NTI and CENESS Convene Experts to Discuss the Future of IAEA Safeguards

NTI and the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS) brought an interdisciplinary group of U.S. and Russian experts together virtually in April and May 2021 to discuss ways to build more productive cooperation and collaboration between Russia and the United States on the future of nuclear safeguards, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) system for verifying that countries are living up to their pledges not to use nuclear programs for nuclear weapons purposes. The 20 experts who participated in the meetings have deep experience in diplomatic and technical aspects of IAEA safeguards policy and implementation. They discussed topics ranging from safeguards culture to effectiveness to innovation.

The meetings continue a collaboration between NTI and CENESS that launched in 2019 to build mutual understanding of current political and technical challenges to fully implementing IAEA safeguards. In November 2020, NTI and CENESS published an initial report, “The Future of IAEA Safeguards: Rebuilding the Vienna Spirit through Russian-U.S. Expert Dialogue.” It offers important findings and recommendations for the safeguards community, diplomats, and the public to bolster cooperation in this area.

A growing divergence between the United States and Russia at the IAEA has contributed to the erosion of the long-standing “Vienna spirit” that allowed the agency to successfully carry out its work as an independent technical authority promoting safe, secure, and peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Rebuilding that spirit of cooperation and collaboration will be an important contribution to the future of safeguards.

This project is part of the International Safeguards and Monitoring project. Learn more about this and related initiatives here.

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