CTBT: International Data Centre

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance

Key Point: The International Data Centre (IDC) is the focal point within the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Provisional Technical Secretariat for collecting, analyzing, storing, and reporting the information collected by the stations that constitute the International Monitoring System (IMS). The IDC distributes data and reporting products relevant to verification of the Treaty.

The IDC is located at the CTBTO headquarters in Vienna, Austria, but receives information from all the monitoring stations worldwide both in real-time and after events.

The data provided from these stations is processed and analyzed and subsequently disseminated to all CTBTO Member States in both raw and analyzed forms.

When North Korea carried out its announced nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, and 2013 the IDC provided information to Member States within two hours that described the location, seismic magnitude, time and depth of the events. Radionuclide evidence collected at Yellowknife, Canada after the 2006 event was consistent with a release from a nuclear explosion in North Korea. Similarly, radionuclide detections at IMS stations in Japan and Russia collected nearly 2 months after the 2013 event were consistent with a nuclear explosion in North Korea. No radionuclide evidence was detected following the 2009 explosion.

The 2009 event also emphasized the role that the verification regime’s on-site inspection (OSI) component could play in determining whether a nuclear explosion has occurred. This measure would be available after the Treaty’s entry into force.