Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists get set for simulated nuclear inspection

01.09.2014

Some 40 scientists and technicians from around the world will descend on Jordan in November to take part in a simulated on-site inspection of a suspected nuclear test site on the banks of the Dead Sea.

Playing the part of inspectors, the experts will have access to a wide range of sensor technologies to look for signs of whether a nuclear explosion has taken place. At the same time, other role-players representing the state under inspection will try to put them off their scent.

The aim of this elaborate exercise, as science writer Edwin Cartlidge explains in this month's Physics World, is to prepare for the on-site inspections foreseen under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Opened for signature in 1996, this agreement bans all signatory nations from carrying out nuclear tests anywhere on Earth or in space.

The CTBT has been signed by more than 180 nations to date, but to become legally binding all 44 countries that possessed nuclear technology in 1996 must sign it and then ratify it, which typically means that their parliaments must approve it in a vote. However, eight of those countries, including North Korea and the US, have still to do so.

... more about:
»CTBTO »IMS »IOP »Physics »evidence »gases »phenomena »simulated »technologies »waves

Until the CTBT gets the backing of all the relevant nations, scientists cannot perform the final and crucial part of the verification regime specified in the treaty: on-site inspection, which would be invoked following initial evidence of any nuclear testing provided by a global network of sensors known as the International Monitoring System (IMS).

In the article, Cartlidge explains in more detail the role that the IMS's 279 facilities currently play in detecting four types of physical phenomena than can provide evidence of a nuclear explosion having taken place.

Data produced by measuring these phenomena – seismic waves, radioactive nuclei, underwater sound waves and infrasonic waves – are continually sent in near real-time to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna, Austria, where they are pieced together and used to look for any suspicious or unnatural events.

"Unfortunately, the evidence from the IMS is not always enough to convince signatories of the CTBT that a nuclear test has taken place. The network did not, for example, detect any radionuclides following a test North Korea carried out in 2009, and it was nearly two months before stations in Japan and Russia picked up radioactive noble gases after [North Korea's] 2013 test," Cartlidge writes.

Once the experts arrive at the roughly 1000 km2 of mountainous desert and scrubland in Jordan, they will have access to almost all of the sensor technologies available to them under the terms of the CTBT, including ultraviolet light to search for vehicle tracks in the dirt, infrared radiation to hunt down the exact point of any possible explosion, and noble-gas detection systems to measure the telltale gases xenon and argon.

"While the treaty remains on hold, CTBTO scientists will continue to refine and test their monitoring techniques, ensuring that they are as ready as they can be should they finally be called upon to investigate what could be the explosion of a real nuclear weapon. "The exercise in Jordan should provide a stern test of that preparedness," Cartlidge concludes.

Also in this issue:

  • Pointless or profound? -- The search for "sterile" neutrinos
  • The ultimate job -- What it really takes to be CERN boss
  • Cosmic discovery -- How Einstein studied the steady state
###

Please mention Physics World as the source of these items and, if publishing online, please include a hyperlink to: http://physicsworld.com

Notes for editors:

1. Physics World is the international monthly magazine published by the Institute of Physics. For further information or details of its editorial programme, please contact the editor, Dr Matin Durrani, tel +44 (0)117 930 1002. The magazine's website physicsworld.com is updated regularly and contains daily physics news and regular audio and video content. Visit http://physicsworld.com.

2. For copies of the articles reviewed here contact Mike Bishop, IOP Publishing Senior Press Officer, tel: +44 (0)11 7930 1032, e-mail: michael.bishop@iop.org

3. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

We engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.

In September 2013, we launched our first fundraising campaign. Our campaign, Opportunity Physics, offers you the chance to support the work that we do.

Michael Bishop | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: CTBTO IMS IOP Physics evidence gases phenomena simulated technologies waves

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Molecule flash mob
19.01.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

nachricht Magnetic moment of a single antiproton determined with greatest precision ever
19.01.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>