Fundamentals and Good Practices of Safeguards Regulatory Authorities

This publication was submitted to the IAEA and published as INFCIRC/845. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system is the fundamental instrument for ensuring and verifying that non-proliferation commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are met. Under the terms of the IAEA’s comprehensive safeguards agreements based on INFCIRC/153, states are required to “establish and maintain a system of accounting for and control of all nuclear material subject to safeguards under the Agreement”. This system, known commonly as the SSAC (State system of accounting for and control of nuclear material) is a critical component of the architecture for the effective implementation of safeguards. The term SSAC is broad in scope, encompassing the national authority overseeing safeguards implementation, as well as other supporting elements, such as facility operators, operating/accounting records, accounting systems and procedure, etc.
This paper uses a generic term for the governmental authority responsible for overseeing implementation of IAEA safeguards in a State – the ‘Safeguards Regulatory Authority’ (SRA). SRA refers to the authority responsible for safeguards implementation, which may involve more than on entity in the government, a regional entity, or a combination of State and regional entities. The SRA encompasses all of the regulatory authority and governmental bodies responsible for implementing IAEA safeguards requirements in the State.
The SRA is usually the primary interface between the State and IAEA in the IAEA’s implementation of safeguards. A well-designed SSAC with an effectively functioning SRA should facilitate the IAEA’s work in achieving its safeguards objectives as well as serving the needs of government. This is reflected in the basic understandings of APSN’s Statement of Principles, which state that: “it is in the interest of all members that each individual [SSAC] in the region is able to meet its safeguards responsibilities effectively and efficiently.