Development of the Strengthened Safeguards System

Under a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA), the Agency's in-field verification activities focus primarily on verifying the State's declarations on facility design/operation and on nuclear material flows and inventories. Design information verification (DIV) involves checking that the actual facility design corresponds to the design information submitted by the State. DIV is performed periodically throughout the lifetime of a facility (i.e., from the construction phase, throughout operation, and during decommissioning). Nuclear material verification activities are aimed at verifying the nuclear material accounting records of inventories and inventory changes of nuclear material maintained by operators for each facility or location outside facilities (LOF) and reported through the State authorities to the Agency. This nuclear material accountancy verification is often complemented by containment/surveillance (C/S) measures (e.g., seals and cameras). All of these measures (DIV, material accountancy, and C/S) can contribute to detecting the diversion of declared material and any misuse of a declared installation to produce undeclared material. The scope of the verification activities to be performed at the facility/LOF level is governed by a State's safeguards agreement and by the Subsidiary Arrangements to that agreement which are also concluded with the State. These arrangements are set out in detail in Facility Attachments that are negotiated by the State and IAEA.

In addition, under a CSA the Agency has the ability to conduct special inspections in case of inadequate State declarations, which gives it some capability to assure the completeness of a State's declaration.

However, the discovery of undeclared nuclear activities in some countries in the early 1990s highlighted the limitations of safeguards as then implemented. It became clear that, if the overall purpose of a CSA were to be achieved, it was essential to pursue not only detection of diversion, but a second objective: detection of undeclared nuclear material and activities in a State. It also became clear that this requires very different methods from those needed for the timely detection of the diversion of declared nuclear material. Such methods include a broader range of information, more emphasis on the analysis of information, more access for inspectors to locations, a more investigative approach in implementing safeguards, and emphasis being placed on considering the entire nuclear fuel cycle of a State (i.e., the State "as a whole") rather than individual facilities. The IAEA's Board of Governors requested the Secretariat to develop proposed measures for a strengthened and cost-effective safeguards system. This development effort was known as Programme 93+2.

The Board of Governors accepted two sets of measures that would strengthen safeguards in a cost-effective manner. The first set, Part I Measures, were activities that may be implemented on the basis of existing legal authority under CSAs. The second set, Part II Measures, were activities that could be implemented under additional legal authority. A committee of the Board of Governors, together with the Secretariat, subsequently negotiated what became the AP. On May 15, 1997, the IAEA Board of Governors formally approved the Model AP, INFCIRC/540. Now it is up to individual States to sign, ratify, and enter into force an AP to their existing safeguards agreements.

Part I Measures: Activities in addition to traditional nuclear material accountancy and containment/surveillance. These activities were identified by the IAEA Secretariat as possible to implement under existing legal authority of safeguards agreements, pursuant to INFCIRC/153, The Structure and Content of Agreements between the Agency and States Required in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Examples of such measures are: Part II Measures: Those enhancements to its safeguards system that were identified by the IAEA in the mid-1990s that required additional legal authority beyond what was already provided for in INFCIRC/153. Examples of such measures, codified in the Model Additional Protocol (INFCIRC/540), are:

The successive safeguards strengthening measures adopted since the mid-1990s were never intended to constitute an additional "layer" of safeguards implementation. The aim has always been to integrate these measures with existing ones to achieve an optimum combination. The term "integrated safeguards" therefore refers to an optimized combination of all safeguards measures available to the Agency under CSAs and APs to maximize effectiveness and efficiency within available resources.

For a State with a CSA and AP, the Agency's increased ability to detect undeclared nuclear facilities reduces the possibility that they may exist undetected. This creates the potential for reductions in verification effort for declared nuclear material. Thus, when the Agency is able to draw a conclusion regarding no indication of undeclared nuclear material and activities for such a State as a whole, a reduction can be made in the level of safeguards verification effort expended on less sensitive nuclear material (e.g., depleted, natural, and low enriched uranium, as well as irradiated fuel).

Further information on IAEA safeguards is at: