The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty provides for a ban on all nuclear explosions and the implementation of a verification regime which will render any secret development of nuclear weapons impossible. Since its adoption by the UN General Assembly in 1996, it has been signed by 183 and ratified by 162 States. However, the CTBT has not entered into force yet, pending ratification by States listed in Annex II of the CTBT (China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Korea, Pakistan, and the USA).
Austria takes part in the efforts to promote entry-into-force, with former Secretary-General Dr. Johannes Kyrle being a member of the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM).
Considerable progress was made by the Preparatory Commission in the setting-up of the verification regime, as 85% of its international monitoring system is already operative. Relying on seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide monitoring technologies, the verification regime has already proven useful for civilian applications such as for the early Tsunami warnings or for radiologic measurements after the Fukushima nuclear power-plant accident. The abilities of the monitoring system were moreover demonstrated on the occasion of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s recent nuclear tests of January and September 2016. A CTBTO certified radionuclide laboratory, tasked with evaluating and analysing samples, is located in Seibersdorf, Austria.
The current Executive Secretary of the CTBTO is Mr. Lassina Zerbo (Burkina Faso), who has been confirmed for another four year period of office in autumn 2016.