Nuclear test monitoring

Nuclear test monitoring based on seismology, and research related it have played an important role in the activity of the institute since its very beginning.

Seismic methods are the most efficient ways to observe and localize potential underground nuclear tests. Therefore one of the core tasks of the institute is to take care not only of the national seismic monitoring but also of participation in the seismic monitoring activities of the international nuclear test ban treaty. This has been secured mainly by the funding of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Researchers of Institute of Seismology have since 1976 taken part in the expert board of the nuclear weapon non-proliferation as scientific experts. As a result of negotiations, the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty was signed in 1996.

For obedience of the treaty, an international monitoring system has been planned, with 50 primary and 120 secondary seismic stations across the globe. Situated in Sysmä, the FINES array has been defined to be a part of the monitoring network belonging to the treaty. Completed in 1985, the station was one of the first certified primary stations of the network. From all stations of the monitoring network, the registration information is directly delivered via satellite connection to the international data centre in Wien, working under the auspices of the preparatory commission of Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) organisation.

Important years in the nuclear weapon era

The first nuclear test ”Trinity” (20 kt) was made in the desert of New Mexico, United States, on the 16th of July. Almost a month later, an atomic bomb was dropped to Hiroshima (”Little Boy”, 15 kt, 6th of August) and to Nagasaki (”Fat Man”, 21 kt, 9th of August). In Hiroshima, 66000 people, and in Nagasaki, 39000 people died immediately.

The first nuclear test of the Soviet Union ”Joe 1” (22 kt) in Kazahstan, 29th of August.

The first nuclear test of the United Kingdom ”Hurricane” (25 kt) in Monte Bello Islands, Australia, 3rd of October.

The first thermal nuclear test ”Ivy Mike” (10,4 Mt), 1st of November. The United States blew it up at the Enewetok atoll, Pacific Ocean.

The first nuclear test of France ”Gerboise Bleue” (70 kt) in Algeriassa, 13th of February.

The Soviet Union carried out the largest (50 Mt) nuclear test. "Tsar Bomba" was exploded above Novaya Zemlya on the 31st of October.

Partial Test Ban Treaty, PTBT

The first nuclear test of China ”596” (22 kt), 16th of October.

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, NPT

The first nuclear test of India "Smiling Buddha" (12 kt), 18th of May.

Threshold Test Ban Treaty, TTBT
Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty, PNET

The last nuclear test of the Soviet Union

The last nuclear test of the United States

The last nuclear tests of France and China

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, CTBT

The last nuclear test of India

The first nuclear test of Pakistan ”Chagai-I” (9-12 kt), 28th of May

The first nuclear test of North Korea ”Hwadae-ri”, 9th of October

North Korea announces to have completed a new nuclear test on the 25th of May

Nuclear test of North Korea, 12th of February

Nuclear tests of North Korea, 6th of January and 9th of September

Nuclear test of North Korea (ca. 200 kt), 3rd of September