Brussels, 11 January 2010
Agreement reached on Integrated Safeguards in the European Union
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in cooperation with the European Commission, has reached agreement on arrangements to implement ‘integrated safeguards’ in all non-nuclear weapon States of the European Union with significant nuclear activities.
“This important milestone is the result of the constructive common efforts of all parties concerned. It is a clear signal of the importance attributed by the EU and its Member States, as well as the IAEA, to the reinforcement of the nuclear non-proliferation regime,” said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
“Once we have sufficient confidence that a State’s nuclear activities are purely peaceful, we can apply safeguards measures in a less prescriptive, more customised manner. This reduces the inspection burden on the State and the inspection effort of the IAEA, while enabling the IAEA to maintain the conclusion that all nuclear material has remained in peaceful activities,” said Olli Heinonen, Deputy Director General and Head of IAEA Safeguards Department.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the main international Treaty prohibiting the spread of nuclear weapons. It entrusts the IAEA to verify that nuclear material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices through the application of ‘safeguards’. IAEA safeguards include comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols that enable the IAEA to conclude that all nuclear material has remained in peaceful activities in a State. Integrated Safeguards refers to the optimum combination of all safeguards measures available to the Agency under comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols to achieve maximum effectiveness and efficiency in meeting the Agency’s safeguards obligations.
In the European Union, nuclear safeguards are implemented on the basis of the Euratom Treaty and trilateral agreements between Euratom, its Member States and the IAEA.