Belgian National Data Centre for the CTBT
The nuclear test ban treaty or CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty) forbids all forms of nuclear tests worldwide. In order to prevent secret nuclear tests being carried out, the treaty provides for a comprehensive verification regime. There are more than 300 measuring stations and 16 laboratories, spread across the world, to detect potential nuclear tests using four scientific methods: seismic, hydro-acoustic, infrasound and radionuclides. These techniques allow nuclear explosions to be traced, irrespective of whether they take place in the atmosphere, underground or underwater.
The information from the measuring stations is centralised in Vienna, where the treaty organisation (CTBTO) is based. The CTBT member states help analyse the data collected. A National Data Centre has been set up in each member state for this, which brings together scientists from a range of fields.
The data collected by the measuring stations is not only used for detecting nuclear tests, however. The data may also have other scientific applications. It is used to send out early warnings of approaching tsunamis. It enables accurate prediction of the start of the monsoon rain, allowing agricultural activities to be better timed. It is also a source of information on climate change.
The Belgian National Data Centre was christened NDC.be. The NDC.be facilitates the interaction between the Belgian institutions and the CTBTO.
The NDC.be's activities
We draw up analysis reports on observations pointing to a nuclear explosion.
CTBTO activities and meetings
We support the Belgian contribution to CTBTO activities and meetings.
Simulations and exercises
We participate in CTBTO simulations and exercises.
In 2019, an agreement was reached on collaboration and pooling of expertise between the NDCs in the Benelux countries.
Composition of the NDC.be
The founding members of the NDC.be are:
- The Federal Public Service Economy, (DG Energy)
- The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC-AFCN)
- The Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK CEN)
- The Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI)
- The Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs
The NDC.be collaborates with other Belgian scientific institutions associated with the activities.