Defining Noncompliance: NPT Safeguards Agreements

By John Carlson

The process of determining noncompliance is an important aspect of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system, as well as the only established mechanism for determining noncompliance with the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) itself.

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Anonymous said...

In addition to more narrowly defining compliance under NPT, the source of many of these breaches is the efforts by nuclear state countries, in particular US, to prevent non-nuclear states from enjoyinh their rights under Article IV. Forcing others to cancel contract related to nuclear guel cycle projects and even nuclear reactors.

MWG said...

Carlson states early on that "Surprisingly, . . . there remains no established definition of noncompliance."

This is not quite true. The IAEA Safeguards Glossary ( has a section on non-compliance. Section 2.2 doesn't define non-compliance, but gives several examples:

2.2. Non-compliance

Violation by a State of its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. Examples would be:

(a) Under an INFCIRC/153-type safeguards agreement, the diversion of nuclear material from declared nuclear activities, or the failure to declare nuclear material required to be placed under safeguards;

(b) Under an INFCIRC/66-type safeguards agreement, the diversion of the nuclear material or the misuse of the non-nuclear material, services, equipment, facilities or information specified and placed under safeguards;

(c) Under an additional protocol based on [540], the failure to declare nuclear material, nuclear activities or nuclear related activities required to be declared under Article 2;

(d) Under all types of agreement, violation of the agreed recording and reporting system, obstruction of the activities of IAEA inspectors, interference with the operation of safeguards equipment, or prevention of the IAEA from carrying out its verification activities.

There follow definitions of diversion, misuse, and undeclared nuclear material, activities and facilities.

John Carlson said...

In response to MWG - Examples do not make a coherent definition. Further, the Foreword to the IAEA Safeguards Glossary states the Glossary "has no legal status and is not intended as a basis for adjudicating on problems of definition such as might arise ... in the interpretation of safeguards agreements".