Accession Number:



Nuclear Safeguards and the International Atomic Energy Agency

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



From the dawn of the nuclear age, nuclear power has been recognized as a dual-use technology. The same nuclear reactions that give bombs the destructive force of many thousands of tons of high explosive can, when harnessed in a controlled fashion, produce energy for peaceful purposes. The challenge for the international nuclear nonproliferation regime-the collection of policies, treaties, and institutions intended to stem the spread of nuclear weapons-is to prevent nuclear proliferation while at the same time permitting nuclear energys peaceful applications to be realized. One of the key institutions involved in meeting these two objectives is the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA, an international organization created in 1957 as a direct outgrowth of president Eisenhowers Atoms for Peace program. The IAEA Statute, which creates the legal framework for the agency, charges it to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health, and prosperity throughout the world. At the same time, it gives the agency the authority to enter into so-called safeguards agreements with individual nations or groups of nations to ensure that nuclear materials, equipment, or facilities are not used to produce nuclear weapons. The IAEAs mission and its safeguards responsibilities were extended with the enactment in 1970 of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons also known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT. The Treaty requires non-nuclear-weapon states that are parties to the accord to enter into safeguards agreements with the IAEA covering all nuclear materials on their territory e.g., uranium and plutonium, whether in forms directly usable for weapons or forms that require additional processing before becoming usable in weapons.

Subject Categories:

  • Nuclear Power Plants and Fission Reactor Engineering
  • Nuclear Weapons

Distribution Statement: