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Efficiency of IAEA Safeguards Implementation and Innovation

Efficiency of IAEA Safeguards Implementation and Innovation

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Introduction

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system, under which the IAEA Secretariat performs its verification functions (including on-site inspections), ensures that the nuclear material and activities falling under the scope of agreements between the IAEA and states (183 states in total, as of 2019) are not being used to build nuclear weapons or any other nuclear explosive devices. In the framework of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, the IAEA performs the extremely important role of strengthening confidence between states in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, while serving as an early warning mechanism of possible violations, thereby enabling the international community to take timely steps in response. As described in the IAEA document GOV/2014/41, IAEA safeguards activities are conducted to detect (a) diversion of declared nuclear material from declared peaceful use facilities, (b) misuse of said declared facilities for nuclear weapons or for purposes unknown, and (c) undeclared nuclear material or activities anywhere on the territory of a state or under its control.

The amount of work required to meet these objectives is constantly increasing due to increasing amounts of nuclear material and the growing number of facilities under IAEA safeguards. Also increasing is the volume of information that should be processed to detect undeclared nuclear material and activities (if any) in states with comprehensive safeguards agreements (CSAs). Especially during times when the IAEA Regular Budget remains flat, the IAEA must improve the efficiency of safeguards implementation in order to maintain safeguards effectiveness.

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