United States Geological Survey. In response, Japan summoned an emergency United Nations meeting for 12 February and South Korea raised its military alert status. It is not known whether the explosion was nuclear or a conventional explosion designed to mimic a nuclear blast; as of two days after the blast, Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean investigators had failed to detect any radiation.Arundhati Ghose
Arundhati Ghose (25 November 1939 – 25 July 2016) was an Indian diplomat. She was Permanent Representative of India to the UN Offices in Geneva and was head of the Indian delegation that participated in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva in 1996. She also served as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea and the Arab Republic of Egypt.Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is an international organization that will be established upon the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, a Convention that outlaws nuclear test explosions. Its seat will be Vienna, Austria. The organization will be tasked with verifying the ban on nuclear tests and will operate therefore a worldwide monitoring system and may conduct on site inspections. The Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO, and its Provisional Technical Secretariat, were established in 1997 and are headquartered in Vienna, Austria.Engin Arık
Engin Arık (October 4, 1948 – November 30, 2007) was a renowned Turkish particle physicist. She was a professor and head of the Experimental High Energy Physics group at the Boğaziçi University.Arık was born in Istanbul and received her BSc in 1969 in mathematics and physics from Istanbul University. Subsequently, she received her MSc in 1971 and PhD in 1976 in experimental high energy physics from the University of Pittsburgh, United States. She performed post doctoral studies at the Westfield College in University of London.
Returning 1979 to Turkey, she became a member of faculty at Boğaziçi University. In 1983, she left the university to work with Control Data Corporation for two years. Arık subsequently became a professor at Boğaziçi University in 1988.
Between 1997 and 2000, Arık was commissioned by the government to represent Turkey at the sessions of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty held at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the UN in Vienna, Austria.She was a member of the ATLAS and CAST collaborations at CERN in Switzerland.
Arık died in the Atlasjet Flight 4203 crash on November 30, 2007. She was married to Metin Arık, also a professor in the same department at Boğaziçi University, and had two children.
There is a street named after her in the İlkyerleşim neighborhood of the Yenimahalle district in Ankara, Turkey.Gerald W. Johnson (nuclear expert)
Gerald Woodrow Johnson (September 16, 1917 – April 7, 2005) was born in Spangle, Spokane County, Washington. He attended Washington State University where he got his master's degree; earned a PhD in 1947 from the University of California, Berkeley. in the 1950s he oversaw nuclear testing in Nevada and in the Pacific. He became director of Project Plowshare, researching the uses of peaceful nuclear explosions. In the late '70s he was a representative to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II and to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty negotiations.IRIS Consortium
IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) is a university research consortium dedicated to exploring the Earth's interior through the collection and distribution of seismographic data. IRIS programs contribute to scholarly research, education, earthquake hazard mitigation, and the verification of a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Support for IRIS comes from the National Science Foundation, other federal agencies, universities, and private foundations. IRIS supports five major components, the Data Management Center (DMC), the Portable Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere (PASSCAL), the Global Seismographic Network (GSN), the Transportable Array (USARRAY), and the Education and Public Outreach Program (EPO). IRIS maintains a Corporate Office in Washington, DC.
IRIS's Education and Public Outreach Program provides resources for educators and the general public to advance awareness and understanding of seismology and earth science while inspiring careers in geophysics by offering animations, videos, lessons, software, posters, and fact sheets.
IRIS is listed in the Registry of Research Data Repositories re3data.org.Lassina Zerbo
Lassina Zerbo (born 10 October 1963) is the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, a position which he assumed on 1 August 2013. He previously served as Director of the organization’s International Data Centre (IDC). He is a national of Burkina Faso. Zerbo has been instrumental in cementing the CTBTO's position as the world’s centre of excellence for nuclear test-ban verification, as well as in driving forward efforts towards the entry into force and universalization of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).List of parties to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
The contracting states to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) are the states that have signed and ratified the international agreement banning all nuclear explosions in all environments. Technically they will not be "parties" until the treaty enters into force, at which point these states will also be Member States of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which comes into existence upon entry into force of the treaty. Non-contracting states are also listed, including those that are signatories and those are not. States Signatories are Members of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission.
On September 24, 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature. All five nuclear weapons states recognized under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) signed the treaty, with 66 other states following that day. Fiji became the first state to ratify the treaty on October 10, 1996. As of February 2019, 184 states have signed and 168 states have ratified the treaty. Most recently, Tuvalu signed the treaty in September 2018 and Zimbabwe ratified the treaty in February 2019.Signatures are received at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City by authorized representatives of the state. Ratification is achieved with the approval of either or both chamber of the legislature and executive of the state. The instrument of ratification serves as the document binding the state to the international treaty and can be accepted only with the validating signature of the head of state or other official with full powers to sign it. The instrument is deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.Under the CTBT, there are 195 Annex 1 states which include a subset of 44 Annex 2 states.
Annex 1 states are agreed upon by conference and currently comprise all 193 United Nations member states, the Cook Islands, Holy See and Niue. All Annex 1 states may become members of the Executive Council, the principal decision-making body of the organization responsible for supervising its activities. These states are formally bound to the conditions of the treaty; however, their ratification is not necessary for the treaty to come into effect (unless they are also an Annex 2 state).
Annex 2 states are those that formally participated in the 1996 Conference on Disarmament and possessed nuclear power or research reactors at the time. Annex 2 lists the following 44 States: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Vietnam.Eight Annex 2 states have not ratified the treaty: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have already signed the Treaty, whereas India, North Korea and Pakistan have not signed it. The treaty will come into force only with the signature and ratification of the above Annex 2 states of the treaty, 180 days after they have all deposited their instruments of ratification.List of specialized agencies of the United Nations
Specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the United Nations Economic and Social Council at the intergovernmental level, and through the Chief Executives Board for co-ordination (CEB) at the inter-secretariat level. Specialized agencies may or may not have been originally created by the United Nations, but they are incorporated into the United Nations System by the United Nations Economic and Social Council acting under Articles 57 and 63 of the United Nations Charter. At present the UN has in total 15 specialized agencies that carry out various functions on behalf of the UN. The specialized agencies are listed below.List of weapons of mass destruction treaties
A variety of treaties and agreements have been enacted to regulate the use, development and possession of various types of weapons of mass destruction. Treaties may regulate weapons use under the customs of war (Hague Conventions, Geneva Protocol), ban specific types of weapons (Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological Weapons Convention), limit weapons research (Partial Test Ban Treaty, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty), limit allowable weapons stockpiles and delivery systems (START I, SORT) or regulate civilian use of weapon precursors (Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological Weapons Convention). The history of weapons control has also included treaties to limit effective defense against weapons of mass destruction in order to preserve the deterrent doctrine of mutual assured destruction (Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty) as well as treaties to limit the spread of nuclear technologies geographically (African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty).NORSAR
NORSAR or Norwegian Seismic Array was established in 1968 as part of the Norwegian-US agreement for the detection of earthquakes and nuclear explosions. NORSAR was the first non-US site included in ARPANET in 1973. It was also a connection point for ARPANET to spread to England, and then to the rest of Europe. Since 1999, NORSAR has been an independent research foundation.Located at Kjeller, north of Oslo, NORSAR runs and maintains seismic arrays in Norway and it is the designated Norwegian National Data Centre for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. NORSAR conducts basic seismological research, develops software and provides consultancy for the petroleum industry.Nuclear detonation detection system
A nuclear detonation detection system (NDDS) is a device or a series of devices that are able to tell when a nuclear explosion has occurred as well as the direction of the explosion. The main purpose of these devices or systems was to verify compliance of countries that signed nuclear treaties such as the Partial Test Ban treaty of 1963 (PTBT) and the Treaty of Tlatelolco.
There are many different ways to detect a nuclear detonation, these include seismic, hydroacoustic, and infrasound detection, air sampling, and satellites. Each have been used separately but at present the best results occur when data is used in tandem, since the energy caused by an explosion will transfer over to different mediums.Nuclear power in Indonesia
The program for nuclear power in Indonesia includes plans to build nuclear reactors in the country for peaceful purposes. The national legislative organ for nuclear energy, Badan Pengawas Tenaga Nuklir (BAPETEN), was founded in 1998. The national agency for atomic energy is BATAN.Permanent Representative of Andorra to the United Nations Office at Vienna
The Andorran Permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Vienna has his residence in Andorra La Vella and is also acreditated as Ambassador to the governments in Vienna (Austria), San Marino, Prague (Czech Republic), Bratislava (Slovakia), Bucharest (Romania) Budapest (Hungary) and is head of delegation of the Principality of Andorra next to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and representative of Andorra to the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, or CTBTO Preparatory Commission is an international organization based in Vienna, Austria, that is tasked with building up the verification regime of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). The organization was established by the States Signatories to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996.
Its main purpose is twofold: to promote the entry into force of the CTBT, and to establish a global verification regime in preparation for the Treaty's entry into force.As the CTBTO Preparatory Commission is an interim organization, it will be dissolved once the CTBT enters into force and will be replaced by the CTBTO, with all its assets being transferred to the CTBTO. This change will occur at the close of the first Conference of States Parties of the CTBT, which will take place when the Treaty has entered into force. For the Treaty to enter into force, the following states need to ratify the CTBT: China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran (Islamic republic of), Israel, Pakistan and the United States of America. Entry into force will occur 180 days after these states ratify the Treaty.The ATOM Project
The ATOM Project (est. August 2012) is an international campaign by the Nazarbayev Center of Kazakhstan. The primary goal of the campaign is to build international support for the abolishment of nuclear testing. ATOM stands for "Abolish Testing. Our Mission." The goal is to achieve in force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty through online petitions and other methods.Timothy Hampton
Timothy Hampton (1962–2009) was a specialist in weapons of mass destruction and an employee of the preparatory commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna, Austria since 1998.Underground nuclear weapons testing
Underground nuclear testing is the test detonation of nuclear weapons that is performed underground. When the device being tested is buried at sufficient depth, the explosion may be contained, with no release of radioactive materials to the atmosphere.
The extreme heat and pressure of an underground nuclear explosion causes changes in the surrounding rock. The rock closest to the location of the test is vaporised, forming a cavity. Farther away, there are zones of crushed, cracked, and irreversibly strained rock. Following the explosion, the rock above the cavity may collapse, forming a rubble chimney. If this chimney reaches the surface, a bowl-shaped subsidence crater may form.
The first underground test took place in 1951; further tests provided information that eventually led to the signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963, which banned all nuclear tests except for those performed underground. From then until the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996, most nuclear tests were performed underground, in order to prevent nuclear fallout from entering into the atmosphere.