Safeguards agreements

IAEA Safeguards are embedded in legally binding agreements. In line with the IAEA’s Statute, States accept these Safeguards through the conclusion of such agreements with the Agency.

The vast majority of safeguards agreements are comprehensive safeguards agreements that have been concluded by the IAEA with non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT and nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. As of 3 May 2023, the IAEA has concluded comprehensive safeguards agreements with 182 States. Some 100 of these States have also concluded small quantities protocols to their comprehensive safeguards agreements.

Under a comprehensive safeguards agreement, the IAEA has the right and obligation to ensure that safeguards are applied on all nuclear material in the territory, jurisdiction or control of the State for the exclusive purpose of verifying that such material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

The five nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT have concluded voluntary offer safeguards agreements under which the IAEA applies safeguards to nuclear material in facilities that the State has voluntarily offered and the IAEA has selected for the application of safeguards. The IAEA applies safeguards under a voluntary offer agreement to verify that nuclear material remains in peaceful activities and is not withdrawn from safeguards except as provided for in the agreement.

Safeguards are implemented in three States that are not party to the NPT – India, Pakistan and Israel – on the basis of item-specific agreements they have concluded with the IAEA. Under these agreements, the IAEA applies safeguards to ensure that nuclear material, facilities and other items specified under the safeguards agreement are not used for the manufacture of any nuclear weapon or to further any military purpose, and that such items are used exclusively for peaceful purposes and not for the manufacture of any nuclear explosive device.

Article III of the IAEA Statute provides the Agency with the authority, among others, to establish and administer safeguards. When the Board of Governors approves a safeguards agreement, it authorizes the Director General to conclude and subsequently implement the agreement. Read more →

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