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Since 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has provided a framework for detecting nuclear explosions, sharing data among partner states, and preparing to conduct on-site inspections. After the Treaty’s entry into force, countries party to the CTBT can request an on-site inspection from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to verify if a suspicious event is, in fact, a nuclear explosion. The Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO (CTBTO PrepCom) selects experts from partner states to lend their expertise as Surrogate Inspectors.
Recently, five NNSA experts were selected by the CTBTO PrepCom as Surrogate Inspector Trainees to participate in the Third On-Site Inspection Training Cycle. A total of 80 international experts were chosen by the CTBTO PrepCom as new trainees.
The NNSA experts selected are:
- Dr. Nedra Bonal, geophysicist from Sandia National Laboratories
- Dr. Julia Craven, optical engineer and remote sensing scientist from Sandia National Laboratories
- Dr. Martin Keillor, radionuclide expert from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
- Tracy Kiellman, health physicist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Emily Schultz-Fellenz, geoscientist from Los Alamos National Laboratory
Although the CTBT has not yet entered into force, the CTBTO PrepCom and partner states are involved in activities to prepare to carry out its functions, including an on-site inspection. The newly selected on-site inspection surrogate inspector trainees will undergo a rigorous set of classes, workshops, and exercises in the next few years to gain the skills required to conduct such inspections that verify compliance with the CTBT. Training activities include visual observation, seismic surveying, and collecting and analyzing radioactive samples. Once the CTBT enters into force, the U.S. and international surrogate inspectors would be ready to join a 40-person team on short notice anywhere in the world.
The United States fully supports development and improvement of all aspects of the CTBT monitoring and verification regime. Under President Obama, the Nation has strongly backed the work of the CTBTO PrepCom, including the development of a robust on-site inspection capability. U.S. support for these inspections was most recently demonstrated when NNSA hosted the Nevada Familiarization Activity at the Nevada National Security Site in May 2016.
“Providing Surrogate Inspectors and inviting the CTBT on-site inspection experts to Nevada for training allows us to make valuable contributions in strengthening the capabilities to detect and deter nuclear explosive testing around the world,” said Anne Harrington, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation.