Safeguards legal framework
The legal framework for IAEA safeguards consists of a number of elements. These include the IAEA Statute; States’ obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and treaties establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones; safeguards instruments such as safeguards agreements, protocols and subsidiary arrangements to those agreements; and the decisions of the IAEA Board of Governors.
The IAEA concludes three types of safeguards agreements:
- comprehensive safeguards agreements with non-nuclear-weapon State parties to the NPT;
- voluntary offer safeguards agreements with the nuclear-weapon State parties to the NPT; and
- item-specific safeguards agreements with non-NPT States.
Each of these agreements may be complemented with an Additional Protocol that includes provisions for information about, and access to, all parts of a State's nuclear fuel cycle, from mines to nuclear waste.
A small quantities protocol may be concluded in conjunction with a comprehensive safeguards agreement. Small quantities protocols are currently available for States that have minimal or no nuclear material and no nuclear material in a facility.