Senior Director, Nuclear Materials Security
The approach to safeguarding nuclear programs is inconsistent, and critical gaps may prevent the international community from adequately preventing proliferation crises
Develop new concepts and build collaborative engagements with the IAEA and other stakeholders to support robust fuel cycle verification
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.
The term “safeguards effectiveness” means the effectiveness of IAEA verification—that is, the ability of the IAEA to detect non-compliance.
The ways sustainability of the IAEA safeguards system can be ensured by the agency, its Member States, and the international community
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.
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.
New approaches to strengthen international safeguards. The papers are the result of a 2021 project aimed at bridging a growing gap between Russian and U.S.-Western views on the effectiveness and sustainability of IAEA safeguards.
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.
Topics discussed ranged from safeguards culture to effectiveness to innovation.
The report includes four short papers written by U.S. and Russian experts with recommendations for the safeguards community, diplomats, and the public to bolster cooperation in this space.
A new report by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies examines how the information revolution, and especially social media, is changing the field of nonproliferation.