The comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)-described as the “longest south and hardest fought for arms control treaty in the history”-was opened for signature in September 1996. The CTBT obligates countries that signand ratify “not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.” It provides for an extensive verification regime including an International Monitoring System (IMS) to detect nuclear explosions, a global infrastructure for satellite communications from IMS stations to an International Data Center (IDC) that process and distributes data to State Parties and on-site inspections which may be requested by any State Party to determine whether suspected cheating has occurred. To implement this verification arrangement the treaty establishes a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) located in Vienna, Austria.
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