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Hiroshima for Global Peace

Hiroshima Report 2023(2) IAEA Safeguards Applied to the NPT NNWS

A) Conclusion of IAEA Safeguards Agreements

Under Article III-1 of the NPT, “[e]ach Non-nuclear-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 November 2022, five NPT non-nuclear-weapon states (NNWS) have yet to conclude CSAs with the IAEA.71

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 November 2022, 134 NPT NNWS have ratified Additional Protocols. Iran started provisional implementation of the Additional Protocol in January 2016, but terminated its application in February 2021.

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 states that the Agency finds no indication of diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities, misuse of the facilities for purposes other than those for which it was declared, or the presence of any undeclared nuclear material or activities in that country. (At the end of 2021, such a conclusion was drawn for 72 countries.) Subsequently, the IAEA implements so-called “integrated safeguards,” a term 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.” According to the IAEA’s “Safeguards Statement for 2021,” published in 2022 and describing the situation in 2021, as of the end of 2021, 69 NNWS have applied integrated safeguards.72



The current status of signature and ratification of the CSAs and the Additional Protocols and implementation of integrated safeguards by the NPT NNWS studied in this project is presented in Table 2-1. 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).

In the resolution, titled “Strengthening the Effectiveness and Improving the Efficiency of Agency Safeguards” adopted in September 2022, the IAEA General Conference called on all States with unmodified Small Quantity Protocols (SQPs) to either rescind or amend them, and stated that the amended SQPs for 75 countries have entered into force as of September 2022.73 Meanwhile, among countries that have expressed their intentions to introduce nuclear energy, Saudi Arabia has not yet accepted an amended SQP.74


B) Compliance with IAEA Safeguards Agreements

According to the “Safeguards Statement for 2021” published in 2022, as of the end of 2021, of the 132 countries to which both CSAs and the Additional Protocols are applied (not including Iran suspending provisional application of the Additional Protocol in 2021), the IAEA concluded that all nuclear materials remained in peaceful activities for 72 countries. For the remaining 60 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.75

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has imposed significant difficulties in implementing IAEA safeguards.

However, according to the IAEA Director-General report, during July 2021 through June 2022, “the travel restrictions and other health and safety measures introduced by a large number of States in response to the pandemic have, in almost all cases, either ended altogether or been reduced over the reporting period. Consequently, the impact on the Agency’s ability to implement safeguards activities has eased significantly over the past year.” During the above period, the IAEA conducted 2,262 inspections, 676 design information verifications (DIVs), and 140 complementary accesses.76


North Korea

North Korea has refused to accept IAEA monitoring since 2002. In an annual report titled the “Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” in September 2022, the IAEA Director-General reported: “the Agency has not had access to the Yongbyon site or to any other locations in the DPRK since April 2009. Without such access, the Agency cannot confirm either the operational status or the configuration/design features of the facilities or locations [in the DPRK], or the nature and purpose of the activities conducted therein.”77 The IAEA also reported on the state of play of North Korea’s nuclear-related facilities during August 2021 through August 2022 via an analysis of public information and satellite images, for instance:

➢ Uranium mining and concentration: there were indications of ongoing mining, milling and concentration activities at the Pyongsan Uranium Mine and the Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant.

➢ Uranium enrichment facility in Yongbyon: there were ongoing indications that the facility continued to operate, possibly using an alternative cooling system. In September 2021, construction commenced on a new annex, which increases the floor area of the building by approximately one-third. It has not been possible for the Agency to determine the purpose of the annex.

➢ Kangson complex: there were indications of ongoing activities.

➢ Light Water Reactor (LWR) under construction: the Agency did not observe indications of operation of the LWR and, based on the information currently available, it is not possible to estimate when the reactor could become operational. Indications of a possible test of the cooling water system were observed in July 2022. Near the LWR compound, a new building, possibly to support the fabrication or maintenance of reactor components, was externally completed in December 2021, and two further, adjacent buildings, have been under construction since March 2022.

➢ 5MW graphite reactor: indications of reactor operation, including the discharge of cooling water, have continued, with the exception of short periods in late September 2021 and late March 2022.

➢ Other graphite reactors: There are no indications that any work has been conducted to restart construction of the 50MW(e) Reactor or 200MW(e) Nuclear Power Plant.

➢ Radiochemical Laboratory (reprocessing): between late April and August 2022, there were indications of the intermittent operation of the steam plant. This activity is consistent with waste treatment or maintenance.

The IAEA stated, “Once a political agreement has been reached among the countries concerned, the Agency is ready to return promptly to the DPRK, if requested to do so by the DPRK and subject to approval by the Board of Governors. … [During September 2021 through August 2022] the Agency has continued to maintain its enhanced readiness to return to the DPRK and has undertaken, inter alia, the following activities:” Once a political agreement has been reached among the countries concerned, the Agency is ready to return promptly to the DPRK, if requested to do so by the DPRK and subject to approval by the Board of Governors. … [And] the Agency has continued to maintain its enhanced readiness to return to the DPRK and has undertaken, inter alia, the following activities:”78

➢ Continued and further refined its collection and analysis of safeguards relevant open source information on North Korea’s nuclear program;

➢ Increased its collection and analysis of a wide range of high-resolution commercial satellite imagery, both optical and radar, to monitor North Korea’s nuclear program;

➢ Maintained equipment and supplies necessary to ensure that the Agency is prepared to promptly initiate verification and monitoring activities in North Korea:

➢ Held training seminars to update staff on recent developments in North Korea relevant to the nuclear program; and

➢ Continued to document the Agency’s knowledge of the North Korea’s nuclear program, including through 3D modelling of facilities, information integration using a geospatial information system (GIS), and knowledge management activities, to ensure the Agency’s experience from past activities in North Korea is preserved and accessible.



Verification and monitoring

Iran continues to implement its comprehensive safeguards, but as discussed below, there remain outstanding issues regarding the existence of past undeclared activities. The IAEA stated, “The lack of progress in clarifying the Agency’s questions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations seriously affected the Agency’s ability to provide assurance of the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.”79In accordance with a domestic law enacted in December  2020, Iran in February stopped implementing the verification measures in the JCPOA that went beyond the requirements of Iran’s full-scope safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The IAEA Director-General’s report in November 2022 reported that the following verification and monitoring activities have not been implemented since February 23, 2021:80

➢ access to the data from its on-line enrichment monitors and electronic seals, or access to the measurement recordings registered by its installed measurement devices: on 10 June 2022 this monitoring equipment was removed and ceased operation;

➢ any information or access to data from containment and surveillance measures relating to the transfer to Uranium oxide concentrate (UOC) of the uranium conversion facility (UCF) produced in Iran or obtained from any other source; 

➢ access to the data and recordings collected by its surveillance equipment installed to monitor the production of UOC (since June 11, 2022 when this surveillance equipment was removed, has ceased operation);

➢ any information on the production of UOC or on whether it has obtained UOC from any other source;

➢ provisional application of the Additional Protocol (Consequently, for more than 20 months Iran has not provided updated declarations and the Agency has not been able to conduct any complementary access under the Additional Protocol to any sites and locations in Iran);

➢ implementation of the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements to Iran’s Safeguards Agreement (it is a legal obligation for Iran under the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement which cannot be modified unilaterally and there is no mechanism in the Safeguards Agreement for the suspension of implementation of provisions agreed to in the Subsidiary Arrangements)

The report also expressed concern about the possible impact of the current situation on future verification and inspection activities, stating:

The Agency has not been able to perform JCPOA verification and monitoring activities in relation to the production and inventory of centrifuges, rotors and bellows, heavy water and UOC for almost two years, including some five months when the surveillance and monitoring equipment were not installed. This would have a significant impact on the Agency’s ability to recover and re-establish the necessary continuity of knowledge in the event of a full resumption of implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA. Therefore, any future baseline for the above-mentioned JCPOA verification and monitoring activities would take a considerable time to establish and would have a degree of uncertainty. The longer the current situation persists the greater such uncertainty becomes.

Iran’s decision to remove all of the Agency’s equipment previously installed in Iran for surveillance and monitoring activities in relation to the JCPOA has also had detrimental implications for the Agency’s ability to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.81

In April 2022, Iran allowed the IAEA to install cameras at the Natanz nuclear site, but denied the agency access to footage from these cameras during the stand-off over the nuclear deal.82 Furthermore, on July 22, following critical remarks by IAEA Director General Grossi, Iran said, “The [IAEA] cameras [which were installed] under the JCPOA were meant to put an end to [Western] accusations. If those accusations are going to remain in place, there is no more need for the existence of JCPOA cameras.”83 Iran removed 27 surveillance cameras, the online enrichment monitors installed at the FEP, and the unmanned flow monitoring equipment installed at the heavy water production plant (HWPP). Tehran’s such activities would make it harder for the IAEA to keep track of Iran’s nuclear program. Especially, the Agency would no longer be able to obtain timely information on Iran’s centrifuge production. In addition, an IAEA report in November stated, “Since 23 February 2021, Iran has no longer provided declarations to the Agency of its production and inventory of centrifuge rotor tubes, bellows and rotor assemblies, nor has it permitted the Agency to verify the items in the inventory.”84

According to the IAEA periodic report, Iran has neither pursued construction of the Arak heavy water research reactor (IR-40 Reactor) nor carried out activities related to reprocessing. However, as mentioned above, “Iran has neither informed the Agency about the inventory of heavy water in Iran and the production of heavy water at the HWPP, nor allowed the Agency to monitor the quantities of Iran’s heavy water stocks and the amount of heavy water produced at the HWPP.” Furthermore, “while the Agency has had regular access to FEP, PFEP and FFEP, it has not been able to perform daily access upon request.”85

Iran justified its activities in limiting IAEA verification and monitoring measures under the JCPOA by stating at the IAEA General Conference in September:

The JCPOA was an outcome of a collective effort which consists of a delicate balance of reciprocal commitments and responsibilities, which includes: Iran limits its nuclear enrichment activities, reduces its capacity, slows its momentum, and accepts a robust verification system for a specified period of time, and in return, the illegal cruel sanctions and the relevant obstacles on the way of Iran’s international economic, commercial and financial cooperation and interactions should be removed. Furthermore, the JCPOA, amongst others as a confidence building tool, shall prevent baseless allegations against peaceful nuclear program and activities of Iran. 

The United States, against the will of the international community, violated provisions of the JCPOA and United Nations Security Council resolutions 2231, withdrew from the deal and resorted to infamous “Maximum Pressure Policy” which failed miserably.

However, only after 2 and half years of continuing proliferation of economic sanctions against different sectors of Iran’s economy by the US and lack of practical remedies by E3/EU in meeting their commitments Iran’s Parliament enacted a bill entitled “Strategic Action Plan to Lift Sanctions and Protect the Interests of the Iranian Nation” which required, inter alia, certain actions from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).

As it has been stated in various occasions, the Islamic Republic of Iran still adheres to the 2015 deal. Iran’s remedial measures have been taken in response to the violation of the obligations of the other side. If the other parties return to their obligations by removing all obstacles and lift the sanctions, the implementation of remedial measures would be ceased pending legal permission from the relevant authorities including the Parliament.86


Alleged undeclared activities

In a report to the IAEA Board dated February 23, 2021, the IAEA Director-General summarized the Agency’s assessment of the presence of undeclared nuclear material and activities at four sites that may have been associated with Iran’s 1989-2003 clandestine and systematic nuclear program (AMAD Plan). At one of the sites (reported elsewhere to be a warehouse at Turquzabad), environmental sampling revealed artificially-produced natural uranium particles, indicating that uranium conversion may have taken place, as well as low-enriched uranium (LEU) containing U-236 and depleted uranium with a slightly lower proportion of U-235 than natural uranium. At other two sites (Varamin and Marivan), analysis of environmental sampling indicated the presence of artificially produced uranium particles. The IAEA assessed that the remaining site (Lavisan-Shian) was not worth complementary access because it had been extensively cleared and traces had been removed.87

Despite the IAEA’s repeated requests that Iran provide the necessary explanation for the presence of nuclear material particles at the three locations where the IAEA had conducted complementary access, the situation remained unresolved. On March 5, 2022, the AEOI and the IAEA agreed on a roadmap to resolve this issue.88 This roadmap stipulated the following:

➢ The AEOI will provide to the IAEA no later than 20 March 2022 written explanations including related supporting documents to the questions raised by the IAEA which have not been addressed by Iran on the issues related to three locations.

➢Within two weeks after receiving the AEOI’s written explanations and related supporting documents, the IAEA will review this information and will submit to the AEOI any questions on received information.

➢ Within one week after the IAEA has submitted to the AEOI any questions on such information, the IAEA and AEOI will meet in Tehran to address the questions. Separate meetings will be held for each location.

➢ Upon completion of the activities set out in paragraphs 1 to 3 above and following the corresponding evaluation by the Agency, the Director General will aim to report his conclusion by the June 2022 Board of Governors.

Iran submitted documents explaining (alleged) undeclared activities to the IAEA on March 20, in accordance with an agreement with the Agency.89 However, the IAEA report on May 30 stated, “During the process outlined in the Joint Statement of 5 March 2022, the only additional explanation offered by Iran for the environmental sample results was the possibility of an act of sabotage by a third party to contaminate the area. However, Iran has not provided any evidence to support this explanation.” The report concluded:90

Iran has not provided explanations that are technically credible in relation to the Agency’s findings at those locations. Nor has Iran informed the Agency of the current location(s) of the nuclear material and/or of the equipment contaminated with nuclear material, that was moved from Turquzabad in 2018. In addition, nuclear activities and nuclear material used therein at Lavisan-Shian were not declared by Iran to the Agency as required under Iran’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.

Unless and until Iran provides technically credible explanations for the presence of uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at Turquzabad, Varamin and ‘Marivan’ and informs the Agency of the current location(s) of the nuclear material and/or of the contaminated equipment, the Agency cannot confirm the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. Therefore, the safeguards issues related to these three locations remain outstanding.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson criticized the IAEA, saying that the report “does not reflect the reality of the negotiations” between Iran and the IAEA And “It’s not a fair and balanced report.”91

On June 8, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany submitted a draft resolution to the IAEA Board of Governors condemning Iran’s response on this issue, which was adopted (while China and Russia opposed, and India, Pakistan and others abstained). Iran, in response to the IAEA Director General’s report and the resolution, informed the IAEA of its plan to remove 27 cameras and related equipment installed at uranium enrichment facilities in Iran under the JCPOA, claiming that Iran’s extensive cooperation with the IAEA was not appreciated. It started the removal work on June 9.

Since then, talks between Iran and the IAEA to resolve the “outstanding issues” have not progressed. Iran criticized the Agency at the IAEA General Conference, stating:

It should be clarified that there is no undeclared nuclear materials and activities in Iran, all allegations are merely based on false and fabricated information provided by the Israeli regime. The Islamic Republic of Iran truly expects the Agency to conduct its reporting on verification activities in a more professional, impartial and independent manner. 

It is highly expected that the Agency to preserve its integrity and credibility not to allow certain elements to rise under different guises, old allegations which were closed in 2015. We believe that the Agency must refrain from relying on baseless information from unreliable sources. In this vein, the Agency shall maintain its independence, impartiality and professionalism and to play a constructive role.92

The IAEA report published in November reported that Iran and the IAEA held discussions at the end of September and on November 7, and that Iran agreed to resume its engagement with the IAEA toward resolving the outstanding safeguards issues. The report summarized the situation as follows:

The Director General is seriously concerned that there has still been no progress in clarifying and resolving the outstanding safeguards issues during this reporting period. In that context, he takes note of Iran’s proposal to hold a further technical meeting with senior Agency officials in Tehran before the end of the month, but stresses that this meeting should be aimed at effectively clarifying and resolving those issues. The Director General reiterates that these issues stem from Iran’s obligations under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement between Iran and the Agency and need to be resolved for the Agency to be in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful.93

The IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution on November 17 demanding an explanation about this issue from Iran. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson announced that Iran had launched “several activities” at its nuclear facilities in Natanz and Fordo as a countermeasure. An IAEA team visited Tehran on December 18-19, and reported no progress on the impasse.94



As for Syria, the IAEA assessed that the facility at Dair Alzour, which was destroyed by an Israeli air raid in September 2007, was very likely a clandestinely constructed, undeclared nuclear reactor. Although the IAEA has repeatedly called on Syria to cooperate fully with the Agency so as to resolve the outstanding issues, Syria has not responded to that request.95

In the meantime, the IAEA reported that inspections were carried out at the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor facility near Damascus and a location outside facilities (LOF) in Homs in 2021; and that it found no indication of diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful activities.96


Acquiring naval nuclear propulsion by NNWS

The issue of implementing IAEA safeguards on nuclear fuel for nuclear submarines was a focus of attention in 2022. In September 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States concluded a new security partnership, named AUKUS, and one of its initiatives was an agreement to work together to introduce nuclear-powered submarines to the Australian Navy.

When NNWS introduce nuclear-powered submarines, the question of how IAEA safeguards are implemented for their nuclear fuel becomes an issue that needs to be resolved. At the IAEA Board of Governors meeting in March 2022, Director-General Grossi announced that AUKUS and the IAEA had begun technical discussions, and that both sides were committed to ensuring that the highest non-proliferation and safeguards standards are met.97 He also stated at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting in June, “I would like to express my satisfaction with the engagement and transparency shown by the three countries thus far.”98 In September, the IAEA published a report outlining the status of consultation from a technical perspective regarding the safeguards.99

China repeatedly criticized the AUKUS on various occasions. In its working paper submitted at the NPT RevCon, China claimed that:100

➢ “The trilateral cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines undermines regional peace and stability, constitutes serious risks of nuclear proliferation in contravention of the object and purpose of the [NPT], and will damage the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and the efforts of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region. China expresses its deep concern over and strong opposition to such cooperation.”

➢ “The naval nuclear propulsion reactors and their associated nuclear material to be transferred by the US and the UK to Australia cannot be effectively safeguarded under the current [IAEA] safeguards system. And therefore there is no guarantee that the nuclear material thus transferred will not be diverted by Australia to the production of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

➢ “The trilateral cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines fully exposes the double-standard of the US, the UK and Australia on non-proliferation issues, and will have far-reaching negative implications on the on-going efforts to address Iranian and Korean Peninsula nuclear issues as well as other regional nuclear hotspots. Such cooperation may open the “Pandora’s box” and stimulate other countries to follow suit, severely undermining the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.”

➢ “China proposes that a Special Committee open to all IAEA member States be established, to deliberate on the political, legal and technical issues related to the safeguards on naval nuclear propulsion reactors and their associated nuclear material of a non-nuclear-weapon State, and submit a report with recommendations to the Board of Governors and the General Conference of the IAEA. Pending the adoption of the above-mentioned report, the US, the UK and Australia should not commence cooperation on the nuclear-powered submarines, and the IAEA Secretariat should not engage with the three countries on the safeguards arrangements for the cooperation in question.”

On the other hand, AUKUS also submitted a working paper to the conference, and argued that it is neither in violation of its nonproliferation obligations nor any possibilities for nuclear proliferation, stating as follows:101

➢ “Naval nuclear propulsion cooperation under AUKUS will be conducted in a manner that is fully consistent with our respective obligations under the NPT, and relevant safeguards agreements with the [IAEA].

➢ “Naval nuclear propulsion is consistent with Australia’s NPT and IAEA safeguards obligations and its obligations under the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty. Like the NPT, the IAEA’s model agreement for NPT verification, the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA-INFCIRC/153), does not prohibit naval nuclear propulsion activities.”

➢ “Australia, the UK and the US are working closely with the IAEA to ensure that the precedent set by Australia’s acquisition of conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines strengthens the global non-proliferation regime and closes the door to any potential misuse of these elements of the NPT framework for the purposes of developing a clandestine nuclear weapons program.”

➢ “With regard to the nuclear fuel cycle, Australia has made it clear it will not pursue uranium enrichment or reprocessing in relation to this initiative. We can further confirm that Australia has no plans to undertake nuclear fuel fabrication as part of this effort.”

➢“It is proposed that Australia would be provided with complete, welded power units. These power units are designed so that removal of any nuclear material would be extremely difficult and would render the power unit, and the submarine, inoperable. Further, the nuclear material inside of these reactors would not be in a form that can be directly used in nuclear weapons without further chemical processing, requiring facilities that Australia does not have and will not seek.”

➢ “We are already engaging the IAEA regularly with respect to the development of a suitable verification approach to confirm the non-diversion of nuclear material from Australian nuclear-powered submarines. Developing the detail of the verification process will take some time, but we have already confirmed our approach will operate under Australia’s [Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA)] and its [Additional Protocol (AP)]. We remain fully committed to providing the IAEA with full confidence at every step of the submarine’s lifecycle that no diversion of nuclear material is taking place. This approach will contribute to setting the strongest possible precedent for other non-nuclear-weapon states that may wish to pursue naval nuclear propulsion.”

➢ “Australia will work with the IAEA to continue to implement and deepen additional safeguards measures outside of the nuclear-powered submarine program to maintain international confidence that there is no undeclared nuclear material or activity in Australia. Those measures may include enhanced use of transparency and access under Australia’s CSA and AP, and, where relevant, the voluntary development of new measures with the IAEA. Maintaining and strengthening IAEA assurance about the absence of undeclared activities in Australia will deepen confidence that nuclear material used in Australia’s naval nuclear propulsion program is not being diverted and no facilities are being misused.”

With regard to the acquisition of naval nuclear propulsion by NNWS, in its working paper submitted to the NPT RevCon, Indonesia “note[d] with concern the potential consequences of sharing nuclear-powered submarine capability with the global non-proliferation regime.” Indonesia also stated, “[It] calls upon all States parties to the Treaty to garner political will and create opportunities for IAEA member States to develop a constructive approach on verification and monitoring arrangements of the nuclear naval propulsion programme, with a view, among others, to enhancing safeguards agreements that tighten monitoring measures for uranium designated for naval propulsion reactors in non-nuclear-weapon States to prevent diversion of that material for use in a nuclear weapons programme.”102

South Africa argued, “Emerging non-proliferation challenges remain a concern, such as the trilateral partnership — known as AUKUS — that was announced in September 2021. AUKUS could be a destabilising factor obstructing nuclear disarmament and prompting an arms race. We therefore need to be provided with enough specific information as to what it will entail in order to make informed decisions regarding this emerging matter.”103

In regard to Brazil, which had launched construction of the first NNWS’s nuclear submarine, the IAEA Director-General reported at the IAEA Board of Governors in June 2022, “Another important development is that related to Brazil’s formal communication to initiate discussions with the Secretariat on an arrangement for Special Procedures for the use of nuclear material under safeguards in nuclear propulsion and in the operation of submarines and prototypes, as set out in the Quadripartite Safeguards Agreement.”104 Iran also announced a plan to build a nuclear-powered submarine in 2012, which was reportedly underway in 2020 although details of its development are unclear.

At the NPT RevCon, the final version of the draft final document stated, “The Conference notes that the topic of naval nuclear propulsion is of interest to the States Parties to the Treaty. The Conference also notes the importance of transparent and open dialogue on this topic. The Conference further notes that Non – Nuclear-Weapon States that pursue naval nuclear propulsion should engage with the IAEA in an open and transparent manner.”

The issue of naval nuclear propulsion, particularly the acquisition of nuclear submarines by Australia under AUKUS,was one of the key topics discussed at the IAEA General Conference in September 2022. China and Russia strongly argued at the IAEA against Australia acquiring nuclear-powered submarines. However, on the final day of the General Conference, China ultimately withdrew the draft resolution that contained its arguments.105


Issues on Ukraine
Ukraine has adhered to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol with the IAEA. According to the IAEA Safeguards Statement 2019, integrated safeguards were applied to Ukraine. While the Safeguards Statement 2020 stated that the broader conclusion was drawn for Ukraine, the United States and the EU noted that this was not Ukraine’s fault, but rather that Russia’s occupation of Crimea and the activities of Russian-backed armed groups in eastern Ukraine prevented the IAEA from obtaining the information and access necessary to draw a broader conclusion.106
In 2022, the IAEA’s safeguards implementation was repeatedly challenged by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its armed attack and occupation of the Chornobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plants. The IAEA report in April stated, “Despite the current very challenging circumstances, the IAEA has continued to implement safeguards in Ukraine, including in-field verification activities. … The Ukrainian [state or regional authority (SRA)] and facility operators have continued to provide to the IAEA reports and declarations required under the CSA and the AP.”107 It also reported that “several less time-critical verification activities under the AP, e.g. complementary accesses … have been postponed or replaced with other safeguards activities for which longer notification time has been provided to the SRA,” and that data transmission from one facility was temporarily interrupted for several days.108
With regard to the application of safeguards to Ukraine, the draft final document of the NPT RevCon included the following statements:

➢ The Conference expresses its grave concern for the military activities conducted near or at nuclear power plants and other facilities or locations subject to safeguards under Ukraine’s comprehensive safeguards agreement, in particular the Zaporizhzya nuclear power plant, as well as the loss of control by the competent Ukrainian authorities over such locations as a result of those military activities, and their profound negative impact on safety, security, including physical protection of nuclear material, and safeguards. The Conference recognizes that the loss of control over nuclear facilities and other locations prevents the competent Ukrainian authorities and the IAEA from ensuring that safeguards activities can be implemented effectively and safely.

➢ The Conference supports the efforts of the Director General of the IAEA to seek access to enable the IAEA to undertake urgent safeguards activities to verify the status of the reactors and inventories of nuclear material in armed conflict areas, including at the Zaporizhzya nuclear power plant and other locations in Ukraine, and to ensure the non-diversion of nuclear material from peaceful activities at those locations.

➢ The Conference stresses the paramount importance of ensuring control by Ukraine’s competent authorities of nuclear facilities and other locations subject to IAEA safeguards located in armed conflict areas, such as the Zaporizhzya nuclear power plant and other facilities and locations within Ukraine, and of providing access to the IAEA in order to implement safeguards activities effectively and safely for the purpose of ensuring that nuclear material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.

In the resolution in September, titled “The safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine,” the IAEA Board of Governors “[called] upon the Russian Federation to immediately cease all actions against, and at, the [Zaporizhzhia] Nuclear Power Plant and any other nuclear facility in Ukraine … in order for the Agency to fully and safely conduct its safeguards verification activities, in accordance with Ukraine’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.”109 Twenty-six countries voted in favor of the resolution, while China and Russia voted against, and seven countries (including Egypt, India, Pakistan and South Africa,) abstained.



71 IAEA, “Status List: Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements, Additional Protocols and Small Quantities Protocols,” November 28, 2022, hensive-status.pdf. In 2022, the CSAs for Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Palestine entered into force. All of these five countries possess a small amount of nuclear material or do not conduct activities for peaceful use of nuclear energy.

72 IAEA, “Safeguards Statement for 2021,” 2022.

73 GC(66)/RES/10, September 2021.

74 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 is 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. In addition, under the current SQP concluded by Saudi Arabia, the IAEA cannot conduct design information verification of designed and constructed nuclear reactors, which it does under the supplementary arrangements of the CSAs. The IAEA has continued to discuss the issue with Saudi Arabia but the year 2022 ended without progress on amending the country’s safeguards agreement.
75 IAEA, “Safeguards Statement for 2021.”
76 GOV/INF/2022/4-GC(66)/INF/2, August 29, 2022.
77 GOV/2022/40-GC(66)/16, September 7, 2022.

78 Ibid.

79 IAEA, “Safeguards Statement for 2021.”
80 GOV/2022/62, November 10, 2022.

81 Ibid.
82 “Iran Agrees to Install UN Monitoring Cameras at Key Nuclear Sites,” The National News, April 14, 2022,
83 “Iran Nuclear Chief: IAEA Cameras Will Remain Turned off Until JCPOA Fully Restored,” Press TV, July 25, 2022,

84 GOV/2022/62, November 10, 2022.
85 Ibid.

86 “Statement by Iran,” IAEA General Conference, September 26, 2022.
87 GOV/2021/15, February 23, 2021.
88 IAEA, “Joint Statement by HE Mr. Mohammad Eslami, Vice-President and President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and HE Mr. Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” March 5, 2022,

89 Nasser Karimi, “Iran Says it Gave Long-sought Answers to UN Atomic Watchdog,” AP, April 7, 2022, 9abcad76d.
90 GOV/2022/26, May 30, 2022.
91 “Iran Says IAEA Report on Nuclear Material Found at Undeclared Sites Unfair,” RFE/RL, June 1, 2022,

92 “Statement by Iran,” IAEA General Conference, September 26, 2022.
93 GOV/2022/63, November 10, 2022.
94 “IAEA Official Leaves Iran, No Sign of Progress on Uranium Traces,” Iran International, 19 December 2022,
95 IAEA, “Safeguards Statement for 2021.”
96 Ibid.

97 IAEA, “IAEA Director General’s Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors,” March 7, 2022,
98 IAEA, “IAEA Director General’s Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors,” June 6, 2022,
99 GOV/INF/2022/20, September 9, 2022.
100 NPT/CONF.2020/WP.50, December 29, 2021.

101 NPT/CONF.2020/WP.66, July 22, 2022.

102 NPT/CONF.2020/WP.67, July 25, 2022.

103 “Statement by South Africa,” General Debate, NPT RevCon, August 2, 2022.
104 IAEA, “IAEA Director General’s Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors,” June 6, 2022.
105 “At IAEA, China Withdraws Objection on AUKUS Nuke,” The New Indian, October 1, 2022, https://
106 “Statement by the United States,” IAEA Board of Governors, June 9, 2021, https://vienna.usmi; “Statement by the EU,” IAEA Board of Governors, June 7-11, 2021.

107 IAEA, “Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards in Ukraine: Summary Report by the Director General 24 February – 28 April 2022,” p. 23.
108 Ibid., p. 23.

109 GOV/2022/58, September 15, 2022.


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