Foreign Policy Blogs

Crosspost: So how exactly do IAEA Safeguards work?

Crosspost: So how exactly do IAEA Safeguards work?

IAEA Inspectors at Work


My colleague Andreas Persbo, the director of the UK-based VERTIC, has recently highlighted the existence of a very useful resource provided by the IAEA.  The page, which includes a newly-released document entitled Guidance for States Implementing Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements, helps to shed light on the ” how, what, when and why of practical safeguards implementation”.

While some may not find this particularly sexy or thrilling, it is where the rubber meets the road for keeping tabs on nuclear materials and other resources.  Its how the IAEA does it work, down in the weeds, in the dark recesses of nuclear facilities around the world.  In its own words:

“The safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are a central part of international efforts to stem the spread of nuclear weapons. In implementing safeguards, the IAEA plays an instrumental, independent verification role, ensuring that States’ safeguards commitments are being respected….This Guidance is principally intended for State and regional safeguards regulatory authorities and facility operators….[and] addresses the legal obligations of States and the IAEA in the implementation of safeguards agreements and protocols thereto.”

Useful stuff indeed.






Jodi Lieberman

Jodi Lieberman is a veteran of the arms control, nonproliferation, nuclear terrorism and nuclear safety trenches, having worked at the Departments of State, Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has also served in an advisory capacity and as professional staff for several members of Congress in both the House and Senate as well as the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Jodi currently spends her time advocating for science issues and funding as the Senior Government Affairs Specialist at the American Physical Society. The views expressed in her posts are her views based on her professional experience but in way should be construed to represent those of her employer.

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