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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 38, June 1999

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

Meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, 7-11 June 1999

Editor's note: The 35 Member States on the Board of Governors for 1998-99 are: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Jordan, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Viet Nam.

Summary of Meeting

'Implementation of IAEA Safeguards in 1998,' IAEA Press Release PR 99/6, 17 June 1999

"The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), meeting in Vienna, 7-11 June 1999, reviewed the implementation of IAEA safeguards last year.

In 1998, the IAEA Secretariat concluded that the nuclear material and other items placed under safeguards remained in peaceful nuclear activities or were otherwise adequately accounted for. This conclusion derives from the Secretariat's evaluation of the quantitative and qualitative results of implementing nuclear material verification activities at nuclear facilities and other locations in 68 States (and Taiwan, China). None of these verification activities gave any indication that declared and safeguarded nuclear material had been diverted for any military purpose or for purposes unknown, or that facilities, equipment or non-nuclear material placed under safeguards were being misused.

The Agency, however, is still unable to verify the correctness and completeness of the initial declaration of nuclear material made by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and is therefore unable to conclude that there has been no diversion of nuclear material in the DPRK. The safeguards agreement between the DPRK and the Agency remains binding and in force, and the Agency is continuing to implement safeguards measures in the DPRK. These measures include monitoring the 'freeze' on the DPRK's graphite moderated reactors and related facilities, as requested by the United Nations Security Council and as foreseen in the 'Agreed Framework' concluded in October 1994 between the DPRK and the United States of America.

There was still no progress in technical discussions with the DPRK regarding the preservation by the DPRK of information that the Agency deems necessary for verification of the correctness and completeness of the DPRK's initial declaration. Other issues remain unresolved, including monitoring liquid nuclear waste at the Radiochemical Laboratory (reprocessing plant) in the DPRK, and inspector access to technical support buildings at sites that are subject to the 'freeze'. In addition, the DPRK has not permitted environmental sampling at its sites, including those facilities at which routine inspections are taking place.

In 1998, the Agency continued to make progress in the development and implementation of measures to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of its safeguards system. Work on strengthening the system began in 1991, with the development of safeguards measures to be implemented under the Agency's legal authority conferred by existing safeguards agreements. In May 1997, the Board of Governors approved additional strengthening measures to be implemented under the complementary legal authority conferred by additional protocols to safeguards agreements concluded on the basis of document INFCIRC/540 (hereinafter referred to as the Model Additional Protocol).

Taken together, all of these strengthening measures will give the Agency a more comprehensive information base than it has previously had for providing assurances relating not only to the non-diversion of declared nuclear material and the non-misuse of safeguarded items but also to the absence of any undeclared nuclear material and activities which should have been declared pursuant to States' safeguards agreements with the Agency. Ultimately, the aim of the Agency is to integrate the traditional nuclear material verification activities with the strengthening measures in order to achieve the maximum effectiveness and efficiency within the resources available.

During 1998, the strengthening measures pursuant to existing legal authority were being implemented. Examples of such measures are environmental sampling, remote monitoring, and enhanced evaluation of information about States' nuclear programmes. In 1998, additional protocols concluded on the basis of the Model Additional Protocol entered into force with four States (the Holy See, Jordan, New Zealand and Uzbekistan). Additional protocols with a further 27 States were approved by the Board of Governors and were awaiting ratification by the respective States. The additional protocol with Australia, which entered into force in December 1997, was being implemented.

As of 31 December 1998, additional protocols had been concluded and approved by the Board of Governors with a total of 38 States. Of these, additional protocols with 35 States had been signed, five had entered into force and one was being implemented. Under the complementary authority conferred by additional protocols, the Secretariat evaluated the information that Australia had submitted about its nuclear programme pursuant to Article 2 of its additional protocol. Complementary access visits, including managed access, were carried out at a site in Australia for the purpose of confirming the absence of any undeclared nuclear material or activities. The Secretariat's initial evaluation of the information received and the results currently available from the three access visits to the site in Australia did not indicate the presence of any undeclared nuclear material or activities at the site.

At the end of December 1998, 222 safeguards agreements were in force with 138 States (and Taiwan, China), although over 30 States had still not concluded the requisite safeguards agreement with the Agency. Of safeguards agreements in force 59 States (and Taiwan, China) had declared nuclear activities and were being inspected, the majority pursuant to comprehensive safeguards agreements. In addition, safeguards were being implemented in the four States that have safeguards agreements covering specified nuclear or non-nuclear material, facilities and equipment and in the five nuclear weapon States, which have voluntary offer safeguards agreements with the Agency.

There were 897 nuclear facilities and other locations under Agency safeguards. Of these, 589 were inspected at least once in 1998. A total of 2507 inspections were carried out, requiring 10,071 person-days of inspection effort in the field.

The expenditure from the Safeguards Regular Budget was US $80,807,000. In addition, extrabudgetary funds of US $14,991,000 were contributed by seven Member States. The provision by several Member States of extrabudgetary funds for equipment procurement helped to alleviate shortages of instruments and facilitated the replacement of some obsolete equipment. In the areas of research and development and safeguards implementation support, the Secretariat benefited from the technical support programmes established in Member States and in the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM).

Other Developments

  • Activities in Iraq under United Nations Security Council Resolutions
The Agency's safeguards obligations in Iraq continued to be subsumed in the mandate assigned to it by resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. The implementation of the Agency's monitoring and verification plan in Iraq faced difficulties during the year and was suspended on 16 December. Since then, the Agency has been unable to implement its mandate in Iraq and is unable to provide any measure of assurance about Iraq's compliance with its obligations.
  • Excess Fissile Material
Following the Statement of September 1996 by the Secretary of Energy of the United States, the Minister for Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation and the Director General of the IAEA relating to Agency verification of excess fissile material, technical meetings took place in 1998 in the Russian Federation (Obninsk, March) and in the United States of America (Savannah River Site, August). The Secretariat has continued its work on the preparation of a model verification agreement associated with such verification."

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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