IAEA Safeguards: Evolution and Current Status
International Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol. 6(1), Jan-June 2013, pp. 129-146
Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies
This essay seeks to trace the evolution and current status of the safeguards system implemented by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It highlights the changes safeguards have undergone since the Agency’s inception in 1957. Safeguards have historically struck a balance between the twin objectives – of facilitating the spread of nuclear technology for peaceful uses and verification of non-proliferation commitments of NPT state parties – that the IAEA was supposed to fulfil. While some changes in the safeguards took place as a response to the spread of civil nuclear technology, other changes have been a reaction to the challenges posed to the non-proliferation regime from the Iraqi and North Korean disclosures. The essay concludes with an assessment of the changes which took place with the coming of Additional Protocol and provides an assessment of the current status of the safeguards across the globe.