A couple of weeks ago the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stef Blok, and his colleagues from Belgium and Luxemburg signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This MoU will improve the verification regime of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (the CTBT) by reinforcing transnational scientific cooperation.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was signed in 1996 and prohibits all nuclear tests worldwide. In order to monitor the verification regime of the treaty, an International Monitoring System (IMS) has been rolled out. This system consists of a network of monitoring stations that can measure vibration, noise and radioactivity and use these data detect nuclear tests worldwide. The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) is, on behalf of the Netherlands, part of this network.
PAX welcomes this closer cooperation and considers it as a positive sign that the Netherlands is trying to improve the verification system of the CTBT.
The MoU that the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the three countries signed will stimulate the pooling of expertise and the conduct of joint analyses. This scientific cooperation of the CTBT national data centers and scientists is the first of its kind. This cooperation will improve the quality of the analyses and as a result will also improve the detection of nuclear tests. In short, the verification system of the treaty will be improved which will increase the norm against nuclear weapons.
Coverpicture: IMS Infrasound monitoring array on Greenland (source: CTBTO Public Information)