The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) will prohibit States Parties from carrying out nuclear weapon test explosions. The Treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly nearly 30 years ago but is not yet in force. While nuclear-armed State Signatories have put unilateral testing moratoriums in place, international confidence in those moratoriums is being shaken. Russia is withdrawing its ratification to the Treaty, and activities at nuclear weapon test sites are stirring fears of a possible return to nuclear testing in the future.

VERTIC works with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the CTBTO Provisional Technical Secretariat, and international stakeholders in nuclear test monitoring to build confidence in the verification and enforcement of the CTBT, supporting its entry into force. 

Past Projects:

Strengthening nuclear test ban monitoring via non-governmental satellite imagery analysis and mechanisms for resolving compliance concerns

VERTIC partnered with the Open Nuclear Network (ONN) to strengthen the monitoring of nuclear test bans and moratoriums. We investigated how consultation and clarification mechanisms – a hitherto under-examined aspect of the CTBT – could be used to resolve questions and concerns regarding the absence of nuclear weapon test explosions. In particular, we drew on non-governmental imagery and analysis produced by the ONN to explore the role that satellite imagery can play in consultation and clarification. In doing so, we equipped the international community with new ways to build confidence in the ongoing absence of nuclear weapon test explosions.



We also worked with The Open Nuclear Network as they carried out four case studies examining developments at select nuclear test sites with the use of commercially available satellite imagery and other supporting open-source information. Together, these studies sought to examine in practical ways how commercially available satellite imagery can best be used for monitoring and verification purposes, and for increasing transparency surrounding activities at test sites where little other information is available to determine the nature of specific developments. 

This work is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and One Earth Future.