IAEA Inspections for Undeclared and Declared Activities: Is a More Robust Approach Needed?

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The United States has long supported a strong international safeguards system and for many years has served as the foremost supplier of technology, equipment, and training to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In doing so, it drew in many instances on DOE sponsored R&D and training that was directed towards domestic safeguards and then adapted for IAEA purposes. This was relatively straightforward because of the strong overlap between the development of nuclear material accountancy measures needed for both domestic and international purposes. Two factors have emerged that have made this strong reliance on domestic measures less and less able ... continued below

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Schanfein, Mark July 1, 2009.

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The United States has long supported a strong international safeguards system and for many years has served as the foremost supplier of technology, equipment, and training to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In doing so, it drew in many instances on DOE sponsored R&D and training that was directed towards domestic safeguards and then adapted for IAEA purposes. This was relatively straightforward because of the strong overlap between the development of nuclear material accountancy measures needed for both domestic and international purposes. Two factors have emerged that have made this strong reliance on domestic measures less and less able to be a source of support for the IAEA. One is the shift by the IAEA safeguards system towards detecting undeclared activities. The second is the shift of domestic attention away from nuclear material accountancy and towards physical protection. As a result, a gap in US sponsored R&D and training relevant to international safeguards has developed. The NNSA Next Generation Safeguards Initiative and the DOE NA-22 Safeguards R&D program are intended to help fill this gap and, thereby, permit the U.S. to remain as the pre-eminent supplier of technology for international safeguards purposes. In this context, IAEA challenges have been examined from the perspective of detecting the diversion of nuclear material from declared stocks; detecting undeclared production of nuclear material and activities at locations declared under INFCIRC/153; and detecting undeclared nuclear material and activities elsewhere in a state. Of these, the detection of undeclared nuclear material and activities is, perhaps, the IAEA’s most significant challenge. It is a challenge that even the international community finds difficult to meet because of the scope and the geographic scale of the problem, the technical constraints, the knowledge required, and the significant resources needed to deploy effective systems world-wide (e.g., satellite surveillance systems). The IAEA’s success in carrying out this mission hinges on its capability to evaluate the declarations made by the state for completeness, correctness, and consistency in order to detect possible indications of undeclared nuclear material and activities. Three elements go into this evaluation: (1) evaluating the internal consistency of a State’s declaration and comparing it to information gathered by IAEA inspectors on the basis of their access to the locations, facilities, sites, personnel, and documents disclosed in the state’s declarations; (2) comparison of States’ declarations with other information available to the IAEA, including the information it gathers from its review of open sources, including scientific and technical literature and data bases, trade journals, and media reports; and (3) its ability to archive, retrieve, organize, and analyze all available information for indications of potential undeclared nuclear material and activities, and, when warranted, to request states to provide further information and access in order to investigate and clarify any questions or inconsistencies.

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  • Institute of Nuclear Materials Management,Tucson, AZ,07/12/2009,07/16/2009

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-09-16105
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 962434
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc932704

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • July 1, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 21, 2016, 4:43 p.m.

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Schanfein, Mark. IAEA Inspections for Undeclared and Declared Activities: Is a More Robust Approach Needed?, article, July 1, 2009; [Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc932704/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.