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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

CTBT: International Data Centre

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance
March 29, 2011


[This fact sheet has been updated; see current version.]

Key Point: The International Data Centre (IDC) is the focal point within the CTBTO Provisional Technical Secretariat for collecting, analyzing, storing, and reporting the information collected by the stations that constitute the International Monitoring System (IMS). The IDC distributes data and reporting products relevant to verification of the Treaty.

The IDC is located at the CTBT Organization (CTBTO) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, but receives information from all the monitoring stations worldwide both in real-time and after events.

The data provided from these stations is processed and analyzed and subsequently disseminated to all CTBTO Member States in both raw and analyzed forms.

When North Korea carried out its announced nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, the IDC provided information to Member States within two hours that described the location, seismic magnitude, time and depth of the events. Radionuclide evidence collected at Yellowknife, Canada after the 2006 event was consistent with a release from a nuclear explosion in North Korea. The IMS did not detect radionuclide evidence following the 2009 explosion.

However, it is important to recognize that at that time, only 22 of the planned 40 radionuclide stations, which monitor particulate and noble gases (including radioactive xenon), were operational. With the full complement of radionuclide stations functioning, characterization of an event by States Party to the Treaty could be quicker and more definitive.

The 2009 event also emphasized the role that the verification regime’s on-site inspection (OSI) component could play in determining whether a nuclear explosion has occurred. This measure would be available after the Treaty’s entry into force.

For more information on the IDC, please click here.

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