International Safeguards and Monitoring


Improving verification to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation

Challenge

The approach to safeguarding nuclear programs is inconsistent, and critical gaps may prevent the international community from adequately preventing proliferation crises

Action

Develop new concepts and build collaborative engagements with the IAEA and other stakeholders to support robust fuel cycle verification

Results

Strengthened international verification approaches using new, enhanced, or currently dormant safeguards authorities, monitoring measures, and advanced technologies

International safeguards are measures to verify that countries comply with their obligations not to use nuclear materials for non-peaceful uses.

Through the implementation of safeguards and monitoring agreements, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) serves as an integral component of the international nuclear nonproliferation system. However, the constantly changing nature of the international nuclear fuel cycle environment presents persistent challenges to the existing system of rules and norms governing behavior. These challenges have exposed critical gaps in the existing international safeguards system, most notably as challenges related to nuclear monitoring and verification in Iran and North Korea continue to remain at the forefront of international discussion. At the same time, the development of advanced nuclear reactors and related fuel cycle technology pose new questions about how to monitor and verify the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

By building a more comprehensive and collaborative dialogue with the IAEA and other stakeholders, NTI is helping to identify ways to implement dormant authorities, encourage productive systematic improvements, explore the potential use of advanced monitoring technologies, and develop a vision for the future of IAEA safeguards. This work substantively augments other NTI projects (Fuel Cycle of the Future and Developing Spent Fuel Strategies) to create a comprehensive, proliferation-resistant nuclear fuel cycle that is backstopped with appropriate and effective safeguards and monitoring measures.

Activity

2022


What Is Safeguards Effectiveness?

Paper

What Is Safeguards Effectiveness?

The term “safeguards effectiveness” means the effectiveness of IAEA verification—that is, the ability of the IAEA to detect non-compliance.


Ensuring Safeguards Sustainability

Paper

Ensuring Safeguards Sustainability

The ways sustainability of the IAEA safeguards system can be ensured by the agency, its Member States, and the international community


Reflections on Safeguards Culture

Paper

Reflections on Safeguards Culture

The concepts of “nuclear safety culture” and“nuclear security culture” are well established in IAEA practice, but no similar terminology is used for nuclear safeguards.


Efficiency of IAEA Safeguards Implementation and Innovation

Paper

Efficiency of IAEA Safeguards Implementation and Innovation

The IAEA safeguards system ensures that the nuclear material and activities falling under the scope of agreements between the IAEA and states are not being used to build nuclear weapons or any other nuclear explosive devices.


2021


U.S. Nuclear Policies for a Safer World

Special Report

U.S. Nuclear Policies for a Safer World

NTI Co-Chairs Ernest J. Moniz and Sam Nunn call on the United States to resume a position of global leadership to reduce the risks posed by nuclear weapons.


2020



2016


2012


New Paper Reviews Expanded Safeguards

News

New Paper Reviews Expanded Safeguards

NTI expert John Carlson explores safeguards to verify that nuclear weapons states are complying with treaty obligations in a new paper

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