IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
June 3-7, 2013
Safeguards Implementation Report for 2012
The United States welcomes the Secretariat’s findings and conclusions in this year’s Safeguards Implementation Report . As usual, this year’s SIR reports on a number of important issues. We are making separate statements on some of these under other agenda items.
Let me begin by highlighting a number of positive developments from the past year that are reported in the SIR. First, we are pleased to see the continued increase in the number of safeguards agreements in force that give the Agency the necessary legal tools it needs to draw conclusions about the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities. The number of NPT States without a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement in force continues to shrink, and we encourage the remaining states to bring a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement into force without delay.
Second, we applaud the five Member States that brought an Additional Protocol into force in 2012 and the one State that amended its operative Small Quantities Protocol. Moreover, it is positive that the Agency has concluded that all nuclear material remained in peaceful activity in sixty States. We call upon States who have not yet done so to bring an AP into force or modify their Small Quantities Protocol.
Third, we are encouraged by discussions on the development of safeguards approaches for new facilities and the Agency’s contributions to developing tools and guides to facilitate the use of “safeguards by design” principles to incorporate necessary features into facility designs early in the design process. Both the IAEA and the operator will benefit from facility designs that will facilitate safeguards implementation.
Finally, we are pleased to see the continued progress in the technological capabilities of the Agency. These include information system improvements at Headquarters through migration to the new Safeguards Information System, continued deployment of new technologies in the field such as the Next Generation Surveillance System, and several other developments. We are also satisfied with the major improvement of the average sample time analysis through the Network of Analytical Laboratories, as well as the on-schedule and on-budget progress of the Nuclear Material Laboratory at Seibersdorf.
There are several areas where we would like to suggest further improvements. We have commented in the past on the desirability of having more state-specific reporting, and we continue to encourage further development in that direction. In addition, we remain concerned about the continued lack of reporting on the performance of the Agency’s safeguards system in meeting its safeguards objectives. Member States need to fully understand the connection between safeguards activities, the intensity of those activities, and how the Agency achieves its safeguards objectives and draws its conclusions.
While the report is rich in data, these data tend to focus on activities undertaken rather than on the extent to which safeguards objectives are achieved. We understand that the evolution of safeguards implementation toward the greater use of tailored state-level approaches makes it more challenging to evaluate and report systematically on the achievement of safeguards goals. Safeguards implementation is now more varied, and a rigid checklist approach to safeguards assessment is no longer appropriate, but this only increases the need to evaluate on performance. The core objectives of safeguards remain the same for all states with comprehensive safeguards, and should provide the basis for systematic reporting on safeguards performance, which the Board needs in order to understand how effective Agency safeguards are. We recognize that this is a complex ongoing task, and encourage the Secretariat to seek the advice of the Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation (SAGSI) and assistance from Member State Support Programs.
We are also deeply concerned with the sharp drop in the number of complementary access visits performed by the Agency over the last two years. We understand that as part of the evolution of safeguards, the Agency is shifting more safeguards activities to headquarters, and consequently some decrease is to be expected. But we stress that complementary access visits are an essential tool not only for drawing broader conclusions, but also for reassessing and maintaining those conclusions over time. Complementary access visits are a normal and important safeguards activity, not a sign that something is wrong. We urge the Secretariat to make full use of this tool as part of routine safeguards.
We greatly appreciate the assistance that the IAEA has provided with regard to development of a verification agreement for the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement between the United States and Russia. The United States remains committed to the PMDA and working with Russia and the IAEA to develop the associated verification regime.
And, finally Mr. Chairman,
Nuclear power continues to grow worldwide, with a corresponding increase in the Agency’s workload. We commend the Secretariat for its continued effort to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of safeguards implementation through the state-level concept and look forward to the promised report describing the Agency’s efforts to develop state-level approaches and their implementation. The safeguards system needs to be transparent and understandable to Member States. We therefore expect that the information provided in the SIR will evolve along with the evolution of safeguards implementation in order to keep the Member States fully informed.
We are pleased to take note of the SIR and agree with the Secretariat’s request to release of the Safeguards Statement and the Background to the Safeguards Statement and Summary.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.