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How IAEA Safeguards Contribute to International Peace and Security

16 July 2015
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The photos in this collection were taken during a Safeguards Comprehensive Training Exercise at Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant in the Czech Republic on 11 June 2015.
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Photos by D. Calma
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© IAEA 2015Nuclear technology has great potential to contribute to health and prosperity. But it can also be used for the development of nuclear weapons.Safeguards are aimed at deterring the diversion of nuclear material or the misuse of technology for proscribed activities, and to ensure that nuclear technology is placed exclusively in the service of peace and development. IAEA Safeguards are a set of technical measures that allow the IAEA to independently verify a State’s legal commitment to use nuclear material and facilities only for peaceful purposes. Safeguards serve as important confidence building measures through which a State can demonstrate – and other States can be assured – that nuclear material and technology are being used only for peaceful purposes.IAEA safeguards make a vital contribution to international peace and security. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the centrepiece of global efforts to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons. The IAEA has an essential verification role under the NPT.  In particular, under Article III each Non-Nuclear-Weapon State Party is required to conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA to enable it to verify the fulfilment of the State obligation not to divert nuclear material from peaceful activities to nuclear weapons.For States with a comprehensive safeguards agreement in force, safeguards are to be applied to all nuclear material in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of the State, under its jurisdiction or carried out under its control anywhere. It is only for States with both a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an additional protocol in force that the IAEA has sufficient information and access to provide credible assurances of both the non-diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities and the absence of undeclared nuclear material or activities. As of July 2015, 120 States had both a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an additional protocol in force.In 2014 there were more than 1,250 nuclear facilities and locations under safeguards, and some 193,500 significant quantities of nuclear material under safeguards. One significant quantity is the approximate amount of nuclear material for which the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive device cannot be excluded. IAEA inspectors perform safeguards activities in field, use surveillance cameras, apply tamper-proof seals, and take nuclear material and environmental samples.In 2014, more than 23,000 seals were applied and more than 2,600 manned and unmanned monitoring and measuring systems were in operation. More than 900 nuclear material and environmental samples were also collected. And more than 400 satellite images were analyzed.At IAEA headquarters in Vienna, information is analyzed, and evaluated, and findings established. The  IAEA draws safeguards conclusions annually on the basis of those findings.About 850 staff from 95 different countries work in the Department of Safeguards. Every year the IAEA Secretariat reports its safeguards conclusions in the Safeguards Implementation Report, which is presented to the IAEA Board of Governors.The IAEA, in cooperation with State authorities and operators, addresses anomalies or inconsistencies identified during the implementation of safeguards and may seek clarifications from the State to solve them.The IAEA Secretariat reports its safeguards findings and conclusions to the Board of Governors. The Board examines these reports and takes any necessary action. 
182 States have safeguards agreements in force — comprehensive safeguards agreements (174); voluntary offer agreements (5); and item-specific safeguards agreements (3).