Nuclear monitoring facility certified

A sensing array node for the nuclear monitoring facility at Davis.
The ISO3 sensing array consists of seven sensing nodes (one pictured here) that detect infrasound frequencies generated by atmospheric disturbances, including nuclear explosions. Each node consists of a wind noise reduction system connected to a central vault containing the electronics that record the data. (Photo: Sara Pearce)

The Davis Infrasound Facility (IS03), which monitors nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, became operational in September after being officially certified by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO).

Certification and acceptance of IS03 completes Australia’s obligation under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of establishing and operating 21 facilities in Australia, including the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Data generated by the facility is now available for integration into the International Monitoring System (IMS) – a system of 337 facilities around the world that verify compliance to the Treaty.

During the 2017-18 summer season a Geoscience Australia field team, supported by the Australian Antarctic Division, installed and commissioned a seven sensor array and associated power and fibre optic cabling to the Central Power Distribution Facility, which was constructed and commissioned in 2016-17 (Australian Antarctic Magazine 32: 14-15, 2017).

Over the six months since the installation, Geoscience Australia and the Australian Antarctic Division, in coordination with the CTBTO, performed the initial testing and validation of the facility.

This summer, Geoscience Australia and the Antarctic Division’s Antarctic Infrastructure section will perform minor works to finalise the installation and commence the operational maintenance phase of this program.

Ashley Pym
Electrical Technical Specialist, Australian Antarctic Division