U.S. Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors: Implementation of State-level Safeguards Approaches for States under Integrated Safeguards

View of the boardroom at the IAEA Board of Governors
U.S. Statement as delivered by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Nicole Shampaine
IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Agenda Item 7(c): U.S. Statement on the Director General’s Report: Implementation of State-level Safeguards Approaches for States under Integrated Safeguards – Experience Gained and Lessons Learned
as delivered by U.S. Charge d’Affaires a.i. Nicole Shampaine
Vienna, September 12, 2018

Thank you, Chair.

The United States welcomes the Director General’s clear and concise report on the Implementation of State-level Safeguards Approaches for States under Integrated Safeguards – Experience Gained and Lessons Learned (GOV/2018/20), as well as the Secretariat’s technical briefing for Member States last month on this same matter.  The Director General’s report fully responds to the request by the General Conference to report on the implementation of updated State Level Approaches, or SLAs, for States under integrated safeguards.

We note that this report appropriately focuses on only one important part of the implementation of safeguards at the state level, and for only one group of states.  However, we welcome the Secretariat’s continued efficient progress to implement SLAs in all states, consistent with their respective safeguards undertakings.  This work is as described in the Supplementary Document and fully within the Secretariat’s existing authority to implement safeguards under the Statute, safeguards agreements, and decisions the Board.

Chair:

We are pleased to note that the Secretariat’s report details important gains in the effectiveness of safeguards implementation, especially at headquarters. These include concrete gains in consistency and objectivity; increased analytical rigor; and more uniform, consistent processes and procedures.  The report concludes that the implementation of SLAs under the State Level Concept, or the SLC, has resulted in a more systematic and effective use of objective State-specific factors.  This better enables the Secretariat to continue to draw sound, technically-based safeguards conclusions and to increase confidence that States are abiding by their safeguards obligations.  Such improvements to the effectiveness of safeguards were the primary drivers of the SLC.

While placing paramount importance on the improvements to the effectiveness of safeguards, the United States also shares an interest in identifying efficiency gains that may be achieved without compromising effectiveness.  We therefore welcome the Secretariat’s conclusion that focusing effort and resources on high priority technical objectives has led to a better use of existing Agency resources.  This is imperative as the facilities and nuclear materials under safeguards continue to grow, while the resources available to the Department of Safeguards have remained relatively flat.  This outcome is fully in line with the original intentions of the SLC.  Safeguards effectiveness must never be sacrificed on the alter of efficiency, as that false economy would damage international security.

Chair:

The United States is also pleased that the report demonstrates that the Secretariat is adhering to the important assurances made by the Secretariat and called for by the Policy Making Organs.  For example, the report confirms that the Secretariat, in implementing the SLC:

  • Is not introducing any additional rights or obligations on the part of either States or the Agency, nor does it modify interpretations of existing rights and obligations;
  • Number two is acting within the scope of each individual State’s safeguards agreements;
  • Consults closely with the State and/or regional authority in the development and implementation of SLAs, particularly with regard to in-field safeguards measures; and
  • Finally, it uses safeguards-relevant information only for the purpose of safeguards implementation pursuant to the safeguards agreement in force with a particular State – and not beyond it.

Chair:

The technical nature of this significant effort has naturally raised legitimate questions among Member States.  Some of these questions, such as the cost implications and nature of consultation involved in updating SLAs in states with integrated safeguards, fall within the scope of the DG’s August report.  In our view, the Secretariat has engaged those questions thoughtfully and transparently in the report and associated technical briefings, while stressing that implementation remains in early stages.  Others fall outside the scope of this report.  Some such questions are addressed in the Supplementary Document, which (together with its corrigenda) remains the reference point for implementation of safeguards under the SLC.  For further information, we welcome the Secretariat’s commitment to continue its constructive dialogue with Member States through technical meetings, bilateral consultations, and periodic reporting, including through the annual Safeguards Implementation Report.   We believe that these are valuable channels to keep Member States apprised of further developments in the implementation of SLAs under the SLC.

Chair:

In conclusion, the United States welcomes the Secretariat’s ongoing efforts to continually improve safeguards implementation at the state level, and in particular its efforts to strengthen the IAEA’s capability to detect undeclared nuclear activities.  The United States believes the state-level concept is an essential and logical phase in the evolution of the IAEA safeguards system, necessary for both maintaining and improving the Agency’s capability to fulfill its core verification mandate.

With these observations, the United States is pleased to reiterate its appreciation to the Secretariat, not only for this excellent report, but also for its rigorous, conscientious implementation of the Agency’s safeguards system.

Thank you, Chair.