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IAEA Draws Safeguards Conclusions for 188 States — Safeguards Implementation Report 2022


Safeguard inspectors demonstrate some of the equipment and techniques used in the field to verify the peaceful use of nuclear material. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

In 2022, the IAEA conducted almost 3000 in-field verification activities at more than 1300 nuclear facilities and ‘locations outside facilities’ around the world, according to the Safeguards Statement and Background for 2022, published this week. As a result of this verification effort, the IAEA was able to draw safeguards conclusions for 188 States with safeguards agreements in force.

The Safeguards Statement presents the IAEA’s findings and conclusions for all States for which the IAEA implemented safeguards during the year. This included Ukraine where, despite the ongoing armed conflict, the IAEA was able to conduct the in-field verification activities necessary to draw a safeguards conclusion.

“During the course of 2022, the easing of restrictions related to COVID-19 meant that the pandemic was no longer considered a major area of difficulty for the implementation of Agency safeguards,” Massimo Aparo, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Safeguards said. “However, the Agency continued to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. In particular, the Agency needed to overcome significant obstacles posed by the armed conflict in Ukraine throughout most of the year.”

The IAEA verifies that nuclear material remains in peaceful use for more than 180 States with safeguards agreements.

Of the 188 States where the IAEA implemented safeguards during the year, 180 had a comprehensive safeguards agreement in force, of which 134 also had an additional protocol in force. The additional protocol significantly increases the IAEA’s ability to verify the peaceful use of nuclear material by providing the Agency access to additional safeguards-relevant information, nuclear sites and locations.

Among the 134 States with a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an additional protocol in force, the IAEA was able to conclude that “all nuclear material remained in peaceful activities” for 74 States. The IAEA drew this conclusion, also known as the ‘broader conclusion,' for the first time for two States, namely Paraguay and the United Arab Emirates.

For the other 106 States with comprehensive safeguards agreements, 60 of which also have additional protocols in force, the IAEA concluded that “declared nuclear material remained in peaceful activities.”

As of the end of 2022, five States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had yet to bring into force comprehensive safeguards agreements with the Agency. For these States, the IAEA could not draw any safeguards conclusions.

For the three countries with item-specific safeguards agreements in force (India, Israel and Pakistan), the IAEA concluded that “nuclear material, facilities or other items to which safeguards had been applied remained in peaceful activities.”

For the five countries with voluntary offer agreements in force (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), the IAEA concluded that “nuclear material in selected facilities to which safeguards had been applied remained in peaceful activities or had been withdrawn from safeguards as provided for in the agreements.”

During the year, a new comprehensive safeguards agreement with a small quantities protocol (based on the revised standard text) – a protocol for States with minimal or no nuclear material and without an existing or planned facility – entered into force for Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau and the State of Palestine1. An additional protocol also entered into force for Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau.

As called for by the IAEA Board of Governors in 2005, the revised small quantities protocol reduces the number of provisions of the comprehensive safeguards agreement that are held in abeyance. In 2022, original small quantities protocols were amended for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Namibia, Suriname and Tuvalu. Lithuania also rescinded its non-operative small quantities protocol. At the end of 2022, 22 States had operative small quantities protocols that had yet to be amended or rescinded.

In November 2022, the Agency organised its 14th Symposium on International Safeguards, to discuss the past, present and future of IAEA nuclear verification. On the sidelines of the Symposium, the Agency launched the updated IAEA Safeguards Glossary to facilitate the understanding of the specialized safeguards terminology within the international community.

During 2022, the Agency also continued to implement the pilot phase of COMPASS — a project aimed at partnering with national safeguards authorities in order to provide safeguards assistance tailored to a State’s specific needs. Through national training courses, scientific visits, expert exchanges, and regular and substantive online support, COMPASS had carried out 90 per cent of the activities envisioned in its pilot phase workplans by the end of 2022.

“To fulfil our legal rights and obligations as the global nuclear inspectorate, the Agency continues to build partnerships and cooperate with all those involved in safeguards implementation,” Aparo said. “It is only by working together that we can face the challenges of today and build the resilient safeguards system of tomorrow.”

Read the Safeguards Statement for 2022.

1The designation employed does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning the legal status of any country or territory or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers.

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