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Nuclear Safeguards Education Portal

Purpose, Objective, and Scope of IAEA Safeguards

Photo related to the term with caption below

IAEA Board of Governors meeting.

(Source: Dean Calma/IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is responsible for providing credible assurance to the international community that all states with safeguards agreements are meeting their commitments. The purpose of IAEA Safeguards Systems is to provide this assurance. In order to ensure the technical goals and objectives of IAEA safeguards systems can be implemented, common terms and definitions must be agreed upon. The following will provide the necessary explanation of frequent terms used in connection with safeguards objectives and the scope of applications of safeguards relevant to most safeguards agreements and the additional protocol.

Assurance of non-diversion of nuclear material: The IAEA guarantee that nuclear materials that have been placed under safeguards have remained in use for peaceful uses or have otherwise been accounted for. More.
Assurance of the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities: The IAEA guarantee that nuclear materials have all been declared for and have been used for their intended purpose. More.
Diversion (of nuclear material): The undeclared removal of declared nuclear material from a safeguarded facility, the use of a safeguarded facility in the introduction, production or processing of undeclared nuclear material, or the use of safeguarded material to further any military purpose. More.
Non-compliance: When a State or nation goes into violation of the safeguards agreements made with the IAEA. More.
Objectives of IAEA Safeguards: The objective of IAEA safeguards is to deter the spread of nuclear weapons by early detection of misuse of nuclear material or technology, thereby providing credible assurances that States are honoring their legal obligations. More.
Scope of IAEA safeguards: The Scope of IAEA Safeguards is dependent upon the agreements a state has with the IAEA. States under CSA have committed to IAEA safeguards on "all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of the State, under its jurisdiction or carried out under its control anywhere." More.
Undeclared activities: Activities that are nuclear related that have not been declared to the IAEA by a State, but is required to do so due to its safeguard or additional protocol agreements. More.
Undeclared nuclear material: Nuclear material that has been unaccounted for to the IAEA. More.