WELLINGTON, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Government scientists from New Zealand and Australia Friday announced a new agreement to work together to strengthen detection of nuclear explosions under the framework of the international Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
The move would see New Zealand's Environmental Science and Research (ESR) working more closely with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and Geoscience Australia to enhance their capabilities to detect nuclear tests.
In New Zealand, ESR operated the National Radiation Laboratory (NRL), which was part of a worldwide network of national data centers under the treaty, said a statement from ESR.
NRL program leader Wim Nijhof said in the statement that a range of data was collected and analyzed to identify a nuclear test, with the radioactivity monitoring also picking up material from other releases of radioactive material.
The CTBT International Monitoring System used technologies, including atmospheric radioactivity monitoring, at more than 60 stations globally, enabling the national data center to provide early warning of contamination threats, he said
"As the Fukushima nuclear disaster unfolded last year, NRL scientists provided advice and assistance to government agencies, industry and the general public on how to prepare for and protect against any fallout if it reached our shores," Nijhof said.
"We can also measure radioactivity levels in food products imported to New Zealand, as well as providing certificates authenticating levels of radioactivity in foodstuffs for the New Zealand export market."
Working more closely and sharing expertise with Australian counterparts would mean better planning and protection in the event that a nuclear incident was detected, he said.
ESR chief executive Graham Smith said in the statement that the monitoring work of the NRL was critical to both the international surveillance of nuclear testing, and to protecting New Zealand interests from radioactive pollution.
Under the Treaty, ESR was contracted to provide monitoring services at sites in New Zealand and elsewhere.
ESR operated six radioactivity monitoring stations two in New Zealand as well as in Rarotonga, Fiji, Kiribati and Mauritania - that were part of a planned international network of 80 such stations covering the globe.