Status: Open

The Security Index Occasional Paper Series Came Out With The New Report “The IAEA Safeguards System At The Present Stage And Risk Assessment Of Its Politicization” By Savva Nikulin

February 18, 2022

MOSCOW. FEBRUARY 18, 2022. PIR PRESS. The Security Index Occasional Paper Series came out with the new report “The IAEA safeguards system at the present stage and risk assessment of its politicization” by Savva Nikulin.

The IAEA safeguards system plays an increasing role every year both in ensuring international security and in the development of peaceful nuclear energy in the world. The goal of this research paper is to analyze the evolution of the IAEA safeguards system, its goals and principles in relation to the State-Level Concept, to identify the phenomenon of politicization of IAEA safeguards and a comprehensive analysis of existing precedents of this process.

Key findings:

  • The transition from the Facility-level concept of the IAEA safeguards to the State-level concept (SLC)  is being completed. The essence of the changes is to optimize the mechanism of safeguards application taking into account the specifics of each state.
  • The most important part of the IAEA’s activities during this period should be the work on specifying the essential provisions of the SLC and taking measures to prevent the Agency from being used as a political instrument by any parties.
  • It is necessary to specify the so-called country-specific factors and adopt the transparency policy proposed by the Russian side with regard to the information obtained by the Agency, on the basis of which individual approaches are developed at the state level.
  • The phenomenon of politicization of the IAEA safeguards can be easily traced by comparing the Agency’s response to cases of safeguards non-compliance in Iran and Egypt, the Republic of Korea and Japan, when, given very similar inputs, in one case the Agency’s response was very harsh and tough, while in another one the IAEA took an extremely loyal position, virtually accepting the extremely controversial statements of the governments as an article of faith.
  • The absence of a clearly defined procedure for recognizing a state as not complying with its safeguards obligations and regulating further steps depending on the particular situation leads to the fact that the Agency possesses virtually unlimited right to use any formulation when making resolutions on a particular state, which can entail unpleasant consequences.

Read the paper (in Russian)