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Safeguards by design

Safeguards by Design (SBD) provides guidance to State authorities, designers, equipment providers and prospective purchasers on the importance of taking international safeguards into account when designing a nuclear facility or process. A voluntary best practice, SBD allows for informed design choices that optimize economic, operational, safety and security factors, in addition to international safeguards. It is applicable to all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, from initial planning and design through construction, operation, waste management and decommissioning. For new nuclear facilities, especially novel designs or processes, the earlier the discussion of safeguards the better: SBD allows for safeguards to be built ‘into’ the system, rather than around it afterwards.

SBD neither replaces a State’s obligation for early provision of design information to the IAEA under its safeguards agreement, nor introduces new requirements.

SBD – Why?  

  • Reduces the burden on operators and the IAEA by optimizing inspections
  • Enhances possibility to use advanced technologies like unattended monitoring systems and remote data transmission
  • Reduces risk of costly retrofitting
  • Facilitates joint use of equipment
  • Increases flexibility for future installation of safeguards equipment
  • Reduces risk to cost, scope and schedule
  • Improves understanding by all stakeholders of safeguards obligations

SBD - How?

  • Designers: Engage the IAEA early and receive expert advice from safeguards specialists
  • Designers:  Consider safeguards alongside safety and security (3S), including how these interface
  • Customers:  Include safeguards consideration in procurement
  • Regulators:  Require safeguards considerations in regulatory pre-licensing

Member State Engagement on SBD for SMRs

The IAEA is currently interacting with several IAEA Member States on SBD for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). This engagement involves both SMR designers and State authorities to enhance stakeholder awareness of safeguards needs and obligations.

For further information on Safeguards by Design, please contact the IAEA.


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