IAEA Board of Governors: Safeguards Implementation Report for 2016

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

June 12-16, 2017

 

Agenda Item 7(b)

 

Safeguards Implementation Report for 2016

 

U.S. Statement as Delivered by Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Ike Reed

 

 

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

The United States welcomes the Secretariat’s Safeguards Implementation Report for 2016 (SIR). We wish once again to thank DDG Varjoranta and his entire staff for the report and, more importantly, for the essential work of the Safeguards Department over the past year. Strong, professional implementation of a strengthened safeguards system that generates credible conclusions about peaceful nuclear activities in the state as a whole is absolutely essential to the international nonproliferation regime, and therefore international security. The United States salutes your critical work and will not waver in its support of an effective and efficient IAEA safeguards system.

We note in particular that the SIR reports the Agency’s financial resources for safeguards have not kept pace with the growing number of facilities under safeguards or with the increased quantity of nuclear material and other items the Agency is required to monitor. The United States would welcome a more thorough understanding of the Agency’s planning for this resource gap, including further details on the large inspector turnover projected in the next five years. We hope that the Secretariat will take all possible steps to address the potential for knowledge management challenges and inefficiencies resulting from this potential turnover.

Despite these increasingly worrisome financial shortfalls and human resource challenges, there were a number of positive developments from the past year which improve the Secretariat’s abilities to draw sound and credible safeguards conclusions, and maintain these conclusions over time. We commend the IAEA for updating state-level safeguards approaches, or SLAs, for the original group of 53 states that were under integrated safeguards at the start of 2015, as well as for 11 other states. We underscore that the implementation of safeguards at the state level remains fully consistent with the Agency’s legal authorities and relevant decisions of the policy making organs. We view this effort as a key objective for optimizing the effectiveness and efficiency of safeguards at the state-level in a manner that is impartial, objective, transparent, and technically sound, and is not a functional substitute of and AP. The United States also welcomes the Director General’s readiness, as reflected in his opening statement to the Board earlier this week, to report next year on lessons learned and experience gained in implementing SLAs in states with integrated safeguards. Such a report before the Secretariat has accumulated adequate data would be premature

As we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Board’s approval of the Model Additional Protocol this year, we welcome the entry into force of two additional protocols and the modification of two small quantities protocols. We encourage states that have not yet done so to bring a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol into force, and where applicable, modify or rescind their Small Quantities Protocol. The United States stands ready to provide assistance to the Secretariat and other states, at their request, to facilitate the conclusion and entry into force of these agreements.

We also note the increase in complementary access visits and urge the Secretariat to continue to make full use of this tool in support of credible assurances regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities.

The United States also welcomes continued progress made by the Secretariat with regard to the Modernization of Safeguards Information Technology project. We are pleased that this enormous undertaking to develop modern software applications, implement cutting edge tools, and improve performance and information security remains on schedule and on budget.

I would also like to respond to comments made earlier by a previous speaker. We agree that the IAEA Secretariat should draw independent, objective conclusions using impartial and technically credible evaluation methods. These conclusions should be based solely on the Secretariat’s safeguards activities. The IAEA’s right to use “all available information,” including third party information, is supported by the Statute, safeguards agreements, Board and UNSC Resolutions and decisions, and decisions of NPT meetings. The Secretariat assesses such information (open source and third party information) for accuracy, credibility and safeguards relevance. We note that the requirements in the Statute and safeguards agreements related to the protection of information provided by States pursuant to their safeguards obligations may make it challenging for the Secretariat to describe such information in detail to the Board.

For the past decade, the United States has encouraged the IAEA to improve the openness and quality of the Agency’s reporting on safeguards and verification matters in the SIR. While the report provides information on the number of safeguards activities performed over the past year and the conclusions drawn by the Agency, it should also provide Member States with a better understanding of how the safeguards activities and evaluations performed led to the reported conclusions. Member States need to understand that the Agency is applying consistent guidance to plan, execute, and evaluate safeguards designed to achieve consistent levels of effectiveness for similarly situated states. We see as especially key in this regard clear, effective, and consistent internal procedures for State Evaluation Groups and the analysis they undertake in support of safeguards implementation at the state-level.

It is important for the Agency to report not only on its safeguards conclusions and the basis for those conclusions, but also on specific issues that continue to command the Board’s attention, including Iran, the DPRK and Syria. We welcome the DG’s continued reporting on its important monitoring and verification work in Iran. In August 2015, the Board authorized the Director General to implement the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments as set out in the JCPOA, and report accordingly, for the full duration of those commitments in light of the UNSCR 2231.

Mr. Chairman, with these observations we are pleased to take note of the SIR and agree with the Secretariat’s request for release of the Safeguards Statement for 2016 and the Background to the Safeguards Statement and Summary.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.