Additional Protocol Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement

The IAEA and Canada concluded the first safeguards agreement in 1959, and in 1961 the IAEA Board of Governors approved a document setting out the principles of safeguard measures. Since 1961, the scope and application of protective measures have evolved. While some aspects of the Additional Protocol are included in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (monitoring of stockpiles of fissile material from cradle to grave, inspections, information on fuel cycle research), the signing of the Additional Protocol represents the continuation of these monitoring and verification provisions long after the implementation of the comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran. Those who fear that Iran will wait and await to build a bomb after the agreement expires should take solace in improving access to facilities (declared and undeclared) and information provided by the IAEA Additional Protocol on an ongoing basis. It has been fifteen years since the Additional Protocol was approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to address serious deficiencies in IAEA inspections and verifications by improving the IAEA`s ability to detect undeclared nuclear material and undeclared nuclear activities. However, the parties to the NPT have still not reached a consensus that the protocol should be an integral part of their long-standing comprehensive safeguards agreements. In 2015, they are expected to remain divided. Next week, parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will meet in Vienna to begin preparations for a five-year review conference of the Treaty in 2015. One topic of discussion will be how best to generalize the Additional Protocol to Safeguards among the 185 non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty. The IAEA developed State-level approaches for five additional States in 2018, bringing the total number of countries with comprehensive safeguards agreements and an approach developed at the State level to 130.

According to the IAEA in 2018, «these 130 states hold 97% of all nuclear material (after significant quantities) under agency safeguards in states with comprehensive safeguards agreements.» At the end of 1993, the IAEA launched a comprehensive programme to further strengthen the implementation of safeguards under the Partnership Agreements by improving the IAEA`s ability to detect undeclared nuclear material and undeclared nuclear activities. Under the 93+2 programme, measures to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of IAEA safeguards for States with agreements with civil society were presented to the IAEA Board of Governors. In addition to strengthening safeguards through the adoption of the Model Additional Protocol in the late 1990s and 2000s, the IAEA has also developed methods to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of safeguards implementation for States where CSAs and PAs are in force. The IAEA has begun to use a «state-level approach» to comprehensively assess a state`s compliance with security arrangements, rather than on a facility-by-facility basis. It has also begun to publish provisions of «broader conclusions» for States to reduce the burden of implementing protective measures by applying the approach at the State level. Under the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the IAEA safeguards system acts as a confidence-building measure, an early warning mechanism and a trigger that triggers further responses from the international community if necessary. Over the past decade, IAEA safeguards have been strengthened in key areas. These measures are aimed at increasing the likelihood of detecting a secret nuclear weapons programme and at building confidence in States` compliance with international obligations. These agreements allow States to exercise their right under the NPT to peaceful nuclear energy without fear of developing nuclear weapons in violation of the treaty. The good news is that most States have now signed at least one additional protocol.

So far, 115 of the 181 countries that have concluded IAEA safeguards agreements have concluded an additional protocol, and another 23 have signed one but have not yet entered into force. Instead, most States with negligible or non-existent nuclear activities have concluded a so-called small quantities protocol, which exempts them from IAEA inspections. The IAEA began issuing a «broader conclusion» for some states where the CFS and AP were in force, as part of ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of safeguards and reduce costs. Each year, the IAEA must recertify a more complete conclusion and verify that a State`s declaration is both correct and complete. In other words, its nuclear material must be used for peaceful purposes without any evidence of diversion. Safeguards are based on assessments of the accuracy and completeness of a State`s declared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities. Verification measures include on-site inspections, visits, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation. In principle, two packages of measures are implemented in accordance with the nature of the safeguard agreements in force with a State. It is currently inconceivable that established nuclear suppliers would supply nuclear assets to Iran or Syria in the future without an additional protocol in those countries. The United States and other advanced countries are indeed calling for an additional protocol as a condition for the conclusion of new nuclear trade agreements, but for the time being, Australia is alone when it comes to explicitly requiring an additional protocol as a condition of trade in nuclear equipment and materials. Over time, and especially as more States join the ranks of those with an additional protocol, it may be possible to put pressure on the few opponents, especially those with significant nuclear activities, who currently oppose the measure. Iraq, a State party to the NPT, has succeeded in circumventing IAEA security measures by taking advantage of the Agency`s system of limiting its inspection and monitoring activities to facilities or materials specifically declared by each State in its safeguards agreement with the Agency.

To close the «undeclared facilities» loophole, the IAEA has launched a plan to improve security measures known as the «93+2 Program.» The name of the plan indicates that it was designed in 1993 with the intention of being implemented in two years. The Additional Protocol is a legal document granting the IAEA additional inspection powers over and above the authority provided for in the underlying safeguards agreements. One of the main objectives is to enable the IAEA inspectorate to provide assurances on declared and possible undeclared activities. Under the Protocol, the IAEA is granted extensive access rights to information and websites. The IAEA identifies four main processes for the implementation of protective measures. Also in the 1990s, Iran authorized the IAEA to conduct «transparency visits» to a number of sites, which information from member states and open sources suggested could harbor undeclared nuclear activities. These visits, organized in advance by Iran, could not reveal any violation of security measures. In 2003, Tehran agreed to the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, but did not commit to a legal obligation, and the IAEA therefore undertook informal «transparency visits» to Iranian sites. These visits were less effective than the legally binding «complementary access» procedures to the Additional Protocol, as their success depended on Iran`s voluntary cooperation. Comprehensive safeguards agreements1 implemented in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons should confirm that declared nuclear material will continue to operate peacefully. Iraq`s secret nuclear weapons program, discovered in 1991, and subsequent discoveries involving the nuclear programs of other foreign countries, led member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to realize that IAEA inspection needed stronger capabilities to uncover undeclared nuclear activities. In 1992, the IAEA began to implement new measures to strengthen the safeguards system, which the IAEA was empowered to implement under existing comprehensive safeguards agreements.

In 1995, further strengthening measures were proposed, necessitating the approval of new legal regulations. In May 1997, the IAEA Board of Governors approved the Model Protocol in addition to the Agreements between States and IAEA (Additional Protocol). By the end of 2018, 133 of the 181 countries with safeguards agreements had implemented additional protocols. IAEA safeguard measures do not prohibit other bilateral or multilateral safeguard measures […].