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NNSA and CTBTO Conduct Technical Workshop to Strengthen Treaty Implementation Capabilities in Middle East

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) jointly hosted a workshop to enhance technical engagement with seismology centers throughout the Middle East. The four-day workshop, which concluded today, was held at NNSA’s Cooperative Monitoring Center in Amman, Jordan, and was the first of its kind in the region.

The announcement of this workshop comes less than a week after Energy Secretary Steven Chu and NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino visited the CTBTO headquarters during the 2010 IAEA General Conference.  To see photos from Administrator D’Agostino’s visit click here.

“NNSA’s efforts in scientific collaboration are a cornerstone of our nonproliferation programs, and this workshop symbolizes our dedication to cooperation amongst the United States, CTBTO and the countries in the Middle East to improve our understanding and use of today’s detection technologies,” said NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Ken Baker. “This workshop helps carry out President Obama’s mission of preventing proliferation and enhancing international cooperation.”

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was opened for signature in September 1996 and obligates countries that sign and ratify “not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.” It provides for an extensive monitoring regime to detect nuclear explosions, a data distribution process and on-site inspections. It also established the CTBTO, which is located in Vienna, Austria, to implement these requirements.

“We are pleased to be jointly hosting this unprecedented workshop in the Middle East, the first of its type in the region,” said Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Director of the CTBTO’s International Data Centre “This is part of a larger effort to train scientific experts while building technical capacity and promoting universalization of the Treaty in all regions of the world.”

Technical experts from NNSA’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the CTBTO worked together to develop a wide-ranging agenda to promote capacity building and transparency in this crucial area of concern for nuclear proliferation. 

Regional seismology collaboration efforts in the Middle East have been facilitated by NNSA’s Confidence Building Measures Program with support from LLNL.

NNSA's Confidence Building Measures Program builds trust, transparency, and capacity among indigenous science and technology communities to address nuclear proliferation and security concerns.  This strategic engagement both reduces the danger of nuclear proliferation by engaging local technical experts while laying the groundwork for more formal government-to-government cooperation in potentially sensitive nonproliferation issues. 

For more information about NNSA’s efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,  click here.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.