Asan Plenum

Changing IAEA Safeguards System and the role of SSAC

Comprehensive safeguards agreement between the IAEA and the State (INFCIRC/153) requires for the state to establish and maintain a “state’s system of accounting for and control of nuclear material (SSAC)” to provide the essential basis for the application of IAEA safeguards. The basic role of SSAC is to report on the nuclear material in a state regularly and to provide support for the IAEA’s verification activities.

In order for the optimal combination of the “effectiveness and efficiency”, IAEA has applied the Integrated Safeguards (IS) to the State who accepted IAEA’s strengthened safeguards system (Additional Protocol) and got the “broader conclusion” for the last decade. In Korea, IAEA has applied the IS since 2008.

There seem to be three key elements for the successful implementation of the IS; 1) broader application of the information (open source information, satellite imagery analysis and other means such as complementary access along with the conventional accounting information of the nuclear material), 2) introduction of new technology for material accountancy and 3) enhanced cooperation with the SSAC.

As an SSAC side, the new safeguards system of the IAEA may be interpreted as a new burden to the SSAC. Typical examples are as follows;
1. The SSAC should provide expanded declaration on many activities and materials not under the conventional safeguards (Additional Protocol) and needs to answer for the questions obtained from other sources (either voluntarily or pursuant to the Additional Protocol).
2. For the application of new technology, IAEA needs support from the SSAC. A mail-box declaration for the Short Notice Random Inspection (SNRI) and for the Unattended Monitoring System (UMS) everyday is one of the typical examples.
3. Enhanced cooperation needs additional resources in some cases (e.g., cost sharing).

On the other hand, the new system also gives a chance for the SSAC to increase the transparency of the nuclear activities and to strengthen the control of nuclear material in a state in terms of national security. It may also give a chance to expand the role of SSAC in the international community.