South Africa third Member State
to sign Facility Agreement
Today the Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa, Ambassador Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, and the Executive Secretary of the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom), Wolfgang Hoffmann, signed a Facility Agreement. The signing ceremony took place at the headquarters of CTBTO PrepCom in Vienna. South Africa is the third member State to have signed such an agreement.
The objective of the Facility Agreement is to grant the legal authority to the CTBTO PrepCom to undertake work on South African territory to establish or upgrade the four stations that it is hosting as part of the international monitoring system to verify compliance with the CTBT. Two existing seismological stations (a primary station at Boshof and an auxiliary station at Sutherland) are already contributing data on a voluntary basis to the International Data Centre (IDC) within the CTBTO PrepCom at Vienna. The infrasound station to be co-located at Boshof will be installed later this year. As for the radionuclide station on Marion Island, a survey is scheduled to be carried out later this year to determine the site´s suitability. The radionuclide laboratory at the Atomic Energy Corporation at Pelindaba has been identified as a certified laboratory for the international monitoring system and will, on request, be contributing its expertise to the system to supplement data drawn from the worldwide network of radionuclide monitoring stations. The laboratory is also participating in sample analysis tests that CTBTO PrepCom is conducting this year. All five monitoring facilities will require the installation of satellite connections to enable them to relay their data in near real time to the International Data Centre in Vienna.
South Africa signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) on 24 September 1996, the day it was opened for signature, and ratified it on 30 March 1999. The national authority, with overall responsibility for implementing South Africa´s obligations under the CTBT, is the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria.
The CTBT 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 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 the data generated by the four complementary technologies to the International Data Centre (IDC), where the data will be used to detect, locate and characterize events. These data and other IDC products will be made available to the States signatories for final analysis.