Media Advisory:
CTBTO to conduct first integrated
on-site inspection exercise
in September in Kazakhstan

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International experts from all over the world will meet in September in Kazakhstan to test one of the key elements of a global alarm system to monitor the comprehensive ban on nuclear testing.  The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) will conduct its first large scale integrated on-site inspection exercise from 1-25 September 2008 at the former Soviet nuclear test site Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan. The on-site inspection phase will be preceded by a week of testing related launch activities at the CTBTO Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, which will include the assembly of the Inspection Team.

The Integrated Field Exercise 2008 or IFE08 will be the largest and most ambitious exercise ever conducted by the CTBTO and will reinforce the CTBT’s role as a key instrument of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.  The scope of the exercise is unprecedented. It will involve a team of 40 inspectors and the shipment of over 40 tonnes of equipment to the inspection area within a few days. The logistical efforts and organizational challenges make the exercise resemble a humanitarian aid operation rather than an inspection under a non-proliferation treaty.

Media activities
CTBTO will undertake a range of media activities to provide comprehensive information to a wide international audience on the exercise, including press conferences, a media day for interested journalists in the field and a dedicated area on the new CTBTO web site.

Press briefing on 21 August 2008 in Vienna, Austria
The press briefing will take place a few days before the start of the exercise’s first phase in Vienna. 

The Ambassador of Kazakhstan, H.E. Kairat Abdrakhmanov [TBC], and the CTBTO Executive Secretary, Tibor Tóth, will brief the media on the upcoming exercise and its importance for international verification and for non-proliferation and disarmament.  The Director of the On-Site Inspection Division, Boris Kvok, will inform about the preparations for the exercise and the expected sequence of inspection activities. 

Press conference on 1 September 2008 in Almaty, Kazakhstan
The press conference will take place on the first day of IFE08 activities.  Kazakhstan will be represented by H.E. Marat Tazhin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan [TBC], and H.E. Izmukhambetov Bakhtykhozha, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Kazakhstan [TBC]. The Executive Secretary, Tibor Tóth, and the Director of the OSI Division, Boris Kvok, will participate on behalf of the CTBTO.

The press conference will highlight the milestone character of the Integrated Field Exercise in the preparation for entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and in the larger framework of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and international peace and security.

Media Day
The media day will allow journalists to obtain first-hand impressions of on-site inspection activities carried out during the exercise.  Journalists will be able to access the Base of Operations of the exercise and experience inspection activities conducted there such as radiation measurements of environmental samples in field laboratories, decontamination procedures and data analysis of a range of different measurements carried out in the inspection area. Presentations will be given to inform journalists about the CTBT’s global alarm system with emphasis on on-site inspections, its procedures, techniques and equipment.

When:  11 September 2008
Where: Former nuclear test site of Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan

Tentative Programme  
10 September 2008, afternoon Transport from Semey to Kurchatov arranged by CTBTO. Duration appr. 3 hours.
Overnight stay in Kurchatov CTBTO will assist in arrangements. Costs to be borne by journalists.
11 September 2008,
early morning
Transport from Kurchatov to inspection area arranged by CTBTO. Duration appr. 4 hours.
11 September 2008,
late morning
Introduction to the exercise.
11 September 2008,
lunch
Provided by CTBTO.
11 September 2008,
afternoon
Guided tour through Base of Operations, including interviews and presentations. Duration appr. 4 hours.
11 September 2008,
late afternoon
Return trip to Kurchatov. Transport arranged by CTBTO. Duration appr. 4 hours.
Overnight stay in Kurchatov CTBTO will assist in arrangements. Costs to be borne by journalists.
12 September 2008,
early morning
Return trip to Semey. Transport arranged by CTBTO. Duration appr. 3 hours.

Journalists are requested to express their interest in attending the media day by 23 July 2008 in writing to Mr. Christian Evertz, at christian.evertzping@ctbtopong.org,
kirsten.hauptping@ctbtopong.org

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Please register early since arrangements can be made for a limited number of persons only!

Please note that the CTBTO will only assist in the organization of logistical matters as indicated in the tentative programme. Interested parties are responsible for all other arrangements including but not limited to travel to/from and within Kazakhstan, visa applications, insurance and all other necessary administrative and logistical matters. The CTBTO will not accept responsibility for any other expenses incurred, nor will the organization be held liable for any injury, illness, damage, loss, accident or other claim which may result during the exercise.

CTBTO web site
For more information on the CTBT verification regime and on-site inspections, please visit the CTBTO web site at www.ctbto.org. A dedicated area on IFE08 will be updated regularly with all information pertaining to the upcoming exercise in Kazakhstan.

 

For more information on practical matters, please contact Christian Evertz at christian.evertzping@ctbtopong.org

For more information on the exercise and on on-site inspections please contact Kirsten Haupt at kirsten.haupt@ctbto.org

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

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Integrated Field Exercise 2008
CTBT builds global alarm system to detect nuclear explosions

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans all nuclear explosions.  The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is mandated to build a global alarm system that will monitor States’ compliance with the CTBT.  Once fully established, this system, the CTBT verification regime, will provide the tools needed to monitor the entire planet for the detection of nuclear explosions.

On-site inspections – the ultimate verification measure
On-site inspections are an essential component of the CTBT’s verification regime, along with the International Monitoring System (IMS) whose 337 facilities send monitoring data for analysis to the International Data Centre in Vienna, Austria. Should the findings indicate that a nuclear explosion may have been carried out in violation of the Treaty, a Member State may request an on-site inspection. 

During such an inspection, a team of expert inspectors gather facts to clarify whether or not a Treaty violation has indeed taken place and to identify the possible violator.  The findings will give States the means to come to an informed decision on the matter.   On-site inspections are thus the final verification measure under the CTBT.  They can be invoked once the Treaty has entered into force.

Testing procedures and equipment
For the on-site inspection regime to be operational after the Treaty’s entry into force, all procedures and methods developed for on-site inspections have to be applied on an experimental basis and equipment has to be tested. A series of so-called directed exercises have examined key aspects of the on-site inspection regime over the past couple of years. 

First integrated field exercise
In September 2008, the CTBTO will simulate an entire on-site inspection for the first time.  The Integrated Field Exercise 2008 or IFE08 will last over five weeks and will include an initial phase of one week in Vienna and a full month of field activities in Kazakhstan.  It will be the first time that major elements of an on-site inspection are tested in an integrated manner.  Experts at the CTBTO will assess the functionality of the OSI regime and identify any shortcomings that need to be addressed.

Kazakhstan’s continued commitment to nuclear non-proliferation
Hosting this important milestone event reiterates the commitment of Kazakhstan to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.  It follows naturally upon the historically important contributions by Kazakhstan in preventing the spread and use of nuclear weapons. When Kazkhstan became independent in 1991, it renounced the vast stockpile of nuclear weapons which was part of the legacy of the Soviet Union, and became a non-nuclear weapon State under the Treaty on Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It also made the decision to close down Semipalatinsk that had been the site of over 450 nuclear tests conducted by the Soviet Union since 1949. More recently, Kazakhstan has, together with the other four countries in Central Asia, pursued the establishment of the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.

Strong support for CTBTO
Kazakhstan signed the CTBT on 30 September 1996, only six days after the Treaty was opened for signature, and ratified it on 14 May 2002.  Kazakhstan hosts five IMS monitoring stations: one primary seismic, three auxiliary seismic and one infrasound station, all of which have already been certified. Kazakhstan’s exceptionally supportive role towards the establishment of the CTBT verification regime is further demonstrated by the fact that IFE08 is the fourth on-site inspection to have been conducted there.