Friday, 12 December 2014 04:15









The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. It was set up as the world´s "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.

The IAEA Secretariat is headquartered at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria. Its l liaison and regional safeguards offices are located in Geneva, Switzerland; New York, USA; and Toronto, Canada; Tokyo, Japan respectively.

The IAEA Secretariat has a team of 2300 multi-disciplinary professionals and support staff from more than 100 countries. The Agency is led by Director General Yukiya Amano of Japan.

The IAEA's mission is guided by the interests and needs of Member States, strategic plans and the vision embodied in the IAEA Statute. Three main pillars - or areas of work - underpin the IAEA´s mission: Safety and Security; Science and Technology; and Safeguards and Verification.

Role of IAEA

The IAEA verifies that a State is living up to its international commitments of not using nuclear programmes for nuclear-weapons purposes.

The global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other treaties against the spread of nuclear weapons entrust the IAEA as the nuclear inspectorate.

Verification measures

Verification measures include on-site inspections, visits, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Basically, two sets of measures are carried out in accordance with the type of safeguards agreements in force with a State.

• One set relates to verifying State reports of declared nuclear material and activities. These measures – authorized under NPT-type comprehensive safeguards agreements - largely are based on nuclear material accountancy, complemented by containment and surveillance techniques, such as tamper-proof seals and cameras that the IAEA installs at facilities.

• Another set adds measures to strengthen the IAEA’s inspection capabilities. They include those incorporated in what is known as an "Additional Protocol" – this is a legal document complementing comprehensive safeguards agreements. The measures enable the IAEA not only to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material but also to provide assurances as to the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in a State.

The IAEA carries out different types of on-site inspections and visits under comprehensive safeguards agreements.

• Ad hoc inspections typically are made to verify a State´s initial report of nuclear material or reports on changes thereto, and to verify the nuclear material involved in international transfers.

• Routine inspections - The Agency´s right to carry out routine inspections under comprehensive safeguards agreements is limited to those locations within a nuclear facility, or other locations containing nuclear material, through which nuclear material is expected to flow (strategic points).

• Special inspections may be carried out in circumstances according to defined procedures. The IAEA may carry out such inspections if it considers that information made available by the State concerned, including explanations from the State and information obtained from routine inspections, is not adequate for the Agency to fulfil its responsibilities under the safeguards agreement.

• Safeguards visits may be made to declared facilities at appropriate times during the lifecycle for verifying the safeguards relevant design information. For example, such visits may be carried out during construction to determine the completeness of the declared design information; during routine facility operations and following maintenance, to confirm that no modification was made that would allow unreported activities to take place; and during a facility decommissioning, to confirm that sensitive equipment was rendered unusable.