The independent resource on global security

Safeguarding the Atom: A Critical Appraisal

Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN 0-85066-306-7
243 pp.

Safeguards play a key role in verifying the effectiveness of restraints on the spread of nuclear weapons. This book is a study of the safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency, an important element of the non-proliferation regime. It breaks new ground by focusing on the politics of safeguards, especially the political problems of the IAEA and of the day-to-day application of safeguards. It contains a critical appraisal and proposals for ways of improving existing procedures, and of adapting them to the political and technological changes of recent years.

Safeguarding the Atom gives an analysis of the following questions:

  • What are IAEA safeguards and how do they work?
  • How effective are they?
  • How can they be reinforced?
  • What sanctions can be imposed in the event of non-compliance?

IAEA safeguards represent the world's first and so far only attempt to verify an arms control agreement by systematic on-site inspection, and their applicability to other arms control measures is examined.


Part I. International safeguards

David Fischer

1. Overview

2. The three main elements

3. The political framework and constraints

4. The technical basis

5. The risk of secret nuclear plants

6. Limits to the present approach

7. Problems with safeguards methods

8. Problems with safeguards procedures

9. SAGSI and SIR

10. Regional safeguards systems, EURATOM and Japan

11. Defects of the safeguards documents

12. The IAEA's interfaces with states

13. Trigger lists, the London Club and INFCE

14. New institutions

15. The need for new perceptions

16. IAEA safeguards and arms control


Part II. Sanctions

Paul Szasz

IAEA safeguards: Sanctions


Part III. Conclusions and recommendations

Appendix 1. Facts about the IAEA

Appendix 2. Safeguards techniques and equipment

Appendix 3. Nuclear plants under construction or operating in the developing countries outside Europe (power and research reactors and significant fuel facilities)

Appendix 4. The IAEA safeguards system of 1965-68, INFCIRC/66 Rev. 2

Appendix 5. The IAEA model NPT safeguards agreement of 1971, INFCIRC/153

Appendix 6. Duration and termination of INFCIRC/66 agreements, GOV/1621 of 1973

Appendix 7. The IAEA Inspector's Document of 1961, GC(V)INF/39

Appendix 8. Guidelines for Nuclear Transfers of 1977, INFCIRC/254

Appendix 9. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

Appendix 10. Status of the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and of the NPT safeguards agreements, as of 1 January 1985

Appendix 11. Non-NPT safeguards agreement