The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP


Media Release

FA54 / 15 April 2002

New $10M Station to Monitor Nuclear Explosions

I am very pleased to open the recently completed Cape Leeuwin hydroacoustic monitoring station - one of 20 such stations to be built in Australia to detect clandestine nuclear explosions.

The $10 million station will form part of a worldwide chain of 321 stations now being established to monitor compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The Cape Leeuwin station is significant as one of only six hydrophone stations in the global chain. Situated on the southwest tip of Australia, it will monitor for signs of underwater explosions over large areas of the Indian, Southern and South Pacific Oceans.

Over the last three decades, successive Australian governments have opposed nuclear testing. But it was not until the 1990s that the international community had the chance to negotiate a ban at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

Adoption of the test-ban treaty by the Conference on Disarmament was blocked at the last minute but on Australia's initiative, the treaty was taken to the United Nations General Assembly in 1996 where it was finally passed.

The CTBT has now been signed by 165 countries and ratified by 90, including Australia. While the CTBT is not yet in force, a ban on nuclear testing has become a strong and widely accepted standard of international behaviour.

This new monitoring station is concrete evidence of Australia's continuing commitment to the CTBT. With 20 such stations and a laboratory in the pipeline, Australia will have the third-largest number of monitoring stations of any country.

Thirteen of our eventual 20 stations are already operating as part of the international monitoring system. Data from them is already being received in Vienna in preparation for the Test Ban Treaty's entry into force.

Australia will continue to urge other countries to sign and ratify the Treaty, especially those whose ratification is required to bring the Treaty into force.

We will also continue to work tirelessly to complete the verification system of which the Cape Leeuwin station is a vital part.

Media inquiries: Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 / Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555


Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:30:10 EST


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