IAEA BoG – U.S. on the Safeguards Implementation Report for 2019

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 6(b): Safeguards Implementation Report for 2019

U.S. statement as delivered by Alternate Permanent Representative Keith Anderton
Vienna, Austria, June 16, 2020

Thank you, Madam Chair,

The United States welcomes the Secretariat’s Safeguards Implementation Report for 2019 (SIR). We wish to thank the Safeguards Department for the report, and for the dedicated, professional effort it reflects. I particularly applaud the work of the Director General, the Deputy Director General, and the entire Safeguards Department in maintaining safeguards operations in the face of the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Madam Chair,

The United States would like to highlight four important topics covered in the SIR.

First, we commend the IAEA’s continued focus on developing and improving internal procedures and guidelines for the implementation of safeguards at the state level. These efforts, which build on lessons learned from recent experience, will further ensure consistency and non-discrimination, as well as improve the effectiveness and optimize the efficiency of safeguards. We look forward to continued implementation of the State Level Concept, and the development of state-level safeguards approaches for all states with safeguards agreements.

Second, we applaud the increased transparency on the performance of state and regional authorities and the effectiveness of systems of accounting for and control of nuclear material, a chronic area of difficulty in safeguards implementation. The additional information explains how these shortcomings impose additional burdens on the Secretariat and reduce safeguards efficiency. In particular, we note the mention of three instances of restricted access, and welcome the information that one case has been resolved, and significant progress has been achieved in the others. We hope the Secretariat will keep the Board apprised as to the status of these issues.

The effectiveness and efficiency of safeguards are critical to ensuring that the Secretariat is able to draw sound and reliable safeguards conclusions. We do not expect that longstanding challenges will be resolved quickly, but we hope the renewed attention will help focus resources, including those of Member States, on efforts to help the Secretariat continue to perform its verification mission effectively.

Third, the United States read the IAEA’s update on business continuity and disaster recovery with renewed interest. These wise investments appear to have paid off in enabling the Department of Safeguards to maintain the continuation of critical business processes and the availability of information during the current pandemic. We remain prepared to support efforts that may be needed to address this or potential future disruptive events.

Finally, I would like to note that safeguards conclusions are neither static nor automatic, including the broader conclusion. These conclusions are factual statements of the results of the Secretariat’s safeguards efforts and are always subject to revisions, as we see in this year’s SIR. We hope that the Secretariat will be similarly forthright as future circumstances may warrant.

Madam Chair,

These are just a few of the important issues raised by the SIR, which is critical for keeping the Board and all Member States informed about the performance of the safeguards systems and about other important developments and trends in safeguards implementation. With these observations, we are pleased to take note of the SIR, and support the recommendation to release both the Safeguards Statement for 2019 and the Background to the Safeguards Statement and Summary.

Thank you Madam Chair.