United Kingdom seventh State
signatory to have signed
On Friday, 12 November 1999, a Facility Agreement was signed between the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ambassador John Freeman, and the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom), Wolfgang Hoffmann. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the seventh State signatory, after Jordan, 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 British territory to establish or upgrade the 11 monitoring stations that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is hosting to implement the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
The CTBT, signed by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 24 September 1996, recognizes that halting all nuclear-weapon-test explosions is an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It is effective because it limits the development and improvement of nuclear weapons. Under the Treaty´s global verification regime to monitor compliance, a network of 321 monitoring stations - spanning 89 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, 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.