Project News

Head of the CTBTO Discusses DPRK Test Site Dismantlement

By Rowan Humphries

 Dr. Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), was the keynote at an American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Arms Control Association cosponsored event on June 14, 2018 to discuss the role of technology in North Korean disarmament. Following his opening remarks, Dr. Zerbo and an accompanying panel of experts engaged in a discussion on how the scientific community and international organizations can work together to advance individual and collective goals, particularly as they relate to verifying the dismantlement of a nuclear test site. 

Dr. Zerbo’s opening remarks emphasized the importance of “getting the ball over the goal line,” when it comes to North Korean disarmament. He highlighted the science-based techniques and technologies the CTBTO has as its disposal to monitor nuclear testing, which could be used to verify North Korea’s voluntary testing moratorium, as declared by Kim Jong Un on April 20, 2018. Dr. Zerbo also pointed out that the technology the CTBTO employs to monitor nuclear testing could serve a side purpose of verifying nuclear test site dismantlement. 

Majority of Americans Still Support the CTBT

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

A new survey shows that 20 years after the opening for signature of the CTBT, the majority of Americans still support the test ban. This latest survey joins many other polls that have found high American support for the CTBT over the past six decades.

CTBTO Proves Relevancy at Symposium

By Sylvia Mishra

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) hosted its 2nd CTBT Science and Diplomacy Symposium from May 21 to June 1, 2018 at the Vienna International Center against the backdrop of significant geopolitical developments: the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), U.S. declaration of a summit meeting with North Korea and deteriorating U.S.-Russia relations. Understandably, the interest of policymakers, scholars and technical experts gathered at the symposium were focused on a few key questions – Will North Korea sign and ratify the CTBT as a sign of their intent on halting nuclear testing? Will the Trump administration impose sanctions on Iran? Will the United States resume nuclear testing as the Nuclear Posture Review released by the Trump administration argues that the United States “must remain ready to resume testing if necessary to meet severe technological or geopolitical challenges”? In such a scenario, what will be the reaction of Russia? What are the political implications for the CTBTO?

North Korea Reports Nuclear Test Site Closure

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

Following a late April announcement by Kim Jong Un, North Korea announced on May 24 that it had destroyed its nuclear testing site at Punggye-ri.

Notable Read: Shutting Down Punggye-ri: Confirming Dismantlement of North Korea’s Nuclear-Weapon Test Site

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

Tariq Rauf, an independent consultant for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, makes the case for a CTBTO presence at the upcoming closure of the Punggye-ri test site in a May 13 article.

Notable Read: Test and Effect

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

George Perkovich assesses the impact of India’s first nuclear tests, 20 years later, by reviewing then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s letter to U.S. President Bill Clinton explaining India’s rationale.

Notable Read: Make North Korea’s Nuclear Test Pause Permanent

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

Jon Wolfsthal, Global Zero’s Nuclear Crisis Group director, recommends steps North Korea can take to build on its pledge to shut down its Punggye-ri test site and stop further nuclear weapons tests in a May 7 article for 38 North.

Punggye-ri Test Site Damaged, But Still Useable, Experts Contend

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

Two different teams of Chinese geologists reported that North Korea’s sixth nuclear test damaged the mountain over the Punggye-ri test site, which North Korea promised to shut down in May. Neither research team concluded that the mountain damage rendered the site unusable, despite recent media reports to the contrary.