The Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities INFCIRC/225/Rev.4 (Corrected)


Physical protection against the theft or unauthorized diversion of nuclear materials and against the sabotage of nuclear facilities by individuals or groups has long been a matter of national and international concern. Although responsibility for establishing and operating a comprehensive physical protection system for nuclear materials and facilities within a State rests entirely with the Government of that State, it is not a matter of indifference to other States whether and to what extent that responsibility is fulfilled. Physical protection has therefore become a matter of international concern and co-operation. The need for international co-operation becomes evident in situations where the effectiveness of physical protection in one State depends on the taking by other States also of adequate measures to deter or defeat hostile actions against nuclear facilities and nuclear materials, particularly when such materials are transported across national frontiers.

The IAEA recognized early on that it might be called upon to play a role in the area of the physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities. Its first effort resulted in the publication, in 1972, of "Recommendations for the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material", which was prepared by a panel of experts convened by the Director General. These recommendations were revised by a group of experts in co-operation with the IAEA Secretariat, and the revised version was published in 1975 in the INFCIRC series. INFCIRC/225 has been favorably received by Member States and has since become a standard reference document. The document was subsequently revised in 1977, 1989 and in 1993.

The 1993 review was of limited scope and resulted in changes to the text of INFCIRC/225/Rev.2 designed to make the categorization table in that document consistent with the categorization table contained in the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials . Consequently, a comprehensive review of INFCIRC/225 has not been conducted since 1989. In late 1997, the Secretariat consulted with individuals from a number of Member States regarding the timeliness of arranging for a review of this document. There was general agreement that, as a result of technological changes, political adjustments and modifications to national physical protection approaches, it was timely to conduct a thorough review of INFCIRC/225/Rev.3.

As a result, a meeting of national experts was convened for this purpose. They met from 2-5 June 1998 and from 27-29 October 1998 . The revised document reflects the recommendations of the national experts to improve the structure and clarity of the document and to take account of improved technology and current international and national practices. In particular, a chapter has been added which provides specific recommendations related to sabotage of nuclear facilities and nuclear material. As a result of this addition, the title has been changed to The Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities.

The recommendations presented in this IAEA document reflect a broad consensus among Member States on the requirements which should be met by systems for the physical protection of nuclear material and facilities. It is hoped that they will provide helpful guidance for Member States.

Mohamed ElBaradei
Director General

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