Argentina eighth State signatory
to have signed Facility Agreement

A Facility Agreement has been signed today between the Permanent Representative of Argentina, Ambassador Juan Carlos Kreckler, and the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom), Wolfgang Hoffmann. Argentina is the eighth State signatory, after the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to have signed such an agreement.

The purpose of the Facility Agreement is to grant the necessary legal authority to the CTBTO PrepCom to undertake work on Argentinian territory to establish or upgrade the nine monitoring stations that Argentina is hosting to implement the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The primary seismic station at Paso Flores and the two auxiliary seismic stations at Coronel Fontana and Ushuaia are already operating; the station at Ushuaia is being upgraded. The equipment for the infrasound station at Paso Flores has been purchased and a contract to assess the suitability of the location for establishing the infrasound station at Ushuaia is being negotiated. Work to install the radionuclide station at Buenos Aires is under way and installation of the stations at Salta and Bariloche is scheduled to begin next year. Argentina was the first State Signatory to host an Introductory Training Programme on the International Monitoring System, in 1997, as well as a Technical Training Programme for operators of radionuclide stations, in 1998.

The CTBT, signed by Argentina on 24 September 1996, recognizes that halting all nuclear-weapon-test explosions is an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Under the Treaty´s global verification regime to monitor compliance, a network of 321 monitoring stations - spanning some 90 countries - will be able to record data generated by nuclear explosions and other sources in the atmosphere, under water or underground. The network includes 50 primary and 120 auxiliary seismic stations from which data can be used to distinguish between nuclear explosions and the thousands of earth tremors registered annually by the seismic system. It also includes 80 radionuclide stations to sample radioactive debris released during a possible nuclear explosion and, in addition, 16 laboratories to assist in the analysis of samples. Furthermore, 60 infrasound and 11 hydroacoustic stations will be able to record acoustic signals in the atmosphere or under water that may have come from a nuclear explosion. The monitoring stations will transmit, via satellite, in near real time the data to the International Data Centre (IDC) within CTBTO PrepCom in Vienna, where the data will be used to detect, locate and characterize events. These data and IDC products will be made available to the States signatories for final analysis.

For further information on the CTBTO, please see www.ctbto.org or contact:
Annika Thunborg, Chief, Public Information  
T    +43 1 26030-6375  
E    annika.thunborgping@ctbtopong.org
M    +43 699 1459 6375       
I    www.ctbto.org