The 1957 Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) provides the fundamental basis for the establishment of international safeguards which today have become grounded within the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), regional Nuclear Weapons Free Zones (NWFZs), multilateral trading guidelines and bilateral arrangements. This safeguards system has evolved greatly over the years from the ‘item-specific’ approach of the 1960s to one that is becoming increasingly ‘integrated’ and ‘state-level,’ applying to all nuclear material in the State as a whole. The Nuclear Safeguards program focuses on this evolving ecosystem of safeguards and engages with industry, regulators, and international organizations to understand how obligations impact reporting and accountancy controls related to the production and trade of nuclear materials and technology.
The program strengthens nuclear materials security by focusing on the materials that have historically fallen outside of international control, namely source materials such as natural uranium and emerging back-end facilities for which safeguards are being – or still need to be – developed. Through working groups and workshops, the program engages national and international experts to understand gaps in the safeguards ecosystem, identifying areas, best practices and emerging technologies for strengthened and more efficient implementation. On emerging technologies, the program focuses primarily on blockchain and distributed ledger technologies in the management of safeguards information and export controls.
From in-depth analysis of historical archives to contemporary case studies, the program seeks to provide research-based results for both newcomers and long-time nuclear suppliers and consumers as they develop nationally-appropriate regulatory systems and continue to update their governance approaches to ensure compliance with global non-proliferation commitments. The program studies the challenges and benefits of front-end and back-end safeguards and their relation to the potential proliferation risk. It will identify best practices and makes recommendations to address policy gaps and strengthen effective implementation.
The interactive Governing Uranium website, developed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) http://uranium.csis.org/ will continue to be updated and serve as a useful resource for states, industry, and civil society on the international obligations that accompany global uranium production and trade, as well as those related to the storage and disposal of used nuclear fuel.