Executive Summary

Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control. — Article 1.1, Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty

On September 24, 1996, President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) at the United Nations Headquarters. Over the next five months, 141 nations, including the four other nuclear weapons states,1 added their signatures to this total ban on nuclear explosions. By the Law of Treaties, the signatories are bound to abide by the provisions of the CTBT prior to its entry-into-force, effectively creating an immediate moratorium on nuclear weapons testing. Formally, the treaty will enter into force 180 days after instruments of ratification have been deposited by the 44 States with nuclear power reactors listed in the CTBT (but no earlier than September 24, 1998). Notably, this list includes three countries that have not, as of April 1997, signed the treaty: India, Pakistan, and North Korea. As of February 18, 1997, two nations have ratified the treaty.

To help achieve verification of compliance with its provisions, the treaty specifies an extensive International Monitoring System (IMS) of seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasonic, and radionuclide sensors. The IMS will be developed under the guidance of a Preparatory Commission that has already been established and begun to meet. On request, the system will provide monitoring data to each State Party for use in its national treaty verification efforts. In association with the Conference on Disarmament, a prototype IMS has been operating continuously since January 1, 1995. Analysis of these data, using state-of-the-art scientific and technical expertise across a wide range of disciplines will play a critical role in the immediate effort to monitor and verify the comprehensive ban on nuclear explosions.

To sustain and advance these CTBT monitoring capabilities, there is a need for a strong basic research effort to support improved analysis of IMS and National Technical Means (NTM) data. Recognizing this challenge, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Air Force Phillips Laboratory, and the Nuclear Treaty Program Office (Office of the

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Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom.



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Research Required to Support Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Monitoring Executive Summary Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control. — Article 1.1, Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty On September 24, 1996, President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) at the United Nations Headquarters. Over the next five months, 141 nations, including the four other nuclear weapons states,1 added their signatures to this total ban on nuclear explosions. By the Law of Treaties, the signatories are bound to abide by the provisions of the CTBT prior to its entry-into-force, effectively creating an immediate moratorium on nuclear weapons testing. Formally, the treaty will enter into force 180 days after instruments of ratification have been deposited by the 44 States with nuclear power reactors listed in the CTBT (but no earlier than September 24, 1998). Notably, this list includes three countries that have not, as of April 1997, signed the treaty: India, Pakistan, and North Korea. As of February 18, 1997, two nations have ratified the treaty. To help achieve verification of compliance with its provisions, the treaty specifies an extensive International Monitoring System (IMS) of seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasonic, and radionuclide sensors. The IMS will be developed under the guidance of a Preparatory Commission that has already been established and begun to meet. On request, the system will provide monitoring data to each State Party for use in its national treaty verification efforts. In association with the Conference on Disarmament, a prototype IMS has been operating continuously since January 1, 1995. Analysis of these data, using state-of-the-art scientific and technical expertise across a wide range of disciplines will play a critical role in the immediate effort to monitor and verify the comprehensive ban on nuclear explosions. To sustain and advance these CTBT monitoring capabilities, there is a need for a strong basic research effort to support improved analysis of IMS and National Technical Means (NTM) data. Recognizing this challenge, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Air Force Phillips Laboratory, and the Nuclear Treaty Program Office (Office of the 1   Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom.

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Research Required to Support Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Monitoring Secretary of Defense) requested a panel of the National Research Council's Committee on Seismology to identify the broad range of basic research issues that would strengthen national capabilities to monitor a global ban on nuclear explosions. The charge for this study is presented in Appendix A. In response, this report describes specific research activities in the fields of seismology, hydroacoustics, infrasound, and radionuclide monitoring. The panel concludes that research in all of the monitoring technologies is needed if the U.S. monitoring system (when fully deployed) is to achieve stated U.S. monitoring goals. To help shape a national research effort in these areas, the report also describes current research programs that support nuclear monitoring, and it recommends strategies to increase their effectiveness and stability. Monitoring CTBT compliance will be more challenging than prior nuclear testing treaties because it will require high confidence identification of any nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, underwater, underground or in space amidst a significant background of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, storms, meteor impacts, and conventional explosions such as mining blasts. President Clinton recognized this challenge and the limitation of current monitoring capabilities when he committed the United States to an absolute ban of nuclear explosions. In defining national safeguards for the CTBT, he stated, ''I recognize that our present monitoring systems will not detect with high confidence very low yield tests. Therefore I am committed to pursuing a comprehensive research and development program to improve our treaty monitoring capabilities and operations."2 Successful use of the IMS and NTM data will rely on the following elements; understanding of source excitations, accounting for signal propagation or advection through the Earth, automated recording and telemetry by instrumentation, and analysis of the signals for event detection, location, and identification. Basic research has enhanced the performance of each of these elements, but extensive new work is needed to meet the technical challenges of monitoring a comprehensive ban on nuclear explosions, especially because there has been limited experience using synergistic monitoring strategies and in-country (regional) data. This effort will require a global system to detect the distinctive seismic and acoustic waves, radioactive materials, and radiation emanating from nuclear explosions. Through the analysis of signals that have passed through the complex Earth system, scientific and technical expertise will play a critical role in the identification of nuclear events amidst the significant background noise of weather phenomena, earthquakes, and conventional explosions. In support of these efforts, there is a need for a broad program of basic research in the fields of seismology, hydroacoustics, infrasound, and radio-nuclide monitoring. In the context of this report, basic research means long-term research on fundamental issues associated with CTBT monitoring technologies, as distinct from communications and computer systems development, instrumentation engineering, and software automation. The panel emphasizes that it is important to buffer these basic research efforts from short-term operational needs, otherwise creativity and innovation will be curbed and the long-term benefit to CTBT monitoring will be diminished. Priority research areas for each discipline are described below. Additional topics are listed under the section of Research Synergy. SEISMOLOGY For decades, nuclear testing treaties have been verified using seismic monitoring of teleseismic signals (i.e., signals that are recorded more than 2000 km from the source). Teleseismic signals are weak, however, for the small events that will be of interest for CTBT monitoring. Consequently, treaty verification will necessitate increased dependence on "regional" signals (i.e., signals that are measured at distances significantly less than 2000 km). Pushing the seismic monitoring threshold downward to include precise event locations and high confidence identification for small events at regional distances is the primary motivation for continued seismological research. To support this effort, a prioritized list of research topics include: Improved characterization and modeling of regional seismic wave propagation in diverse regions of the world. Improved capabilities to detect, locate, and identify small events using sparsely distributed seismic arrays. 2   White House Press Release, August 11, 1995.

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Research Required to Support Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Monitoring Theoretical and observational investigations of the full range of seismic sources. Development of high-resolution velocity models for regions of monitoring concern. HYDROACOUSTICS Monitoring sound waves in the oceans is a well-advanced discipline, primarily as a result of investments in Anti-Submarine warfare. To date, however, there has been relatively little research on the use of hydroacoustic signals to monitor underground and atmospheric explosions. Given that the proposed IMS hydroacoustic network will use a small number of sensors, with no directional capabilities, the panel concludes that the system will have extremely limited detection and location capabilities. Because of these deficiencies, there is a need for research on synthesizing hydroacoustic data with seismic, infrasonic, and radionuclide information and to assess the capability of the integrated system to monitor within national goals. As part of this effort, prioritized research topics include: Improvements in source excitation theory for diverse ocean environments, particularly for earthquakes and for acoustic sources in shallow coastal waters and low altitude environments. Understanding the regional variability of hydroacoustic wave propagation in oceans and coastal waters and the capability of the IMS hydroacoustic system to detect these signals. Improved characterization of the acoustic background in diverse ocean environments. Improving the ability to use the sparse IMS network for event detection, location, and identification and developing algorithms for automated operation. INFRASOUND At present, the U.S. has only a few experts in infrasound, and virtually no infrastructure for research in atmospheric monitoring using low-frequency sound waves. Thus, the primary research issues associated with CTBT monitoring involve first-order questions regarding the characterization, understanding, and reduction of background noise phenomena. To this end, prioritized research activities include. Characterizing the global infrasound background using the new IMS network data. Enhancing the capability to locate events using infrasound data. Improving the design of sensors and arrays to reduce noise. Analyzing signals from historical monitoring efforts. RADIONUCLIDES A wide range of research is needed to strengthen the capabilities of radionuclide monitoring, to reduce the time delay between potential explosions and radionuclide detection, and to facilitate the work of On-Site Inspection teams. Prioritized research topics include: Research to improve models for backtracking and forecasting the air borne transport of radionuclide particulates and gases. Research and data survey to improve the understanding of source term data.3 Understanding of atmospheric rain-out and underground absorption of radionuclides from nuclear explosions. Assessment of the detection capabilities of the IMS radionuclide network. Research on rapid radiochemical analysis of filter papers. Development of a high resolution, high efficiency gamma detector capable of stable ambient temperature monitoring. RESEARCH SYNERGY Effective verification will require operation of the monitoring technologies, NTM, and intelligence assets as an integrated system. As indicated above, there are great opportunities to utilize synergies between the different CTBT monitoring technologies because energy propagating in the Earth 3   Source terms refer to the amounts of diagnostic radionuclides likely to be released by explosions of different sizes in diverse environments. See Appendix G.

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Research Required to Support Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Monitoring system can couple from one medium to another (air & harr; water, air & harr; land, or land & harr; water). In this area, it is particularly important to investigate synergies to enhance the performance of the IMS hydroacoustic network. Priority research topics include: Improved understanding of the coupling between hydroacoustic signals and ocean island-recorded T-phases, with particular application to event location in oceanic environments. Integration of hydroacoustic, infrasound and seismic wave arrivals into association and location procedures. Use of seismo-acoustic signals together with an absence of radionuclide signals for the identification of mining explosions. Explore the synergy between infrasound, NTM, and radionuclide monitoring for detecting, locating, and identifying evasion attempts in broad ocean areas. Determine the false alarm rate for each monitoring technology when operated alone and in conjunction with other technologies. DATA ACCESS The panel strongly recommends that scientific researchers have near real-time access to the IMS data streams received by the U.S. National Data Center (NDC). The research facilitated by this access will provide broad-based quality control and allow the development of monitoring algorithms using actual monitoring data. In turn, the use of the data by the broad research community will enhance the U.S. monitoring capability, increase confidence in the operation of the monitoring system, and serve as an increased deterrent to potential evaders. A previous NRC report (NRC, 1995) detailed the benefits to CTBT monitoring from open distribution and multiuse of seismic data under the Group of Scientific Experts Technical Test-3 experiment.4 The current panel strongly endorses the conclusions and recommendations on open data access in NRC (1995), emphasizing that they should be applied to all IMS technologies and to the operation of IDC. As this report was written, the panel was aware that the policies governing access to IMS data were still undefined. In the panel's view, the most effective strategies for improving U.S. monitoring capabilities will facilitate research contributions from the broadest segments of the scientific community by allowing open distribution and multiuse of IMS data streams. To facilitate this research, the panel strongly recommends that the U.S. Government should formulate a policy supporting open distribution of IMS data for scientific research. RESEARCH FUNDING AND PROGRAM BALANCE Substantially increased funding and closer agency coordination will be required to pursue the panel's recommendations on research needs and to support U.S. efforts to meet national monitoring goals. The appropriate funding level for basic and applied research in universities and private industry must be established apart from that required to develop IMS systems, which is an applied technology area. The panel concludes that it is important to stabilize the budgets for the CTBT research program, with a multi-year commitment firmly establishing the viability of this research area for intellectual resources in universities and private companies. This stability is essential for training technically competent scientists and researchers who will participate in U.S. monitoring operations. Without it, bright young researchers will not enter the fields supportive of CTBT monitoring. OPPORTUNITIES FOR TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER Finally, the panel concludes that increased numbers of Ph.D. level research staff at the U.S. National Data Center would help to promote technology transfer to the operational regime. Technical training and sophistication is essential for recognizing and rapidly incorporating research advances into operational systems. The panel also recommends the establishment of a CTBT research test bed as an additional means to transition research efforts. This would require an accessible system that replicates significant aspects of the 4   The Group of Scientific Experts Technical Test -3 is an ongoing demonstration test of the operational capabilities for the existing seismic stations in the IMS.

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Research Required to Support Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Monitoring IMS and U.S. NDC monitoring system, with real time data processing capabilities and archives of historical data. Much of this report discusses basic research in seismology, hydroacoustics, infrasound, and radionuclide monitoring needed to support enhanced CTBT monitoring. In Chapter 1, the panel frames these issues with a discussion of the technical challenges associated with monitoring the CTBT, the importance of the Presidential safeguards for monitoring, and the role of the IMS and basic research in achieving these goals. The chapter also describes current programs for basic research in support of nuclear monitoring. Chapter 2 outlines the basic monitoring procedures that drive the most important research problems. Chapter 3 summarizes the research issues, and discusses strategies to enhance monitoring capabilities through basic and applied research. Chapter 4 describes past and present programs to support these research efforts. The chapter also discusses the characteristics of an effective long-term research program and the mechanisms to transition the research results to an operational environment. Following the conclusions and recommendations (Chapter 5), the report includes several appendices with more detailed discussions of the research issues and monitoring challenges for the fields of seismology, hydroacoustics, infrasound, and radionuclides. Finally, Appendix H defines the many acronyms that are used in this report.

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