185 – Nuclear Test Monitoring and the CTBT
Guest: Randy Bell Host: Markus Voelter Shownoter: Stefaan Rillaert
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is an international treaty, still being ratified, that bans all nuclear tests. An important ingredient to the test is monitoring, whether nuclear tests will be performed nonetheless. To this end, the CTBT Preparatory Commission has established a world-spanning monitoring system that relies on seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide monitoring. In this episode, our guest is Randy Bell who runs the international data center and is thus responsible for running the monitoring network and evaluating the collected data.
Randy Bell (CTBTO - Comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty organization) | CTBTO on wikipedia | CTBTO on youtube | Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty | List of nuclear weapons tests | Nuclear weapons testing | U.S. Nuclear Weapon Computer Simulations | B-52
Seismic monitoring | Photos | Seismometer | Triangulation | Types of seismic waves | Seismic analysis | Tomography | Map of CTBTO monitoring stations | Common mode failure
Hydroacoustic monitoring | Photos | Hydrophone | SOFAR channel | Walter Munk | Walter Munk, the ‘Einstein of the Oceans’ | Waveform
Infrasound monitoring | Photos | Infrasound | Infrasound microphone is a barometer | Microbarometer
Radionuclide monitoring | Photos | Radionuclide | Gamma spectroscopy | Gamma ray spectrometer | Natural radioactivity | Background radiation | Nuclear fission products | Xenon gas | Atmospheric Transport Modelling
Thank you for another great interview, Markus. You have shone a light on something I knew nothing about but that is very important to us all. As usual your questions all hit the bullseye!
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I really liked this episode. The samples at the end were a nice addition.
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This episode starts a bit “bureaucratic” but turns out very nicely in the end, with a lot of details about the system. However, I still feel a bit disappointed, not so much about the interview, but about the system. Why do they not give away the data publicly but only to “member states”?
I have been thinking that as the hydroacoustic monitoring is so sensitive (that it can detect “small grenade” explosions half way around the planet! Markus, I didn’t understand why you sounded so unimpressed by that in the interview…) that it should also be used in the search for MH370. Of course if the CTBT member states sit on the data this won’t happen. Or was it used in this way, I just didn’t hear about it?