CTBTO Radionuclide monitoring, Picture of Hydroacustic Stations

CTBTO Radionuclide monitoring, Picture of Hydroacustic Stations, © CTBTO Public Information, www.ctbto.org


CTBTO - Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) prohibits, on a worldwide scale, any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion underground, in the atmosphere, the oceans, or in outer space. The Treaty was negotiated during the Geneva Disarmament Conference, passed by the 51st UN General Assembly on 10 September 1996 and submitted for signature on 24 September 1996.


So far the Treaty has been signed by 187 states, and ratified by 177. It will enter into force only after it has been signed and ratified by the 44 states listed in its Annex 2. These 44 states had certain levels of nuclear technology at the time the Treaty was drafted. Germany ratified the Treaty on 20 August 1998. To enter into force nine more ratifications are needed: Egypt, China, India, Israel, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States. Of these states only India, Pakistan and North Korea have not yet signed. They are also the only states to have conducted nuclear tests after the CTBT was opened for signing in 1996.


After its entry into force, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) will monitor the State Parties' compliance with the Treaty. Germany and the European Union consider its entry into force a major goal towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.


Until the entry-into-force of the CTBT the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO is in charge, consisting of a plenary body and several working groups which are composed of all State Parties, and the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) based in Vienna. German Ambassador Wolfgang Hoffmann was appointed its first Executive Secretary. In August 2005 Ambassador Hoffmann was succeeded in the office by Tibor Tóth, followed in 2013 by Lassina Zerbo and in 2021 by Robert Floyd.


The mandate of the Preparatory Commission is to establish an International Monitoring System, its principal component being a network of 321 monitoring facilities established by each state and operated in collaboration with the PTS. Germany's contribution to this control network are five monitoring stations. Detailed information about some of these monitoring facilities is available on the website of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources - BGR (see link below). Even now the monitoring system with more than 91 % of the planned monitoring facilities already up and running is capable of detecting smallest underground nuclear explosions.


Following the United States, Japan and China, Germany is the fourth largest donor country to the budget of the Preparatory Commission,


CTBTO in the World Wide Web:

Top of page