Safeguards in practice

The field of nuclear technology is developing continuously. The amount of nuclear material and the number of nuclear facilities coming under IAEA safeguards are growing steadily.

Since 2011, seven new safeguards agreements and 23 new additional protocols have entered into force. The amount of nuclear material under safeguards has increased by 17 per cent and the number of nuclear facilities under safeguards has risen by five per cent. Demands are also increasing as more facilities are decommissioned, generating additional needs to verify nuclear material packaging, movement and disposition.

IAEA safeguards will need to keep evolving. Further improvements and optimization are necessary to guarantee credible safeguards and to be able to respond effectively and promptly to new verification demands from IAEA Member States. These will be achieved by making full use of available modern technologies, by streamlining internal processes and by encouraging States, where necessary, to improve their cooperation to implement safeguards.

Key safeguards facts in 2015

  • During 2015 Safeguards were applied in 181 States* (during 2015, safeguards were not implemented in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea); 173* of these states have comprehensive safeguards agreements, five have voluntary offer agreements and three have item-specific safeguards agreements
  • At the end of 2015, Additional Protocols were in force in 127 States*
  • 200,110 Significant Quantities of nuclear material were under IAEA safeguards (one significant quantity is the approximate amount of nuclear material for which the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive device cannot be excluded.)
  • 1,286 nuclear facilities and locations outside facilities (LOFs) were under IAEA safeguards
  • 2,118 in-field inspections, 623 design information verifications and 64 complementary accesses were conducted, constituting 13,248 calendar days in the field
  • Almost 800,000 nuclear material accountancy reports were received
  • The Agency verified approximately 23,300 seals that had been installed on nuclear material, facility equipment or Agency safeguards equipment at nuclear facilities
  • By the end of 2015, the Agency had 1,416 cameras connected to 863 systems operating at 266 facilities
  • Almost 1,000 samples were collected for analysis by the Agency  to verify operators' declarations
  • 407 satellite images were acquired
  • €132.5 million were allocated to the regular budget and €43.3 million were provided in extrabudgetary contributions
  • 883 people (793 staff and 90 contractors) worked in the Department of Safeguards in 2015

* and Taiwan, China