Wilson Alaska Technical Center

The Wilson Alaska Technical Center was created to recognize the accomplishments and growing stature of nuclear treaty monitoring support programs at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. WATC operates and maintains more than twenty infrasound and seismic arrays worldwide, providing data that is for monitoring nuclear proliferation, volcanic eruptions and earthquake activity.

WATC is a critical component to the newly-formed Geophysical Detection of Nuclear Proliferation University Affiliated Research Center, which was established for research, development, testing, evaluation, and use of scientific and technological capabilities to better sense, locate, characterize, and assess the threat potential of nuclear activities worldwide.

Areas of Expertise

Nuclear treaty verification: WATC operates and maintains more than twenty infrasound and seismic arrays worldwide in support of nuclear proliferation monitoring. Capabilities include seismic, acoustic and radionuclide sensing and analysis, including event forensics for yield estimation and characterization. WATC is an internationally recognized nexus of academic, industrial, interagency and defense partnerships in nuclear treaty verification.

Instrumentation and monitoring: With instrumentation spread across the globe, WATC engineers are experts in data collection from extreme field environments. WATC specializes in the development, testing and evaluation of equipment and instrumentation operating in such conditions.

Geophysical measurement and signature intelligence: Located on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, WATC has access to specialized facilities for geophysical research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) in acoustics and seismology, and also in high performance computation. These facilities support full-scale seismic and acoustic modeling, atmospheric transport modeling, signal processing, and data analysis.

Time lapse video of maintenance work at the I55US infrasound array in Windless Bight, Antarctica. WATC field technicians return every year to dig out the array elements that have been buried over the course of the Antarctic winter.