(2) IAEA Safeguards Applied to the NPT NNWS
(2) IAEA Safeguards Applied to the NPT NNWS
A) Conclusion of IAEA Safeguards Agreements
Under Article III-1 of the NPT, “[e]ach Nonnuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agency’s safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” The basic structure and content of the safeguards agreement are specified in the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA), known as INFCIRC/153, which each state negotiates with the IAEA and then signs and ratifies. As of December 2018, 12 NPT NNWS have yet to conclude CSAs with the IAEA.50
In accordance with the strengthened safeguards system in place since 1997, an NPT NNWS or any other state may also conclude with the IAEA an Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement, based on a model document known as INFCIRC/540. As of October 2019, 130 NPT NNWS have ratified Additional Protocols. Since the end of 2018, Benin and Ethiopia respectively ratified them. No additional country ratified them in 2018. Iran started provisional implementation of the Additional Protocol in January 2016, while it has yet to ratify the Protocol.
A state’s faithful implementation of the Additional Protocol, along with the CSA, allows the IAEA Secretariat to draw a so-called “broader conclusion” that “all nuclear material in the State has remained in peaceful activities.” This conclusion is that the Agency finds no indication of diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities or any undeclared nuclear material or activities in that country. (At the end of June 2019, 67 countries were drawn.) Subsequently, the IAEA implements so-called “integrated safeguards,” which is defined as the “optimized combination of all safeguards measures available to the Agency under [CSAs] and [Additional Protocols], to maximize effectiveness and efficiency within available resources.” As of the end of 2018, 67 NNWS have applied integrated safeguards.51
The current status of the signature and ratification of the CSAs and the Additional Protocols and the implementation of integrated safeguards by the NPT NNWS studied in this project is presented in the following table. In addition to the IAEA safeguards, EU countries accept safeguards conducted by EURATOM, and Argentina and Brazil conduct mutual inspections under the bilateral Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC). Brazil aims to become the first non-nuclear-weapon state to possess a nuclear submarine, but the details of how the IAEA conducts safeguards for Brazil’s nuclear fuel for submarines remain unclear despite ongoing negotiations.52
In the resolution, “Strengthening the Effectiveness and Improving the Efficiency of Agency Safeguards” adopted in September 2019, the IAEA General Conference called on all States with unmodified Small Quantity Protocols (SQPs) to either rescind or amend them.53 The old SQP allowed implementation of most safeguards measures to be in abeyance. As of September 2019, the amended SQPs for 62 countries were entered into force.
Among states that have announced an intention to introduce nuclear energy, Saudi Arabia has yet to accept an amended SQP. Before importing nuclear fuel for its first research reactor, which in 2019 was nearing completion, it will need to forgo the SQP and conclude subsidiary arrangements under its safeguards agreement with the IAEA to set up inspections and ensure all nuclear materials and activities are properly safeguarded. Negotiations on this matter were not reported to have succeeded in 2019.
B) Compliance with IAEA Safeguards Agreements
According to the “Safeguards Statement for 2018,” as of the end of 2018, of the 129 countries (including Iran applying the Additional Protocol provisionally) to which both CSA and the Additional Protocols are applied, the IAEA concluded that all nuclear materials remained in peaceful activities for 70 countries. For the remaining 59 countries, evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities for each of these States remained ongoing, and the IAEA concluded only that declared nuclear material remained in peaceful activities. For 45 countries with a CSA but with no Additional Protocol in force, the Agency concluded only that declared nuclear material remained in peaceful activities.54
Because North Korea has refused to accept IAEA monitoring since 2002, the Agency has attempted to analyze the North’s nuclear activities through satellite images and other information. According to the report by the IAEA Director-General in August 2019, “the Agency cannot confirm either the operational status or configuration/design features of the facilities or locations as described in this section, or the nature and purpose of the activities conducted therein…Since early December 2018, there have been no indications of the reactor’s operation. The Agency’s observations indicate that the reactor has been shut down for a sufficient length of time for it to have been defuelled and subsequently re-fuelled.”55 In addition, the IAEA also stated: “the DPRK Team and the Executive Group have intensified their efforts to enhance the Agency’s readiness to play its essential role in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme…Once a political agreement has been reached among the countries concerned, the Agency is ready to return to the DPRK in a timely manner, if requested to do so by the DPRK and subject to approval by the Board of Governors.”56
The IAEA verifies and monitors implementation of Iran’s nuclear obligations under the JCPOA, as well as the IAEA Safeguards Agreement. At the 2019 IAEA General Conference, IAEA Acting Director-General Cornel Feruta said, “The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran continue.”57 It was also reported that in the four years from the establishment of the JCPOA to 2018, the IAEA had implemented more than 100 complementary access visits in Iran under the Additional Protocol.58
In 2019, despite Iran’s gradual suspension of implementing the JCPOA, it continued to accept the IAEA’s safeguard activities on its soil. In early 2019, Iran allowed the IAEA to conduct environmental sampling at a site in the Turquzabad district of Tehran where Israel claimed Iran had stored 15 kg of radioactive material as well as nuclear-related equipment. and the IAEA reported in November 2019 that it had detected natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran not declared to the Agency. The November report implied that Iran was not providing full and timely cooperation with the Agency’s efforts to resolve the matter.59 Experts saw the sampling result as evidence of a possible safeguards violation.60
As for Syria, the IAEA Director-General judged in May 2011 that the facility at Dair Alzour, that was destroyed by an Israeli air raid in September 2007, was very likely a clandestinely constructed, undeclared nuclear reactor. While the IAEA repeatedly called on Syria to cooperate fully with the Agency so as to solve the outstanding issues, Syria has not responded to that request. In the meantime, the IAEA reported that it found no indication of diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful activities.61
At the 2019 NPT PrepCom, the United States delivered a joint statement on behalf of 52 states, urging Syria to resolve the continued non-compliance with the IAEA safeguards agreement. However, Syria argued that the evidence by the IAEA Board of Governors was not built on conclusive evidence and its conclusions were formulated as “likely probability” only.62
50 This number includes Palestine, which acceded to the NPT in 2015. Those 12 countries have little nuclear material, or do not conduct nuclear-related activities.
51 IAEA, “Safeguards Statement for 2018,” 2019.
52 Leonardo Bandarra, “Brazilian Nuclear Policy under Bolsonaro: No Nuclear Weapons, But a Nuclear Submarine,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 12, 2019, https://thebulletin.org/2019/04/brazilian-nuclear-policy-under-bolsonaro/.
53 GC(63)/RES/11, September 2019.
54 IAEA “Safeguards Statement for 2018,” 2019.
55 GOV/2019/33-GC(63)20, September 2019.
57 Cornel Feruta, IAEA Acting Director General, “Statement to Sixty-Third Regular Session of IAEA General Conference,” September 16, 2019, https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/statements/statement-to-sixty-third-regular-session-of-iaea-general-conference.
58 Jonathan Tirone, “Iran Snap Nuclear Inspections Jump as Tensions with U.S. Rise,” Bloomberg, May 10, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-10/iran-snap-nuclear-inspections-jump-as-tensions-with-u-s-rise.
59 GOV/2019/55, November 11, 2019.
60 Mark Fitzpatrick, “Finding Evidence of Undeclared Past Nuclear Activity in Iran Shows the IAEA Process Is Working,” Survival Editors’ Blog, July 15, 2019, https://www.iiss.org/blogs/survivalblog/2019/07/undeclared-iranian-nuclear-activity-and-iaea-process.
61 IAEA “Safeguards Statement for 2018,” 2019.
62 Katrin Geyer and Alicia Sanders-Zakre, “News in Brief,” NPT News in Review, No. 7 (May 10, 2019), p.3.