2017: Four more IMS stations certified in China

2017: Four more IMS stations certified in China

Almost exactly one year since the certification of the first International Monitoring System (IMS) station in China, the country’s fifth certification in December 2017 has further consolidated progress made in this regard. Two primary seismic stations – PS12 in Hailar and PS13 in Lanzhou -- were certified in November, and two radionuclide stations – RN22 in Guangzhou and RN20 in Beijing – were certified in September and December, respectively. They join the first station to be certified in China: RN21 in Lanzhou (December 2016) bringing the total number in China to five, of a total of twelve planned facilities in the country.

Once completed, the IMS will consist of 321 monitoring stations and 16 laboratories worldwide (see map). Currently the system is around 90% complete with more stations being built and certified on a regular basis.  The IMS uses four complementary monitoring techniques, utilizing the most modern technology available. Seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound stations monitor the underground, the large oceans and the atmosphere respectively.  Radionuclide stations detect radioactive debris from atmospheric explosions or vented by underground or underwater nuclear explosions. Radionuclide laboratories assist radionuclide stations in identifying these radioactive substances.

The relationship with China has been a priority of CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo since taking office. His first official visit in this capacity was to China in August 2013. China is one of eight remaining countries which need to ratify the Treaty for it to enter into force.

“Having five stations certified within one year is excellent work and is indicative of China’s increasing role as a global leader in advancing peace and non-proliferation.”Lassina Zerbo, CTBTO Executive Secretary


IMS primary seismic stations PS12 Hailar and PS13 Lanzhou were established in close cooperation with the Institute of Geophysics, China Seismological Bureau (IGCSB). They are both 9 element seismic arrays. Data from all remote elements is collected at a Central Recording Facility and relayed to the International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna via an independent subnetwork at the National Data Centre in Beijing.


With both stations meeting IMS technical and operational requirements, they were successfully certified on 27 November 2017. Certification of these seismic stations in China is of significance as both stations fill in an important geographical coverage gap in terms of event detection in the region.


Radionuclide stations RN20, Beijing, and RN22, Guangzhou, are manual radionuclide stations. The station in Beijing is operated by BJCDC (Beijing Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) and RN22 is operated by Guangdong Environmental Radiation Monitoring Center (GERC). They were certified on 8 December 2017 and 13 September 2017 respectively. Like the primary seismic stations, they both fill an important geographical coverage gap in terms of radionuclide detection.