Safeguards Analysis Tools

The Environmental Sample Laboratory

Results obtained by IAEA analysts at the Environmental Sample Laboratory are used to help detect the absence of undeclared material and activities in States. To detect minor isotopes of uranium in particles from environmental samples, collected by IAEA inspectors in the field, more recently, the IAEA's Environmental Sample Laboratory installed a large geometry secondary ion mass spectrometer (LG-SIMS).

Purchased with a contribution from the government of Japan, due to its ultrasensitive nature, the LG-SIMS is known to perform analysis that is comparable to finding a 'needle in a haystack'.

"The role played by the IAEA's Analytical Laboratories in safeguarding nuclear material around the world is vital in upholding the integrity of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty." Yukia Amano, IAEA Director General


The Nuclear Material Laboratory

Located in Seibersdorf, Austria, the Nuclear Material Laboratory (NML) analyses nuclear material samples collected from all points of the nuclear fuel cycle. The analytical results are used to verify States' nuclear material accountancy declarations. On average, 600 nuclear material samples are analysed every year.

In addition to the NML, the IAEA also has an On-Site Laboratory in Rokkasho, Japan. This laboratory analyses samples from the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant; around 450 samples are analysed each year.


The Network of Analytical Laboratories

The 20 laboratories of the NWAL analyse nuclear material, heavy water and environmental swipe samples, thereby increasing the IAEA's capacity and capability in this area.

On average, about 800 swipe samples are analysed by the NWAL each year.

Organizational Structure