What are nuclear safeguards?
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards are a set of technical measures that allow the IAEA to independently verify a State’s legal commitment not to divert nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Pursuant to the IAEA’s Statute, which authorises the IAEA to establish and administer safeguards, States accept the application of such measures through the conclusion of safeguards agreements with the IAEA.
The objective of IAEA safeguards is to deter the spread of nuclear weapons by the early detection of the misuse of nuclear material or technology. This provides credible assurances that States are honouring their legal obligations that nuclear material is being used only for peaceful purposes.
What nuclear material is subject to safeguards?
Nuclear material subject to safeguards includes special fissionable material from which nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices could readily be made (e.g. plutonium-239; uranium-233; uranium enriched in the isotopes 235 or 233) and source material (e.g. natural uranium, depleted uranium or thorium), which cannot be directly used for nuclear weapons. All States are likely to have some nuclear material in their territory. For example, depleted uranium, in which the concentration of uranium-235 is lower than in natural uranium, is often used for non-nuclear purposes, such as shielding for radiation sources in hospitals, industry and agriculture. Radioactive sources that do not contain uranium, plutonium or thorium are not subject to safeguards and need not be reported to the IAEA under a safeguards agreement.
Nuclear safeguards implementation in Singapore
Singapore is a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the National Environment Agency (NEA) is the National Authority for the implementation of obligations under the safeguards agreements.
For more information on nuclear safeguards, you can visit IAEA website here.