A new NTI paper, The IAEA’s Safeguards System as the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Verification Mechanism, explores the creation, evolution, and future of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) nuclear safeguards, the system that underpins the basic foundations of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime. Authors John Carlson, Vladimir Kuchinov, and Thomas Shea, writing as the world marks the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), note that the IAEA safeguards system reinforces NPT states parties commitments to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and provides confidence that nuclear energy is used for exclusively peaceful purposes. An enduring and effective safeguards systems, they write, also will be essential to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.
The paper addresses the challenges faced by the IAEA over time, from the signing of the NPT to the global expansion of nuclear power to cases of proliferation concern in Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Iran, among others. Looking ahead, the authors highlight how factors such as the continued expansion of the IAEA’s monitoring and verification mission, further evolution in safeguards approaches, possible advances in safeguards technologies, ongoing concerns about future proliferation, and prospects for broader nuclear disarmament all will impact the future implementation of IAEA safeguards.
Read the NTI paper here. Read the Russian translation here.