Unreasonable Usefulness of Test-Ban Verification for Disaster Warning and Science

Sunday, February 17, 2013: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 204 (Hynes Convention Center)
The multidisciplinary verification regime of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was developed over 5 decades ago. Today, seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound, radionuclide, and onsite inspection technologies have matured into the world’s most sophisticated multilateral verification regime. A monitoring network consisting of 337 facilities around the globe -- of which 85 percent are already in operation -- is sending around 10 gigabytes of data daily in near real time. These data are available to all 183 CTBT member states. The monitoring system has proven its ability to detect even small underground nuclear explosions during the 2006 and 2009 North Korean nuclear tests, confirmed by the recent report of the U.S. National Academy of Science. However, science is only beginning to discover the value of this $1 billion system for uses beyond the detection of nuclear tests. Some stations are already helping tsunami early warning efforts, in particular in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. Others tracked radioactive emission from the Fukushima power plant after the March 2011 disaster. Yet to a large extent, the data are an untapped wealth of potential. Possible uses include the monitoring and studying of climate change, volcanic eruptions, meteors entering the atmosphere, storm systems, whale singing/migrating, and icebergs calving, among other things. The objective of this symposium is to raise awareness for this potential and build synergies with related scientific branches.
Annika Thunborg, Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
Lassina Zerbo, Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
Raymond Jeanloz, University of California
How Advances in Earth Sciences Help Detect Nuclear Explosions
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