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Timeline: Milestones in IAEA Safeguards

Safeguards Explained

For many decades, IAEA safeguards have played an indispensable role in deterring the spread of nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency implements its nuclear verification mission through a set of technical measures (‘safeguards’) applied to nuclear material and activities to verify and provide assurances that States honour their commitments to use nuclear material only for peaceful purposes.

International treaties and agreements provide the basis for these activities. Over time, initiatives by individual States, groups of States and the international community have broadened safeguards’ reach and scope. The IAEA has continuously enhanced its technical and organisational capabilities to ensure the effective implementation of its growing mandates. Initially limited to only a few select nuclear facilities, international safeguards today are a global monitoring mechanism covering nearly 190 countries.

This ‘Safeguards Timeline’ is the first overview of historical milestones in the more than six decades of IAEA safeguards. It features select developments that have characterized or shaped the evolution of the safeguards system and its implementation. The timeline, intended to serve as a resource for the safeguards expert community, was developed for the 2022 Symposium on International Safeguards entitled “Reflecting on the Past and Anticipating the Future”.


October, 2022
Vol. 63-3

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