The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) applied nuclear safeguards in 183 states worldwide last year, according to its Safeguards Statement for 2019. IAEA safeguards are a series of technical measures that provide the international community with confidence that nuclear material is used for peaceful purposes and not to produce nuclear weapons.(Image: IAEA)
The IAEA reported its 2019 safeguards conclusions to its Board of Governors last week as part of the annual Safeguards Implementation Report. It said of the 175 states with a comprehensive safeguards agreement in force in 2019, 131 also had an additional protocol in force or provisionally implemented. This included two states that ratified an additional protocol to their safeguards agreements during the year. By providing access to additional information, sites and locations, the additional protocol enables the IAEA to provide assurances regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities, in addition to assurances on the non-diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities.
For those states with a comprehensive safeguards agreement in force, the IAEA was able to conclude that for 69 states, "all nuclear material remained in peaceful activities" and for the other 106 states that "declared nuclear material remained in peaceful activities". For the three states with item-specific safeguards agreements in force (India, Israel and Pakistan), the IAEA concluded that "nuclear material, facilities or other items to which safeguards had been applied remained in peaceful activities". For the five States with voluntary offer agreements in force (China, France, Russia, the UK and the USA), the IAEA concluded that "nuclear material in selected facilities to which safeguards had been applied remained in peaceful activities or had been withdrawn from safeguards as provided for in the agreements".
Over the course of 2019, the IAEA conducted almost 3000 verifications around the world requiring over 13,000 days spent in the field by IAEA inspectors. These verification activities included 149 complementary accesses that can provide the IAEA with entry to a location within 24 hours and, in some cases, with as little as two hours' notice.
"Following the trend of previous years, in 2019 the total number of nuclear facilities and other locations under safeguards continued to increase, as did the amount of nuclear material for which the IAEA applies safeguards," said Massimo Aparo, Deputy Director General and head of the Department of Safeguards at the IAEA. "The activities which the IAEA carries out to implement safeguards are extensive, including nuclear material and environmental sampling, the application of seals to nuclear material and equipment, and the use of on-site surveillance cameras and remote monitoring of nuclear facilities."
Researched and written by World Nuclear News