A new initiative launched at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) 64th General Conference this week will help to support countries in the accounting and control of nuclear material, while also enabling the IAEA’s nuclear verification work.
The initiative uses a tailored approach to build on the IAEA’s existing support to States related to safeguards – a series of technical measures to verify that nuclear material is only used for peaceful purposes.
The establishment and upkeep of State Systems of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material (SSAC) set up by State and Regional Authorities (SRAs) form the basis of a State’s reporting to the IAEA on its nuclear material. The new initiative, the IAEA Comprehensive Capacity-Building Initiative for SSACs and SRAs (COMPASS), supports this key part of a State’s safeguards responsibilities.
An SSAC is a set of arrangements to account for and control nuclear material in the State. It can, for example, establish the measurement system for determining the quantities of nuclear material received, produced, shipped, lost or removed from an inventory. This, in turn, provides the basis for applying IAEA safeguards.
During the launch event, a panel of safeguards experts discussed IAEA safeguards and the role of COMPASS in supporting their implementation. The panelists looked at how these customized assistance packages are developed by the IAEA and the State together, following a needs assessment. They also discussed the types of assistance covered by the package, which can range from outreach, training and human resources to technical support and legal and regulatory assistance.
“Over the years, the IAEA has offered States support in safeguards implementation,” said Susan Pickett, Head of the Safeguards Training Section at the IAEA. “What COMPASS does is building on this history of assistance to States and optimizes the provision of various forms of assistance in one package.”
COMPASS will begin with a pilot phase involving a few countries including Guatemala, Malaysia, Rwanda, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Upon successful completion of this pilot phase, the initiative will be made widely available to other States.