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Reading Material On Nonproliferation

  Compiled and edited by
Joachim Gruber


I. Lawrence Scheinman: The International Atomic Energy Agency And World Nuclear Order -

II. David Kay: Iraq and Beyond: Future Nonproliferation Inspection Challenges

III. George MacLean: New Directions for Fissile Material Cutoff

IV. Center for Nonproliferation Studies:

  1. The Nonproliferation Briefing Book
  2. Second Tier Proliferation: The Case of Pakistan and North Korea
  3. more ...

V. Leonard S. Spector:

  1. Nuclear Proliferation Today 1984
    1. Pakistan
    2. Iraq
  2. The New Nuclear Nations 1985
    1. Nuclear Netherworlds
    2. Asia
VI. J. Radkau: Die Kontroverse um den "Atomsperrvertrag"(NPT) in Deutschland:
Reale und vorgeschobene Interessen der zivilen Kerntechnik

VII. J. Gruber: A Light Water Reactor power economy lacks proliferation resistance

VIII. Selected Data

IX. B. Cameron Reed, Feasibility of a Low-Yield Gun-Type Terrorist Fission Bomb (in cache), Federation of American Scientists, Summer 2014 Public Interest Report, Volume 67 Number 3 (2014)

Table 1: Adopted and calculated parameters and yield for a simple gun-type fission weapon, assuming a 40-kg core of U-235.
Motivated by Friedman and Lewis's scenario, I consider the feasibility of an extremely crude gun-type U-235 device configured to be transported in a pickup truck or similar light vehicle. My concern is not with the difficulties perpetrators might face in acquiring fissile material and clandestinely preparing their device, but rather with the results they might achieve if they can do so. The results reported here are based on the basic physics of fission weapons as laid out in a series of pedagogical papers that I have published elsewhere.10 The essential configuration and expected yield of the device proposed is described ...

... The core and a plug of tamper material are to be propelled down an artillery tube into a cylindrical tamper case such that the core will be located in the middle of the case once assembly is complete; the assembled core-plus-tamper is assumed to be of diameter and length Ltamp. The choice of tamper material is a crucial consideration; it can seriously affect the predicted yield. In the case of Little Boy, readily-available tungsten-carbide (WC) was employed. Beryllium oxide (BeO) has more desirable neutron-reflective properties, but is expensive and its dust is carcinogenic; more importantly, an effort to acquire hundreds of kilograms of it is likely to bring unwanted attention. I report results for both WC and BeO tampers."

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Resources for the Future, Washington, DC

Published by Resources for the Future Washington, D.C. Distributed by  The  Johns Hopkins  University Press, Baltimore
Copyright 1987 Resources for the Future
Printed in the United States of America
Published by Resources for the Future, Inc. 1616 P Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
Books from Resources for the Future are distributed worldwide by The Johns Hopkins University Press
Libratry  of  Congress  Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Scheinman, Lawrence.
The International Atomic Energy Agency and world nuclear order.
Includes index.
1. International Atomic Energy Agency. 2. Nuclear energy Government policy
United States. 3. Nuclear nonproliferation. 1. Tide.
QC770.I4962S34 1987 333.79'26'061 87 42832
ISBN 0 915707 35 7 (alk. paper)
ISBN 0 915707 36 5

For more than a quarter of a century the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has had a leading responsibility in national and international efforts to stem the spread of nuclear weapons and to prevent the misuse of facilities and materials intended for civil nuclear purposes. The singular importance of the IAEA was demonstrated when the agency served as a forum for the international assessment of the causes and consequences of the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl. This volume critically assesses the structure and functions of the IAEA, identifies key issues confronting the agency today, and offers recommendations for dealing with the challenges it faces. The author identifies four ways through which the agency could be strengthened:
  • More effective leadership roles for its most important members, particularly the United States
  • increased political, financial, technical, and human support for the safeguard functions of the agency
  • greater efforts to prevent the agency from becoming suffused with extraneous and polarizing political issues
  • balancing of advanced country interests in safeguards and developing country interests in enhanced availability of technical assistance
Policymakers and professionals in the nuclear energy arena; students of international relations; and all who are concerned about nuclear safety, the spread of nuclear weapons, and the continuing growth of nuclear energy will find this book of great interest.

Dr. Lawrence Scheinman is a Distinguished Professor of the CNS office in Washington, D.C. Most recently, Dr. Scheinman was the Assistant Director for Nonproliferation and Regional Arms Control of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA). Prior to that, Dr. Scheinman served as Counselor for Nonproliferation in the Department of Energy, on leave from his position as Professor of Government (International Law and Relations), and Associate Director, Peace Studies Program at Cornell University. He has previously been a tenured member of the faculties of political science at UCLA and the University of Michigan from which he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. He also holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law and is a member of the Bar of the State of New York.
Dr. Scheinman specializes in international law and relations.

Dr. Scheinman has published extensively in the fields of nonproliferation, arms control and international nuclear cooperation. His books and monographs include

  • Atomic Energy Policy in France Under the Fourth Republic (Princeton University Press, 1965);
  • EURATOM: Nuclear Integration in Europe (Carnegie Endowment, 1967);
  • The Nonproliferation Role of the International Atomic Energy Agency: A Critical Assessment (Resources for the Future, 1985);
  • The IAEA and World Nuclear Order (Resources for the Future, 1987);
  • Non-Proliferation and the IAEA: A US-Soviet Agenda (Atlantic Council of the United States, 1985);
  • Assuring the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Safeguards System (Atlantic Council of the United States, 1992);
  • Publications with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Montery Institute of International Studies.

Chapter 6
Nuclear Policies in Transition

pages 176 - 205

Transfer of Sensitive Nuclear Technology to the Third World

The projected transfer to several Third World states of facilities and technology that could provide direct access to weapons usable material intensified the already existing concern about the adequacy and effectiveness of the nonproliferation regime. The potential recipient  South Korea, Taiwan, Pakistan, and Brazil  all lacked nuclear power programs that were sufficiently large or technically advanced to offer any economic or technological justification for the acquisition of advanced technologies such as reprocessing, or for access to separated plutonium. Moreover, with the exception of Brazil, they all were located in unstable regions, were politically and militarily vulnerable, and were suspected of having an interest in nuclear weapons or at least a nuclear weapons option  a suspicion ultimately confirmed in more than one case and still very much alive with respect to Pakistan (6).

Unlike the Indian case, there was no question about restrictions on the use or application of safeguards in these countries. The intended supplier, France, had included clear limitations on use and imposed rigorous safeguards. Rather, the issue was whether such facilities should be exported in the first place, and whether the safeguards would be sufficient not only to detect, but to prevent, any diversion that might be attempted. These reasonable concerns signaled the first of many occasions when differences would arise over the capability of safeguards to provide adequate protection against the risk of diversion, and when confusion would emerge, the scope and purpose of in ternational safeguards (7).

By 1976, U.S. diplomatic effort had brought about the cancellation of Taiwanese and South Korean plans to acquire reprocessing facilities. Similar efforts in Pakistan were less successful, even in the face of the U.S. cancellation of military and economic assistance to Pakistan for several years (which was, however, partly neutralized by new assistance from other Western states). Moreover, neither Canadian cancellation of nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, affecting Pakistan's only nuclear power reactor, nor eventual French suspension of assistance to Pakistan on the reprocessing plant, was sufficient to deter Pakistan from continuing efforts to acquire a reprocessing, and later an enrichment, capability (8). Nor was the United States able to influence the proposed transfer of reprocessing and enrichment technology under very rigorous safeguards by the Federal Republic of Germany to Brazil, a non NPT state (9). All of the events only served to deepen concerns about nonproliferation, the adequacy of the, regime, and international security.

Proposed U.S. Reactor Sales to Egypt and Israel

The U.S. proposal to sell nuclear power reactors to Egypt and Israel arose out of a peace mission by President Richard Nixon to the Middle East just weeks after the Indian explosion. The announcement of the offer, which apparently was made with little, if any, prior planning, created a sense of anxiety in some quarters in the United States, particularly in Congress (10). With the Indian incident fresh in mind, questions were raised as to whether bilateral agreements guaranteeing peaceful use could be relied upon over the longer term, especially, in circumstances involving states with a long history of conflict and unstable relations. There was also doubt about whether the reactors might not eventually be used to help acquire nuclear weapons. These concerns were heightened because neither Egypt nor Israel, like India, were parties to the NPT and because neither treaty adherence nor full scope safeguards were being made a condition of cooperation. The reliability of international safeguards arrangements was also called into question in ways that suggested some confusion over the role and purpose of nonproliferation safeguards. Thus, both the risk of unilateral abrogation of commitments and the absence of punitive measures to deal with such an incident often were lumped together with questions about safeguards adequacy. More discerning questions about safeguards effectiveness, particularly in relation to sensitive technology and facilities, were to emerge later in relation to the French and German fuel cycle sales just noted.

Coming as it did in the wake of Vietnam and the midst of the Watergate crisis, both of which had severely shaken confidence in the executive branch of government, President Nixon's nuclear initiative impelled Congress to seek to strengthen its role in the nuclear decision making process. Accordingly, Congress amended the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to require that any pro~ international agreements for peaceful nuclear cooperation involving reactors larger than five megawatts be submitted to Congress for sixty days of continuous session during which time Congress could disapprove the agreement by concurrent resolution. The measure was signed into law by President Gerald Ford in October 1974 (11). This was to be only the first of several steps designed by Congress to strengthen its role in nuclear nonproliferation policy (12). The important point for our purpose is that Congress became restive with routine negotiation of  agreements and despite the existence of the joint Committee on Atomic Energy sought  to open these to broader scrutiny. (13).


In discussing nonproliferation, emphasis inevitably must be given to the importance of the United States. Almost every significant nonproliferation initiative has originated with the United States, beginning with the Baruch Plan and including Atoms for Peace, the instituting of the principle of verification safeguards, the creation of the IAEA, and promotion of the NPT. The U.S. role continued to be central in the aftermath of the Indian explosion and the revelation of the agreements for the transfer of sensitive nuclear technologies to developing countries with limited nuclear  power  programs.

The pattern of events described above did not conform with the United States' initial expectations in promoting the peaceful atom: it was different, it was worrisome, and it was deemed to require some kind of response if further erosion of the status quo was to he avoided. The development of nuclear power under the nonproliferation regime brought with it a conventional wisdom on nuclear fuel cycle development and a set of expectations regarding the pace and character of evolving industrial nuclear programs. It was widely expected that at  a certain threshold point in nuclear power development, reprocessing of discharged fuel to recover its residual energy value in the form of plutonium and unburnt  uranium would be appropriate and necessary, as would the  development  of advanced reactors that would yield greater efficiencies in nuclear use, in particular breeder reactors. This expectation was predicated largely on a belief in the limited availability of accessible and economic uranium that could be exhausted by a rapidly  expanding demand for nuclear energy. These expectations were based on widely shared assumptions and projections about  rising demand for electricity.

Although not stated explicitly, it was logically assumed that the development of advanced fuel cycle activities would initially take place in the leading nuclear industrial states and not in developing countries that, to the extent they were involved at all, were for the most part only in the beginning stages of nuclear development. Indeed, whatever ultimate expectations the United States and other suppliers may have had during the 1950s and 1960s about the geographic reach of advanced nuclear technology, it is likely that their field of vision (at least for extensive applications of nuclear power) was largely bounded by the industrial world and perhaps several unusually advanced (scientifically) developing countries such as India. It is probable that while anticipating progressive expansion of nuclear energy into all regions of the world, there was little expectation of near term demands (except possibly from India) for the more sophisticated or dangerous nuclear technologies from the developing countries (because they could serve no logical use at that stage of the countries' nuclear development), and a belief that there was a relatively good fit between the controls being deployed and the reliability and stability of the most likely importing countries.

This is not to say that an eventual broad dissemination of nuclear power related activity was not anticipated. Quite the contrary. In 1973, the IAEA had conducted a market survey of nuclear power estimates in fourteen developing countries. That survey suggested that between 52,000 and 62,000 MW(e) of nuclear plant capacity might be put into operation in those countries by1990 (14).

Though excessively optimistic, and subsequently challenged by other analyses on economic, technological, and industrial infrastructure grounds,` the IAEA survey nevertheless reflected the accepted view that a number of developing countries would soon begin to enter the nuclear power age, if only modestly. What was not contemplated was that some of these countries would be able to use the emerging liberal trade market to acquire the means to produce weapons usable material without regard to the logic of that effort to their plans for nuclear power development.

The partial unraveling of what had been up to then a rather disciplined and well controlled system of international nuclear cooperation was due to several factors.

  1. One was the change in the structure of the nuclear marketplace that was marked by the appearance of other nuclear suppliers competing with the United States; these suppliers, while not indifferent to nonproliferation, nevertheless had different views on what constituted necessary and adequate controls. They were sometimes guided more by commercial considerations than by hypotheses on long term risk of nuclear technology dissemination. Some tended to take as sufficient the safeguarded peaceful assurances that they received regarding intended use of transferred technologies or facilities, whereas in similar circumstances, the United States might be less prepared to settle for such assurances. This factor was only partly subject to U.S. control (16).
  2. A second and related factor that was very much subject to U.S. control was the decline of U.S. predominance in enriched uranium supply. The United States enjoyed a virtual monopoly in furnishing power reactor fuel as of the early 1970s. But a decision by the Nixon administration to put enrichment services on a commercial footing and to turn enrichment production over to the private sector undercut the ability of the United States to maintain its market position. In 1972, the United States changed its conditions for contracting enrichment services from a system of "requirements" to one of "fixed commitments," which also involved substantial prepayment by customers. This had a very unsettling effect on the market and also generated inordinate demand as domestic and foreign customers sought to ensure themselves adequate supplies. The U.S. enrichment capacity remained constant and became progressively saturated as the internal battle to achieve privatization proceeded. Under law, it was prohibited to undertake enrichment contract services beyond a stipulated capacity. As a result, the United States no longer was in a position to enter new contracts for enrichment by 1974.
  3. In July 1974, the United States announced that it was suspending the signing of any new enrichment contracts and was closing its order books. Among other things, this left a large number of potential customers in limbo, created a crisis of confidence in the reliability of the United States as a nuclear fuel supplier, and served to affirm and consolidate plans elsewhere to develop enrichment capacity. The net result was that the United States lost the predominance it had enjoyed in the nuclear fuel market, and faced the spread of technologies that it had labored hard to keep limited. Further, important elements of the structure, upon which nonproliferation was based had been weakened. It was a matter of domestic political priorities getting in the way of international interests and, in retrospect, a classic case of shooting oneself in the foot."

Contrary to some of the views expressed during the course of the nonproliferation debate of the last ten years, U.S. export and cooperation policy always had dealt circumspectly with the issue of dangerous fuel cycle technologies. The United States has never supplied uranium enrichment technology, although it did propose sharing it with an appropriate multinational venture in the early 1970s when confronted with the reality that some of its European allies were planning to proceed with their own enrichment plans (18). When the members of the URENCO gas centrifuge enrichment consortium (the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the Federal Republic of Germany) first began discussing a joint arrangement in the early 1960s, however, the United States had prevailed on them to place their activities under strict secrecy to avoid the risk of unnecessary dissemination of a technology bearing high risk for nuclear proliferation.

As for reprocessing and plutonium fabrication technology, U.S. bilateral agreements for cooperation had provisions contemplating eventual reprocessing under specified terms, conditions, and limitations. It was France, not the United States, that first published technical information on reprocessing technology. U.S. information sharing was in a real sense provoked by the French initiative at the 1955 Geneva Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, after which the United States began to publish technical reprocessing information. It did not, however, share industrial know how or transfer hardware or facilities. The only instance of actual sharing related to the joint EUROCHEMIC venture (a creation of the European Nuclear Energy Agency, the nuclear arm of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development), which was modestly assisted in the hope that any commercial reprocessing activity that might develop on the European continent would be multinationalized and thereby avoid wide dispersion of nationally owned and controlled facilities.

In 1972, after the NPT had come into force, but prior to the Indian test and the revelation of France's contracts with South Korea and Pakistan, the United States revised its internal rules to tighten the conditions under which any private U.S. individual or concern could assist in the development of reprocessing capability abroad. Any such assistance was made contingent on explicit authorization by the executive branch (at first the chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, later the administrator of the Energy Research and Development Administration, and now, 1987, the secretary of energy), and criteria for evaluating whether to grant such approval were established, namely the NPT status of the potential recipient and whether the facility would be under multinational auspices (19). The intent was to hold out the possibility for U.S. cooperation in reprocessing as leverage to encourage countries to join the NPT, and to encourage others to seriously consider joint ventures in reprocessing in lieu of establishing independent facilities. Thus, serious and sustained efforts to control the risk of proliferation while advancing the cause of peaceful atomic energy lay in the background of the unsettling events. of 1974 and 1975.


Since 1974, discussion, debate, and policies on nonproliferation have been dominated by two interdependent themes 
  1. the meaning of proliferation and
  2. the extent to which it is prudent to rely on pledges verified by international safeguards for achieving the objective of nonproliferation.
To a large extent, this has been a debate between the United States and other countries, but within the United States, it has sometimes been reflected in differing views of the executive and legislative branches of government.

The NPT, which is the juridical and political centerpiece of the nonproliferation regime, defines proliferation in terms of possession of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices, and obliges its signatories to neither transfer nor receive, manufacture, or acquire such devices. The scope of the undertaking that non nuclear weapon state parties understood themselves to be adopting is reflected in a note transmitted to the United States by the Federal Republic of Germany when the latter signed the NPT.

The Bonn government emphasized its understanding that beyond preventing acquisition of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, in no case would the provisions of the treaty "lead to restricting the use of nuclear energy for other purposes by non nuclear weapon states."

In particular it said:

... no nuclear activities in the fields of research, development, manufacture or use for peaceful purposes are prohibited nor can the transfer of  information, materials and equipment be denied to non nuclear weapon states merely on the basis of allegations that such activities or transfers could be  used for the  manufacture  of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. (20).

There is nothing in the record to indicate a contrary understanding on the part of the United States at the time.

Nevertheless, the meaning of proliferation has been changing in the public debate ever since 1974. Critics concerned about the implications of the trend of spreading nuclear technology have sought to focus public attention on the risk that under safeguards, increasing numbers of countries with nuclear power programs would come close to nuclear explosives without actually violating their commitments not to produce them, especially if they legitimately could have separated plutonium or the facilities to produce it. They have argued that traditional assumptions of Atoms for Peace needed to be reconsidered if a situation described by Albert Wohlstetter as "a legitimate but Damoclean  'overhang' " was to be avoided. Failure to do so, it was argued, would lead to living in a "nuclear armed crowd."(21)

Such analyses, which already had the sympathetic ear of some officials in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, gave a new argument to public interest groups already wary of nuclear power to urge a thorough review of the United States' nuclear cooperation and control policies, These pressures, coupled with the shock  of the Indian nuclear test and the other events of the mid 1970s, provoked Congress into a series of  hearings aimed at evaluating the soundness of the rules and arrangements for nuclear cooperation  then in effect and at tightening related policies and procedures. This evoked the second theme of the  post1974 era, the extent to which international nuclear cooperation  consistent with the avoidance of  proliferation  could reasonably depend on a safeguards based nonproliferation regime to provide  adequate nonproliferation assurance, or whether other measures  including more restrictions on trade  and cooperation  were needed.

The Legislative Response

The evolution of the definition of proliferation, at least from the congressional point of view, can be traced through legislation culminating in the Nuclear Non Proliferation Act of 1978 (NNPA). Among the more important predecessors were the Symington and Glenn amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Both measures defined activities deemed to warrant punitive measures on the part of the United States. The amendments implied an expanded definition of proliferation. Under their terms, proliferation included not only the detonation of a nuclear explosive device, but also the acquisition of the capability to produce weapons usable material even though such activities might also serve peaceful nuclear ends.

In 1976, the Symington amendment (22) provided for a cutoff of economic and military assistance to any country that imported or exported reprocessing or enrichment materials, equipment, or technology unless it agreed to place all such items under multilateral auspices and management when available, and the recipient accepted IAEA safeguards on all of its nuclear fuel and facilities, that is, fullscope safeguards.

The Glenn amendment of 1977 (23) reaffirmed the provisions of the Symington amendment with regard to uranium enrichment, but treated reprocessing differently.

Both amendments provided for presidential waiver of the cutoff.

  1. Under the tougher Symington amendment, the president could waive cutoff if he certified in writing to the speaker of the House of Representatives and to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the termination of aid "would have serious adverse effect on vital United States interests" and that "he has received reliable assurances that the country in question will not acquire or develop nuclear weapons. . . ."
  2. Waiver under the Glenn amendment only requires that the president determine and certify in writing that termination "would be seriously prejudicial to achievement of United States nonproliferation objectives or would otherwise seriously jeopardize the common defense and security."
The gravity of the behavior was not altered by these provisions, but they enabled the president to evaluate behavior in terms of nonproliferation objectives and national interest.

U.S. assistance to Pakistan was suspended in September 1977, under the terms of the Glenn amendment because of Pakistan's continued effort to acquire a reprocessing plant under its agreement with France. French suspension of cooperation on reprocessing with Pakistan in the summer of 1978 resulted in restoration of U.S. aid. In the spring of 1979, the United States once again terminated assistance, this time formally under the Symington amendment because of Pakistan's persistence in seeking to complete an indigenous enrichment facility at Kahuta.

The subsequent Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in December 1979 led President Jimmy Carter to offer to resume and even increase military assistance to Pakistan as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to Pakistan's national security and its opposition to the Soviet presence in Afghanistan even though Pakistani nuclear activity made it difficult, if not impossible, to exercise a presidential waiver. The question of the scope and magnitude of assistance dragged on into the early months of the Reagan administration and finally was settled in the form of a proposed $3.2 billion aid package, including state of the art F 16 aircraft, over a period of five years. In arguing for the proposed aid package before Congress, administration spokesmen indicated that Pakistan had pledged not to develop nuclear weapons (24)  and that the administration had made unequivocally clear to Pakistan that aid would be terminated should that country conduct a nuclear test (25). In authorizing implementation of the aid program, Congress further tightened the Symington' and Glenn amendments by inserting a provision requiring termination of aid if Pakistan received or transferred a nuclear explosive device or conducted a nuclear test, and by adding a congressional veto by concurrent resolution of a presidential decision to continue aid in the context of a violation of nonproliferation conditions (26).

The Nuclear Non Proliferation Act of 1978 (NNPA) is the most comprehensive and important legislation on peaceful nuclear cooperation and nonproliferation since the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which initially opened the door to cooperation and exports under Atoms for Peace.

  1. It contains many of the conditions and criteria that govern U.S. peaceful nuclear cooperation and exports and establishes the statutory framework for executive branch policies.
  2. The NNPA reaffirmed U.S. commitment "to a strengthened and more effective International Atomic Energy Agency and to a comprehensive safeguards system administered by the Agency," and
  3. called for international efforts to provide the necessary funds, technical resources, and other support necessary for effective implementation of a strengthened safeguards program (27).
  4. But it also reflected a congressional view that a safeguards based nonproliferation regime alone was not sufficient to prevent proliferation, even with respect to NPT parties. To avoid deterioration of the integrity of the regime, additional measures were needed to avert the risk that sensitive nuclear materials (such as plutonium and highly enriched uranium) and the technologies for their production would come into widespread use.
The title of the NNPA, "An Act to provide for more efficient and effective control over the proliferation of nuclear weapon capability", [emphasis supplied] underlines this concern as does the preamble, which states that:

The Congress finds

... that the proliferation of nuclear explosive devices or of the direct capability to manufacture or  otherwise  acquire such devices poses a grave threat to the security of the United States and to  continued international progress  toward world peace ... [and therefore adopts a policy to establish] more effective international controls over the transfer and use of nuclear materials and equipment and nuclear technology .... (28)

The NNPA thus continued the trend started with the Symington and Glenn amendments

Pursuant to these concerns, the NNPA stipulated a number of additional measures aimed at constraining the spread of sensitive nuclear capabilities.

For one thing, the act created a new category of information, "sensitive nuclear technology", defined as information not available to the public and "important to the design, construction, fabrication, operation or maintenance" of enrichment, reprocessing, or heavy water production facilities (29).

  1. Cooperation with respect to, and transfer or export of, such technology can take place only under rigorous conditions established for nuclear exports and cooperation in general (30). These include
    1. a requirement that IAEA safeguards will apply to all activities in the country (at least after two years);
    2. guarantees that items will not be used for any nuclear explosive purpose whatsoever, including research, and
    3. that they will be afforded adequate physical protection; and
    4. that no retransfer of supplied technology or transfer or alteration (that is, reprocessing) of material produced as a result of its use will take place without prior U.S. approval.
  2. Beyond this, the act discourages cooperation or transfers involving sensitive nuclear technology, although in a less than forceful manner.
    • For example, the president is enjoined to seek international agreement that enrichment, reprocessing, and fabrication of fuels using weapons usable material should be carried out only in facilities "under international auspices" with strict limits on non nuclear weapon state access to sensitive nuclear technology, although a half dozen existing facilities were grandfathered (31).
    • The president is also mandated to seek to develop effective fuel assurance arrangements. However, the legislation stipulates (32). that the president should seek to ensure that fuel assurance benefits are available only to non nuclear weapon states that "do not establish any new enrichment or reprocessing facilities under their de facto or de jure control, and place any such existing facilities under effective international auspices and inspection". (This provision related to efforts to establish an International Nuclear Fuel Authority, which never materialized.)
  3. In addition to the preceding provisions, the NNPA broadened the definition of circumstances that could result in termination of U.S. nuclear supply.
    • Included were actions that would be expected to evoke sanctions
      • such as detonating a nuclear device or
      • terminating, abrogating, or materially violating IAEA safeguards as well as
      • activities having direct significance for the manufacture or acquisition of nuclear explosive devices (even if not intended for that purpose).
    • Also, countries became vulnerable to sanctions if they entered into an agreement to transfer reprocessing equipment, material, or technology to the sovereign control of a non nuclear weapon state unless the agreement were pursuant to an arrangement to which the United States subscribed (33).

Upping the Ante for Reprocessing

Still another reflection of the broad meaning of proliferation and doubts about safeguards effectiveness for sensitive nuclear activities and materials can be seen in the NNPA conditions that mandated U.S. approval of the reprocessing of materials subject to its control. Congress provided that approval of a request to reprocess U.S. origin fuel or fuel irradiated in U.S. supplied reactors (a so called subsequent arrangement) would require a finding by the secretary of energy (with concurrence of the secretary of state) that the activity "will not result in a significant increase of the risk of proliferation beyond that which exists at the time that approval is requested." Moreover,  the act specifies that:

Among all the factors in making this judgment, foremost consideration will be given to whether or not the reprocessing ... will take place under conditions  that will ensure timely warning to the United States of any diversion well in advance of the time at which the non nuclear weapon state could transform the diverted material into a nuclear explosive device (34). [emphasis added]

The criterion of timely warning generated considerable debate. Some members of Congress argued that it should be the only criterion for approving a request. But this was rejected in favor of the language finally adopted. In implementing this provision, both the Carter and the Reagan administrations in practice assessed the risk of proliferation not only in terms of the timeliness of warning of diversion that safeguards could provide, but also by the NPT status and nonproliferation commitment of the state or states making the request, the technical and institutional arrangements associated with the reprocessing facility (including safeguards and multinational participation), the adequacy of physical protection and safeguards arrangements for separated plutonium, and the right of the United States to approve the return or retransfer of such plutonium.

The Carter administration established additional guidelines for approving the reprocessing of U.S. origin fuel that were based on the principle of case by case review. Initially, requests were to be considered for approval only if they involved a clear need (for example, resulting from congestion in spent fuel storage facilities).

However, in order to be politically responsive, particularly to Japan's new concerns, another criterion was introduced at a very early stage: the possibility of approving reprocessing transfers to permit the fulfillment of contractual arrangements antedating the new U.S. policy toward processing. Japan had a number of such contracts with France. As a general rule, all approvals were to be subject to the condition that the requesting state was cooperating in exploring alternative methods of spent fuel disposal and that the approval would further U.S. nonproliferation objectives. Japan's operation of the Tokai Mura reprocessing plant to support both experimental work and safeguards development fulfilled this requirement (35). The Carter administration generally exercised its prerogatives in pragmatic fashion, thereby minimizing controversy that might otherwise have surfaced; but the administration's general posture was to try to discourage reprocessing to the extent feasible. Whether Congress regarded this pragmatism as fulfilling its objectives is another question.

The Reagan administration altered the policy of case by case review to allow for programmatic (that is, long term) reprocessing approvals in cases involving countries with advanced nuclear programs that do not pose any proliferation threat. The proposed arrangement, intended to be limited to Japan and the EURATOM countries, but more recently enlarged to include Switzerland, was to be implemented in the context of renegotiated agreements for cooperation and a broad understanding on enhanced international cooperation to improve the nonproliferation regime and international safeguards (36). To a large extent, this policy remains on paper; the relevant negotiations have not been consummated. Nevertheless, announcement of the Reagan approach evoked congressional reaction that took the form of proposed new legislation designed to further amend and tighten U.S. nuclear export and cooperation policy. For many reasons, none of this has come to pass. But the very fact that new legislation has been considered gives evidence of continued congressional interest in nonproliferation policy and strongly suggests that Congress would be quick to take up nonproliferation policy questions if in its view the objectives of U.S. policy as reflected in legislation (assuming Congress has not chosen to amend it) were put at risk (37).

This brief review of legislative activism shows that during the past decade Congress has been aggressive in the nonproliferation arena. The principal effort has been to tighten export controls, constrain dissemination of certain technologies and facilities, and (through the pressure of legislative oversight) protect against what some felt might be a too liberal administration approach to international nuclear cooperation and exports. Individually and collectively, these reflect a congressional uneasiness about the effectiveness of international safeguards as a means of preventing further ptoliferation.. What is striking in all of this is the scant attention given by some legislators to the legitimate aspirations, expectations, and concern of recipient nations both in the realm of energy security and nuclear development. Moreover, there is little evidence that they appreciate that the stability of the nonproliferation regime would be seriously undermined if nuclear recipients lose confidence in its basic principles.

There is in all of this, of course, an element of action and reaction. The promotion of nuclear commerce generates a certain instability if technology is perceived as getting ahead of social controls that enjoy public confidence. Thoughtful people raised legitimate questions about whether the course and pace of nuclear development were consistent with the level of control perceived to be needed. Fearing not, corrective measures were sought and introduced in an effort to redress the balance and to bring things back to equilibrium. The strong legislative pressures to curtail old patterns in the nuclear community served notice of what could happen if confidence in effective controls waned. However, these measures sometimes ran roughshod over legitimate peaceful interests and somewhat undermined the very institution created to serve the interest of the safe development of the peaceful atom, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Executive Response

There was also policy reaction to nuclear developments with far reaching consequences in the executive branch. Indeed, in a number of instances, the Executive was moving forward more quickly than Congress in an effort to shore up nonproliferation. Despite a deeper understanding of the nature and purpose of safeguards, and widespread belief in their capacity to detect diversions, executive branch confidence in the adequacy of international safeguards for sensitive materials was shaken. Diversions might be detected, but revocations of commitments could not be prevented. Access to weapons usable material in politically unstable environments therefore presented a problem for the regime, and safeguards alone did not seem to provide an acceptable answer.

Nuclear Supplier Guidelines

Executive branch policy in the mid and late 1970s was aimed at reinforcing the regime and restoring confidence in the concept of controlled nuclear cooperation. It had two central elements.
  1. The first was to mobilize the principal exporters (as the United States had done for nonproliferation reasons on other occasions) into a Nuclear Suppliers Group to achieve agreement on common conditions and rules of the game for nuclear exports.
  2. The second was to challenge conventional wisdom regarding the use of plutonium as a nuclear fuel.

A principal objective of the first element was to ensure that safeguards did not become bargaining chips in commercial nuclear competition. The United States favored a requirement that recipient countries accept full scope safeguards as a condition for any nuclear export. Although backed on this by a number of suppliers (and the condition accepted by all NPT non nuclear weapon state parties on their own activities), this failed to win French and German support (very largely because of anticipated sales to Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa). So the guidelines provide only that any export of items on an agreed "trigger list" drawn up and occasionally supplemented by the suppliers would have to be placed under IAEA safeguards (38).

But the U.S. drive for mandatory prohibition on sensitive transfers was rejected by several members of the group as being too sweeping and likely to cause some countries to seek nuclear independence, thereby further diluting any influence suppliers might exercise over national nuclear development. However, the suppliers did agree to exercise restraint in the transfer of sensitive facilities, technology, and weapons usable materials and to encourage recipients to accept supplier involvement or other appropriate multinational arrangements as an alternative to national facilities (39). Significantly, the two members of the group least disposed to mandatory restraints on sensitive technology transfers, France and the Federal Republic of Germany subsequently independently. announced their intention not to authorize "until further notice" the export of reprocessing facilities (40).

Additionally, the guidelines eventually agreed upon contained an important provision adapted from French and German transfer agreements with Pakistan and Brazil, respectively, that transferred technology itself would come under safeguards and that any similar facility constructed by a recipient within a designated period of time would be presumed to involve replicated technology and thus be obliged to be placed under IAEA safeguards (41).

The process of elaborating these guidelines produced lively (if secret) discussion among the suppliers over preferred strategies to reinforce the nonproliferation regime notably whether to rely on safeguards and national undertakings, or also to develop and deploy additive restraints (such as technology denial or specially conditioned technology transfers). The arguments did not cause any breaks in the supplier ranks. Rather, they led to a renewed and reinforced consensus on the terms and conditions of doing international nuclear business. Although not fully satisfactory to all of the parties, especially to those like the United States who were concerned about the general effectiveness of a regime dependent on voluntary national undertakings and international verification, the guidelines did reflect an elevated consensus and a sound basis upon which to build a strengthened safeguards system (42).

Secrecy had surrounded the meetings in London that resulted in the supplier guidelines, and Third World countries were excluded from participation or consultation. Resentment resulted, coupled with charges of cartelism and undercutting of commitments accepted by the advanced nuclear states in Article IV of the NPT. Perceptions and reactions such as these were felt in different ways in important international forums. A Conference on Transfer of Nuclear Technology convened by Third World nations at Persepolis, Iran, just days after President Carter announced new U.S. nuclear policy, revealed a substantial degree of frustration and disappointment with progress in international peaceful nuclear development and with efforts to curtail technology transfer to developing nations (43). Similar reactions were to be heard at the second NPT review conference (1980) where the unilateral imposition of conditions that went beyond the safeguards required by the NPT was sharply challenged and general complaints were heard about restricted cooperation (44). In the same year, the United Nations, at the urging of the nonaligned states, voted to sponsor a conference on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (45). Finally, these reactions gave added substance and even a richer agenda to the Group of 77, which has represented Third World and nonaligned views on North-South issues, technology transfer, economic development, and other matters since the mid 1960s and that made its formal debut in the IAEA at the 1976 general conference held in Brazil. The relevance of this for the IAEA is discussed in chapter 7.

Challenging the Plutonium Presumption

The second element of post 1974 U.S. nonproliferation policy had a rather different twist, and particularly after 1977 became a source of considerable controversy between the United States and its industrial nuclear partners. Unlike
  1. the first element, which emphasized voluntary export conditions and limits to transfers of sensitive nuclear technologies,
  2. this involved reassessment of a fundamental presumption of civil nuclear power that had guided civil nuclear development from the inception of Atoms for Peace.
The decision to take this step came in 1976 when nonproliferation policy and the adequacy of the existing safeguards based regime became an issue in the presidential campaign. Impelled by existing congressional pressures and by candidate Carter's emphasis on the proliferation risks associated with anticipated widespread commercialization of plutonium and reprocessing, President Ford, in the waning days of his administration, announced a new nonproliferation policy:
henceforth, the United States would not regard reprocessing and plutonium recycling as necessary and inevitable steps in the nuclear fuel cycle and would defer such activities until there was good reason to conclude that the world could effectively overcome any proliferation risks associated with such activities.
President Ford declared a moratorium on exports of sensitive technologies and facilities for a minimum of three years, and called upon other suppliers to join the United States in this effort. Plutonium reprocessing issues, including safeguards effectiveness, were to be considered in the framework of a reprocessing evaluation program. Unfortunately, its precise character never was fully worked out before President Ford's term expired, but it emerged in somewhat altered form in the Carter administration in the form of an international nuclear fuel cycle evaluation (46).

This anti-plutonium thrust conformed closely to the views expressed at the time in an influential private study co sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the Mitre Corporation, Nuclear Power, Issues and Choices which provided an important intellectual input to President Carter's nuclear policy. Concluding

While these proposals constituted recommendations regarding the future of domestic nuclear energy policy for the United States, they had very profound implications for external policy and international nuclear cooperation.

U.S. Nonprofiferation Policy under President Carter

Many of the measures favored by the Ford-Mitre report, subject to some modification, became elements of President Carter's nuclear development and nonproliferation policy. Although his administration did not purport to impose this policy on its cooperating partners (certainly less so than members of Congress would have hoped, as reflected in the 1978 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act), it made clear that plutonium deferral decisions elsewhere would not only he welcomed but preferred, especially the reassessing of plans for recycling plutonium in thermal reactors, which was the initial fuel cycle activity planned for in commercial use of plutonium.

The greatest proportion of nuclear fuel then being used in reactors in the free world originated in the United States. For reasons discussed earlier, this American predominance in nuclear fuel was undergoing change, and within a few years of the time that President Carter announced his plutonium deferral policy, the proportion of U.S. origin fuel going into free world reactors would drop significantly. Ironically, U.S. policymakers implicitly relied on fuel supply to help leverage nuclear policies elsewhere, although other means of influence also were available.

In 1977, however, the United States still could control what happened to much of the fuel then in use outside the communist states. In most instances (EURATOM was the exception), U.S. bilateral agreements for cooperation contained a provision requiring prior U.S. consent to the transfer of U.S. origin fuels for reprocessing or any other purpose. This meant that for all practical purposes other nations were ineluctably caught up in the process and dynamics of the U.S. nonproliferation policy.

If these considerations alone were not enough to provoke confrontation between the United States and its advanced nuclear state partners, an additional feature of U.S. policy was sure to be the catalyst. Carter administration policy emphasized universality in nuclear policy and sought to avoid discrimination in the implementation of its principles. There were several reasons for this, including the desire to avoid further antagonizing the Third World, which was recognized as important to the future of nonproliferation, and the notion that unless the technological leaders themselves practiced some form of abstention there would be little chance to persuade others of the possible merits of the approach being advocated. The underlying philosophy of this strategy can be found in the Ford-Mitre report, which made the following important argument:

A United States proposal for international reexamination of the economics of plutonium recycle and breeders will hardly be credible unless the United States is itself prepared to defer its own plutonium recycle and breeder commercialization programs on valid economic and energy supply grounds. Such action will not necessarily convince all countries but will certainly influence their thinking and will preempt charges of discrimination or of failure to honor NPT commitments (48).[emphasis added]
The severity of this confrontation was ameliorated by a number of factors.
  1. One was that while advocating universality in principle, in practice, by employing a case by case approach, the United States did distinguish between states with specific requests for reprocessing U.S.origin fuel on the basis of such criteria as their nonproliferation credentials, their adherence to the NPT, and the nature and scope of their existing civil nuclear energy programs. This served to accommodate states that otherwise would have suffered a genuine hardship.
  2. Another was the effort of the administration to bring flexibility into the legislation that was then being considered by the Congress so that it could be responsive to legitimate claims of cooperating partners.
A primary example of this was the administration's successful. effort in deflecting Congress from adopting an exclusive "timely warning" standard for granting authorization to reprocess U.S. origin fuel by making this a "foremost" but not exclusive criterion by which to judge requests (49).

One of the most important ameliorating measures was the initiation of the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE) (50). INFCE was not intended as a negotiation process (in the sense of resulting in a definitive agreement on the nuclear fuel cycle) but rather as a techno-diplomatic exercise in international technology assessment.

One cannot leave this brief review of the main themes of U.S. executive branch policy without some comments on the policy's overall impact.
  1. All the issues raised were the right ones. The conceptual strategy for dealing with them embraced all of the critical elements, and the effort to engage all interested parties in the assessment process made, an international enterprise of American policy.
  2. But the approach also suffered from a failure to recognize adequately the depth of interdependence that had developed in the nuclear world since Atoms for Peace (or it recognized the interdependence but misjudged the implications and latitude for action it involved). Actions nominally defined as domestic had immediate, far reaching and disruptive effects on many of the United States' traditional nuclear partners and provoked a loss of confidence.
  3. They also weakened confidence in the very international institutions (the IAEA and the international safeguards) that they were intended to strengthen. In some respects, it was a case of the best being the enemy of the good.

Reagan Administration Policy and Safeguards

Nonproliferation policy has undergone some change under the Reagan administration, but there is considerably more continuity than sometimes admitted. In part this is because the main differences have been over tactics, not over goals - both administrations share the objective of all postwar administrations, the avoidance of further proliferation. The continuity also exists because implementation of nonproliferation policy, especially in the later years of the Carter administration, was more pragmatic and differentiated than some of the rhetoric of the early years would suggest. Finally, the continuity has been maintained because executive branch policies are constrained by statutory law, in this case the Nuclear Non Proliferation Act of 1978. Nevertheless, some differences do have a bearing on safeguards and the IAEA.

An important change in nonproliferation policy under President Reagan is the distinction made between states that are and that are not perceived to be reliable vis a vis nonproliferation. The Reagan administration has adopted a policy of "continuing to inhibit sensitive transfers of nuclear technology, equipment, and materials, particularly where the dangers of proliferation demand", but not to "inhibit or set back civil reprocessing or breeder development abroad in nations with advanced nuclear power programs where it does not constitute a proliferation risk" (53).

While this safeguards view was not the official position of the Carter administration, it was a view held by a few members of the administration as well as at least one member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and several members of Congress. It also was the view of the majority of participants in the Ford-Mitre study, which noted that the nonproliferation system "will inevitably be flawed and unstable if plutonium and highly enriched uranium ... and the facilities to produce them become increasingly widespread" (54). For others, some reprocessing was viewed as probably inevitable and the disposition accordingly was to seek to make it as safe as possible by strengthening safeguards, limiting the activity to as few sites as possible in politically stable environments, and focusing plutonium use on future breeder reactors rather than on current light water reactors (55). The inevitability of reprocessing and the desirability of limiting it to stable and mature nuclear states is part of the nonproliferation policy of the Reagan administration as well.

  1. This policy orientation inevitably focuses attention on international safeguards and emphasizes their central role and importance to nonproliferation - a point that was given prominent attention by President Reagan in announcing U.S. policy in July 1981, as well as in urging all supplier states to require full scope safeguards as a condition of nuclear supply. Indeed, a shift from denial to support, or at least tolerance, of certain kinds of activities involving U.S. origin fuels is predicated on the existence and application of the most effective safeguards possible.
  2. Furthermore, it assumes that not only the United States, but its cooperating partners as well, will provide whatever support is needed to facilitate development and implementation of effective international safeguards in general and of measures to compensate for limitations and weaknesses in current IAEA safeguards in respect to sensitive activities and bulk handling facilities.

This clearly necessitates adequate funding for the IAEA, agency access to national laboratory research and development and expertise on improved safeguards, and maximum cooperation in implementing IAEA safeguards smoothly, efficiently, and in a timely manner. And as the earlier discussion of legislative activism demonstrated, Congress is disposed to scrutinize closely executive branch policy for nuclear cooperation with a view to ensuring that nonproliferation objectives are fulfilled. Altogether, this adds up to a substantial degree of support and high level attention being given to IAEA safeguards by the United States.

Critical judgments may be appropriately passed on some aspects of Reagan administration nuclear policy:

  1. its seemingly acute emphasis on reestablishing the United States as a reliable supplier;
  2. its liberal attitude toward plutonium use;
  3. its concept of "bridge building" to NPT holdouts (which has turned out to be more of a one way street and has not yielded significant results);
  4. or its efforts to minimize congressional oversight in the nonproliferation area (for example, with respect to subsequent arrangements incorporated in programmatic arrangements on reprocessing).
But the administration does score well on emphasizing robust and effective international safeguards. Administration commitment to the IAEA as a whole is less clear as reflected in the tendency of the United States (more the Congress than the executive branch) to allow other political interests to challenge unequivocal support for the IAEA.


Nonproliferation policy is not synonymous with foreign policy. As we saw earlier in discussing the case of Pakistan, nonproliferation policy objectives may have to compete with other important national goals and interests, and as priorities are sorted out, they may sometimes be supplanted by more urgent concerns. That risk can affect not only specific nonproliferation policies in the United States and abroad but also the IAEA and its safeguards system, as is demonstrated by events after the Israeli attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor in June 1981.

In September 1982, when the IAEA general conference voted to reject the credentials of the Israeli delegation, the U.S. delegation walked out of the meeting, announcing that the United States would have to reassess its continued participation in the agency. The Senate Appropriations Committee, during the course of the administration's reassessment, voted to delete from an appropriation bill the $14.5 million voluntary contribution intended for the IAEA in 1983, an action that was partially remedied by subsequent legislative action. At the same time, the administration suspended payments of the remainder of its 1982 dues to the IAEA pending the outcome of its reassessment. U.S. support for Israel clearly had clashed head on with the U.S. commitment to the IAEA (56).

In this instance, the United States concluded that the IAEA was critical to its nonproliferation and national security interests essentially because of the indispensable role played by IAEA safeguards in the global nonproliferation regime. As a result, the United States resumed participation in the agency. This outcome is one instance when nonproliferation concerns were sustained against other values and interests. But it is not a foregone conclusion that this result will always obtain or that the depth of U.S. nonproliferation interest can be held hostage to U.S. acquiescence in actions of others that it regards as fundamentally detrimental to or incompatible with its own national interests. This issue will be revisited in the next chapter.


1. On this transitional period, see

2. China, of course, was assisted in its nuclear activities by the Soviet Union, but far less is known about the purpose of that assistance and what Soviet expectations were at the time it was rendered. Thus, India still stands as the only case where clear statements of expectation were made for several years before the actual event, statements that erased any earlier ambiguities in the bilateral agreement between India and Canada.

3. Insofar as the regime consists also of agreements for cooperation, it may be argued that India did in fact violate a regime rule. This argument might be strengthened by the fact that at the time of the Indian explosion the question of the legitimacy of peaceful nuclear explosions under the agreement with Canada was under active discussion, at least making India guilty of unilaterally interpreting a bilateral agreement whose meaning was in dispute.

4. Of course, it would have been possible that a customary rule of international law had emerged with regard to peaceful nuclear explosions. If that were the case, the Indian action would have been more arguably a violation of a regime norm. As suggested here, however, the situation at the time is fraught with too many ambiguities to permit an unambiguous conclusion.

5. For a discussion of Canadian views and policies, see Mark J. Moher, "Nuclear Suppliers and Nonproliferation: A Canadian Perspective," in Rodney Jones and coauthors, eds., The Nuclear Suppliers and Nonproliferation (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1985).

6. See Leonard S. Spector, Nuclear Proliferation Today (New York, Vintage Books, 1984) pp. 342 343; Rodney Jones, "Nuclear Supply Policy and South Asia," in Rodney Jones and coauthors, ibid., p. 166.

7. For some, it was a question of misunderstanding just what purpose safeguards were to serve, a misunderstanding that was encouraged by the term itself, which implies some form of hands on control or the ability to stop an action from occurring. For others, it was less misunderstanding than their having concluded that safeguards were not sufficient to provide adequate protection against diversion and that new and different measures were required. These two views converged in the aftermath of the Indian test to create the situation discussed herein. The problem is reflected in the U.S. concept of "timely warning" as distinguished from "timely detection" that is called for in the IAEA NPT safeguards document INFCIRC/153.

8. French suspension did not occur until most of the plans already had been delivered. Thus, technology transfer had taken place and may have been sufficient to be of real value to Pakistan.

9. The Federal Republic of Germany-Brasil agreement prompted a strong reaction from the United States that resulted in considerable tension between the United States and both of the other countries. For an in depth review of that situation, consult

10. Official U.S. statements on this matter can be found in Department of State Bulletin vol. 71 no. 1832 (August 5, 1974) pp. 248-254 and vol. 7 1, no. 1841 (October 7, 1974) pp. 484-486. For a discussion, see Michael A. Guffin, Nuckar Paradox: Security Risks of the Peaceful Atoms (Washington, D.C., American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1976) p. 3 1 ff.

11. P.L. 93-485, October 26, 1974. Previously, agreements for cooperation were submitted to the congressional joint Committee on Atomic Energy thirty days before coming into force, but without any provision for disapproval except by legislative enactment.

12. Others included the use of legislative vetoes to check action by the administration that Congress felt to be inconsistent with its policy intent, as well as the growth of congressional commmittees with interests in nuclear matters whether from economic, technological, political, security, or environmental perspectives. The legislative veto was struck down by the United States Supreme Court on June 13, 1983, in the case of U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service vs. Chada.

13. Note should be taken of the fact that in 1974, with the passage of the Energy Reorganization Act, the Atomic Energy Commission was divided into a regulatory body, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and a broader energy agency that consolidated all federal energy development programs, the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA). What was significant was that the independent NRC was legally free to reach decisions on nuclear exports that were binding on the government. At the same time, other government branches, such as the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), the Department of State, and ERDA, were involved in such decisions. The resulting diffusion of responsibilities and authorities in nudear matters had a very negative impact on U.S. international nuclear stature. This was in addition to the proliferation of congressional committees that concerned themselves with nuclear matters that resulted from the demise of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.

14. See O.B. Falls, Jr., "A Survey of Nuclear Power in Developing Countries IAEA Bulletin vol. 15 no. 5 (August 1973) pp. 27 38. Among the countries included in the survey were Argentina, Bangladesh, Egypt, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Yugoslavia.

15. See in particular, Richard D. Barber Associates, LDC Nuclear Power Prospects, 1975-1990: Commercial, Economic and Security Implications, A Report Prepared for the Division of International Security Affairs, U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration (Washington, D.C., ERDA, February 1975).

16. On the character and implications of the decline of U.S. predominance, see Williarn B. Walker and Mans Lonnroth, Nuclear Power Struggles: Industrial Competition and Proqeration Control (London and Boston, Allen & Unwin, 1983).

17. This subject is well treated by Michael J. Brenner, Nuclear Power and Non Proliferation: The Remaking of U.S. Policy (Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press, 1981).

18. This aspect of the episode is very well analyzed and documented in Edward F. Wonder, Nuclear Fuel and American Foreign Policy, An Atlantic Council Policy Study (Boulder, Colo., Westview Press, 1977).

19. 10 Code of Federal Regulations Part 810 (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office).

20. United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Documents on Disarmament (Washington, D.C., U.S. ACDA, 1969) pp. 609 610.

21. See Albert WohIstetter, The Spread of Military and Civilian Nuclear Energy Predictions, Premises and Politics (Los Angeles, Pan Heuristics, 1976). See also Wohistetter, Swords from Ploughshares (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1979).

22. P.L. 94-329, The International Security and Arms Export Control Act of 1976, June 30, 1976 (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976).

23. P.L. 95-92, The International Security Assistance Act of 1977, August 4, 1977 (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977).

24. How reliable this pledge was deemed to be by the U.S. administration is unclear given the fact that the president did not seek to exercise the waiver under the Symington amendment.

25. On this issue generally, see Leonard S. Spector, Nuclear Proliferation Today (New York, Vintage Books, 1984) pp. 70-110.

26. P.L. 97-113, The International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1981. This type of congressional veto, however, was struck down in 1983 by the Supreme Court in the Chada decision referred to in note 27. P.L. 95 242, The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978, section 2.

28. Ibid., section 2a.

29. Ibid., section 4(a)(6).

30. Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, section 123 (amended and restated by section 401 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978) deals with Cooperation with other Nations; section 127 (added by section 305 of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Act of 1978), Criteria Governing United States Nuclear Exports.

31. The Nuclear Non Proliferation Act of 1978, section 403(b)(I).

32. Ibid., section 104(d).

33. Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, section 129(2)(c) (added by section 307 of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Act of 1978), Conduct Resulting in Termination of Nuclear Exports.

34. Ibid., section 131(b) (added by section 303(a) of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978), Subsequent Arrangements.

35. On the subject of Japanese reprocessing, U.S. policy and the Tokai-Mura facility, see Lawrence Scheinman and Ryukichi Imai contributions in Michael Blaker, ed., Oil and the Atom: Issues in U.S.Japanese Energy Relations (New York, Columbia University Press, 1980).

36. Programmatic transfers also have been agreed to for Sweden, Norway, and Finland, but unlike the other approvals mentioned, these do not involve the return of separated plutonium. On this issue generally, see "Reprocessing and Plutonium Use," Department of State Bulletin (September 1982) p. 52.

37. This includes the proposed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy Act (NNPA) of 1982, which in addition to all of the requirements of the NNPA would have required concurrence of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in a determination that a proposed subsequent arrangement for reprocessing would not result in a significant increase in proliferation risk; and the Nuclear Explosive Control Act of 1983, cosponsored by Senators Gary Hart and Alan Cranston and Representative Richard Ottinger, which would have prohibited reprocessing U.S. origin fuel until Congress made a finding that effective international safeguards could be applied, and that appropriate sanctions existed to deter any violations.

38. The guidelines eventually were published as INFCIRC/256 as a result of each of the fifteen participants' informing the IAEA by separate letter of their intent to follow the guidelines with respect to their nuclear exports. They include not only a requirement for safeguards, but also a nonexplosive pledge, provision for adequate physical security, and agreement not to retransfer supplied items or their products without approval of the original supplier, and then only under the same conditions as the original supply.

39. INFCIRC/254, paragraph 7, states, "Suppliers should exercise restraint in the transfer of sensitive facilities, technology and weapons usable materials. If enrichment or reprocessing facilities, equipment or technology are to be transferred, suppliers should encourage recipients to accept, as an alternative to national plants, supplier involvement and/or other appropriate multinational participation in resulting facilities. Suppliers should also promote international [including IAEA] activities concerned with multinational regional fuel cycle centres."

40. France made this announcement in December 1976; the Federal Republic of Germany in June 1977. The Nuclear Suppliers Group is discussed in Charles N. Van Doren, "Nuclear Supply and Non-Proliferation: The IAEA Committee on Assurances of Supply," Report No. 83 202 S (Washington, D.C., Congressional Research Service, October 1983) pp. 60 65.

41. This is a potentially important provision, but a number of people have raised questions about its enforceability.

42. The division of views among the suppliers is discussed in Bertrand Goldschmidt, "A Historical Survey of Non Proliferation Policies," International Security (Summer 1977).

43. The shrillest voices were those of states that had rejected the NPT. States genuinely interested in peaceful nuclear development would not be hurt by these policies and would have access to all of the nuclear technology, materials, and equipment relevant to their level of nuclear development as long as they accepted full scope safeguards. But these considerations are less important than the fact that this reflected the perception of developing states across the political and nonproliferation spectrum. It is also noteworthy that U.S. industrial representatives participating in the Persepolis conference assisted in drafting the condemnatory resolutions that emerged. ("New Trends and Safeguards," speech delivered by Myron B. Kratzer, vice president, International Energy Associates Limited, to the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Albuquerque, N.M., July 1985)

44. For a discussion of the second review conference, see "The Second NPT Review Conference," in SIPRI, Worid Armament and Disarmament. SIPRI Yearbook 1981 (London, Taylor and Francis, 1981) pp. 297 338.

45. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 35/112. By this resolution, the assembly decided to convene a United Nations Conference for the Promotion of International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (PUNE) and to establish a Preparatory Committee of seventy members to that end. The resolution invited the IAEA to contribute to all phases affecting matters within the scope of its responsibilities. PUNE was to have taken place in 1983, but only was convened in 1987.

46. Office of the President, Public Papers of the Presidents: Gerald R. Ford, 1976 (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977) pp. 2763-2778.

47. Cambridge, Mass., Ballinger, 1977.

48. Ibid., p. 37.

49. Timely warning is discussed in note 7 above. See also, Leonard Weiss, "Nuclear Safeguards: a Congressional Perspective," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (March 1978) pp. 27 33.

50. In announcing his nuclear policy on April 17, 1977, President Carter stated that pursuant to the objective of continuing discussions with suppliers and consumers over ways to achieve energy objectives while reducing the spread of nuclear explosive capability, the United States wished to explore establishment of an international nuclear fuel cycle evaluation program. The complete statement can be found in Documents on Disarmament, 1977 (Washington, D.C., United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1977) pp.219 220.

51. For a good post facto review of U.S. perceptions of INFCE as expressed in congressional hearings on the subject, see Warren H. Donnelly, "Analysis of Hearings on New Directions for Nuclear Energy Research, Development and Demonstration, Post INFCE," a report prepared for the Subcommittee on Energy Research and Production of the Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, 97 Cong. 1 sess. May 1981.

52. In the final analysis, it is at least as important that a country that decides to pursue a plutonium use option for peaceful nuclear purposes understand and take all necessary measures to minimize the risks associated with that decision in the first place. The fact that some countries continue to pursue plans involving the use of plutonium does not necessarily support the argument made by some that U.S. policy failed.

53. "Statement on United States Nuclear Non Proliferation Policy," July 16, 198 1, in Public Paers of the Presidents of the United States, Ronald Reagan, 1981 (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1982) p. 631. This was later supplemented by a decision to end the policy of indefinite deferral of reprocessing. and plutonium use in the United States and to endorse those activities. This occurred in October 1981, but industry has not chosen to pursue reprocessing primarily because its economics are unfavorable but also out of a lingering concern about the stability of U.S. national policy on this issue.

54. Ford-Mitre, Nuckar Power: Issues and Choices (see note 47 above) p. 23.

55. See, for example, Joseph S. Nye, "Balancing Nonproliferation and Energy Security," speech to the Uranium Institute, London, July 12, 1978 (unpubd.).

56. The attack on Israel in the IAEA was not an isolated problem, but part of a larger issue of Third World challenges to the United States as well as to Israel and other U.S. allies in the forums of the UN General Assembly and counterpart institutions in other international organizations including the IAEA challenges to which the United States had determined to respond with toughness as demonstrated by its subsequent withdrawal from UNESCO. These broader issues, while of undoubted importance, go beyond our immediate concern and are not dealt with here.

Chapter 7
Problems Facing the IAEA

So long as nonproliferation and sharing the peaceful benefits of nuclear energy remain high on the political and economic agendas of the world, the loss of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards is unthinkable. However, today the IAEA confronts critical problems that have the potential to undermine agency safeguards and jeopardize their continued utility.

As the IAEA's nonproliferation role has increased, so has its political visibility, which has made it a more attractive arena for political activism. Once able to function in comparative isolation from the dramas of international politics, in recent years the IAEA has become yet another stage for political struggles unrelated to its substantive mandate.

The political campaigns that have been waged against Israel and South Africa in other UN organizations have spilled over into the IAEA, although admittedly helped by such agency-relevant events as the discovery in 1977 of an alleged nuclear test site in South Africa's Kalahari desert and by the Israeli bombing of the Iraqi research reactor m June 1981. Consequently, not only the annual IAEA General Conference, which although largely devoted to routine statements about nuclear programs and experience always has had political overtones, but also the board of governors, which over time has developed rather efficient and businesslike qualities, are being progressively transformed into forums for political debate and confrontation reminiscent of the UN General Assembly and Security Council.

The character of the IAEA has changed over the past fifteen years. As a result of its exceptional authority to implement international safeguards, it has come to occupy a central and indispensable role in the global nonproliferation regime. But this in turn has made the agency an important political prize in the international arena. Groups of states that see the political importance of the agency to other states seek to trade on those interests and to dominate the agency to bend it toward their own preferred goals. In such struggles, the higher purposes of the agency can be lost from sight (2).

Success inevitably brings its own problems. As the importance of the agency has increased, so have issues of representation, resource development, budgetary allocation, and staffing for IAEA members. In this respect, the IAEA is no different from other international organizations or institutions. However, the IAEA's central role in the nonproliferation regime, which itself is directly linked to questions of international stability and national security, makes all the more significant any changes of behavior within the organization or in how it is perceived by others. As noted above, the IAEA is currently beset by problems that, if unresolved, could fatally undermine the confidence of many states in its ability to carry out its responsibilities. The more important problems are briefly summarized below.

  1. Politicization. One of the most urgent problems is the introduction into agency deliberations and activities of political issues irrelevant to the IAEA's mission, purpose, and objectives. This tends to erode confidence in the organization's ability to carry out effectively its mandated, technically based responsibilities.
  2. Credibility of safeguards. A second, equally important issue is the effectiveness and credibility of IAEA safeguards. This issue involves not only an assessment of how well the agency implements safeguards, but also what purposes and objectives the safequards should serve.
  3. Tensions between NPT and non-NPT members. Third, IAEA actions suggesting that NPT-related activities are somehow more legitimate than non-NPT-related activities are viewed by non-treaty member states as distortions of the statute and as a threat to the legitimacy of their programs and policies. This has had a corrosive effect on the agency, with non-NPT members resisting actions they regard as attempts to make the agency an arm of the NPT.
  4. The balance between technical assistance and safeguards. The balance between the IAEA's technical assistance program and its safeguards functions, including the question of safeguards financing, is a fourth important issue area. Members from the developing countries and the industrialized nations disagree not so much on whether a balance should exist, but on what sort of balance it should be and how it can best be achieved. This is the issue that most clearly threaten to polarize the agency over the next decade along North-South lines, as has occurred in a number of other international organizations, and already has made some impact on the IAEA itself.


A most serious problem threatening the IAEA is the increasing injection into agency affairs of political issues and controversies unrelated to its charter. For want of a better term, we shall refer to this as "politicization". No international organization is, or realistically can be, entirely free of political debate and controversy. Despite its uncommon. record for. dealing with subjects on their technical merits, the IAEA is no exception. The agency has had its share of contentious issues and conflicts - East-West confrontations in the early years, and North-South tensions more recently have made their appearance in the Vienna agency. No group of states among its membership can claim to be entirely free of responsibility for such contention. In considering politicization, an important question to ask is whether the political actions involved relate to, or are irrelevant to, the purposes and objectives of the organization. The answer to this inquiry bears on the implications of such activities.

Extraneous and Intrinsic Issues

A useful distinction can be made between extraneous and intrinsic politicization. An extraneous issue involves controversy over a matter unrelated to the mandate of an organization. Disruptive of normal activities, it in no way advances the purposes of the organization. It is politics of a kind that a nonpoliticized organization should immediately rule out of order. As we will discuss later, in its first several years the IAEA reflected the Cold War atmosphere of the general political environment. However, throughout most of its existence, leadership in the IAEA's board of governors and the secretariat have shared a common viewpoint that extraneous issues should be kept out of the agency; the early practice was to refer such issues to the United Nations General Assembly. Occasionally that rule has been breached, but not in a systematic way. More important, extraneous issues generally have not been pressed to the point of disrupting the agency's ability to function or to retain the confidence of its constituents. More often than not, extraneous political interventions have been made more for the record than as part of a dedicated political campaign. However, that is not the situation today.

Intrinsic issues are those that relate directly to an organization's purposes, activities, or structure. These include the allocation of resources among different activities and the distribution of administrative or management posts among different nationalities, or their representation on decision- making bodies of the organization. Intrinsic politicization is an inevitable feature of international organizations. It rarely threatens organizational viability because of the normally strong commitment of the overall membership to the purpose of the organization or to the interests that the organization is effectively serving. If this commitment should weaken, the adverse effects of intrinsic politicization increase. At some point, their corrosive effect could rival the impact of extraneous politicization. There. are reasons to be concerned that such trends are operating in the IAEA today.

A Technical or Political Institution?

The IAEA is often referred to as a technical rather than a political institution. In a fundamental sense that is true. It is not a general purpose organization, and it clearly was not established to be still another arena for political struggles or confrontation over the great international economic, ideological, or political issues of the day. Rather, it was established for specific and explicit scientific and technical purposes. However, those purposes-to promote the peaceful uses of atomic energy and to implement safeguards-deal with some of the most important technological, political, and security issues of our time. The agency, therefore, cannot escape all politics and political considerations. A Soviet commentator, writing of the IAEA in Izvestia three months after the agency began to function, predicted fairly well what the next three decades would reveal: "Whatever the Western delegates may say on the subject, it is clear that the Agency is not an insulated scientific organization divorced from politics and existing in some kind of vacuum" (3). The interdependence of the agency's technical subjects within its security and political environment makes it an attractive target of political opportunism. As a result, there is great temptation for those with a relatively limited interest in the basic purpose of the agency to hold hostage the substantial interest of others in order to secure their own political objectives, whether they be intrinsic or extraneous.

Politicization over South Africa

The treatment of South Africa by its political opponents in the IAEA starkly illustrates the problem of politicization. Efforts to strike at South Africa because of its apartheid policies date from 1963 when Ghana unsuccessfully floated a proposal to expel the South Africans from the IAEA. At the time, the then smaller and more homogeneous general conference considered apartheid as a political issue that was inappropriate to their technical forum. Thirteen years later, however, the general conference succeeded in ousting South Africa from the board of governors. In adopting a resolution requesting the board to review the designation of South Africa as the "technically most advanced country in Africa - which heretofore had entitled that country to he automatically seated-the general conference urged the board to take into account "the inappropriateness and unacceptability of the apartheid regime of the Republic of South Africa."

In June 1977, the board voted 19 to 12, With two abstentions, to replace South Africa with Egypt, although Egypt clearly was not the most advanced African nation in terms of nuclear capability. This confirmed that a new form of politics had taken root. In later years, South African credentials were rejected by the general conference (6), and still later the board prohibited South African participation in the IAEA's Committee on Assurance of Supply, despite the clear relevance of South Africa to that objective (7). Subsequently, the general conference foreclosed South African participation in any of the committees or working groups of the agency, thus effectively severing all agency cooperation with the government of South Africa. In 1985, the general conference adopted a resolution urging all member states to cease nuclear cooperation of any kind with South Africa (8), but, as in the past, stopped short of seeking South African expulsion, apparently because the perceived benefits of keeping South African facilities under agency safeguards and extending the scope of those safeguards exceed political antipathy to the South African regime. The United States, while condemning apartheid, has opposed all of the actions described above on the basis of the principle of universality and the practical importance of South Africa to nuclear matters

Politicization Over Israel

There is political antipathy toward Israel by a number of member states, primarily those of the Middle East with whom Israel is grouped and whose support is necessary for Israel to achieve any elective IAEA office. As a consequence, Israel never has been chosen to serve on the board of governors, despite its advanced standing in nuclear science and technology, and in general has not been able to play as full a role as its technical achievements would have led one to expect. Israel's air strike against Iraq's large research reactor, Osirak, in June 1981 - an admittedly extraordinary event-raised the temperature of this festering political hostility greatly and triggered a period of extended political controversy that in one way or another played a predominant role in the life of the agency during the first half of the 1980s.

The Israeli attack was strongly condemned in the United Nations as a violation of the principles of the UN Charter. The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling upon Israel to refrain from further such attacks or threats of attack and to place its nuclear facilities under agency safeguards (10). The matter also was placed on the agenda of the IAEA board of governors meeting that took place in the immediate aftermath of the incident. There, Iraq unsuccessfully sought expulsion of Israel from the agency."

The board did, however, adopt a condemnatory resolution urging the forthcoming general conference to consider the implications of the attack for the agency and the possible suspension of Israel from the rights and privileges of membership. This was strongly opposed by the United States and several others for reasons that would frequently be invoked in the ensuing four years in response to efforts to suspend Israel or to impose sanctions against her. One was the importance of the principle of universality to the integrity of international organizations in general (as confirmed in UN General Assembly resolutions) and to the IAEA in particular (given its exceptional responsibility for verifying the peaceful uses of nuclear energy). The other was the absence of appropriate statutory grounds for taking proposed measures against Israel. Article XIX of the Statute of the IAEA, which deals with suspension of rights and privileges of member states, can be invoked only if there has been persistent violation of the statute or of an agreement entered into pursuant to the statute, for example, a safeguards agreement. Neither the attack on the Iraqi facility nor Israel's failure to accept safeguards on all of its nuclear activities constituted a violation of a statutory provision or of an agreement entered into pursuant to the statute. The statute contains no provision regarding the use of force against nuclear facilities whether or not under safeguards; nor does membership require acceptance of safeguards. Hence, Article, XIX did, not provide any legal bash. for suspension or for other punitive measures against Israel (12).

Iraqi-led efforts to achieve suspension of Israel at the 1981 and 1982 general conferences failed, but lesser measures did receive support, confirming that a majority of the membership believed that the incident was an appropriate one for agency consideration. In 1981, the general conference adopted by a vote of 51 to 8 (which included the United States) with 27 abstentions (mainly European states) a resolution condemning the Israeli attack. The resolution urged that at its next session the conference consider suspending Israel from its rights and privileges of membership if by then it had not withdrawn its threat to attack Iraqi or other nuclear facilities, and placed its own nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards. It also called for immediate suspension of technical assistance to Israel (13). Technical assistance was suspended. The action, although largely symbolic given the modest level of support involved-about $40,000 - was nevertheless important insofar as it affected the principle of full participation of member states. That would become an issue at the 1985 general conference in the context of an Iraqi resolution seeking to invoke sanctions as discussed below.

The Israeli issue came to a head at the following general conference in September 1982. Renewed efforts to suspend Israel were once again unsuccessful. A resolution sponsored by the Moslem states and Cuba received a majority of the votes cast but was defeated because a vote to suspend required a "yes" vote by two-thirds of those voting (excluding abstentions), and the draft resolution in question fell short of that mark (14). The supporting statements of the sponsors and the language of the draft resolution itself reflected the degree to which political considerations unrelated to the agency or the Iraqi incident had entered the debate. As expressed in preambular paragraph (f) of the proposed resolution, the sponsors were "deeply concerned about Israel's escalation of aggression against other countries of the region and occupation and annexation of territories, particularly the occupation of Lebanon and the genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people. . . ." They called for suspension of Israel's privileges and rights of membership (15). Israeli relations with South Africa also were invoked as a reason to take the recommended action against Israel.

Following the defeat of the effort to suspend Israel, Iraq moved to seek rejection of the credentials of the Israeli delegation. Once again, political considerations irrelevant to the mandate of the agency or to the question at hand were introduced. One claim was that the credentials were issued by a government that purported to represent people over whom it exercised jurisdiction by virtue of illegal annexation (referring to Jerusalem) and therefore were deficient. With the assistance of an erroneous legal ruling by the secretariat's chief legal officer, which permitted the casting of a questionable vote, they succeeded (16). When first put to a vote, this resolution did not succeed. The vote was 40 "yes," 40 "no," plus a number of abstentions. After the vote was announced, a ruling permitted a member state, Madagascar, to reopen the voting and cast a late vote, which altered the outcome. Cases involving credentials only require a simple majority to pass. Coming as it did in the final hours of the conference, the practical effect of the vote was to deprive Israel of participation in only a few remaining activities; but while Israel remained a member of the IAEA, the symbolic impact was not that far from what would have been achieved by a vote of suspension, and it was ominous for the future.

This action against Israel precipitated U.S. withdrawal from the conference that was joined by some others. Altogether, fifteen states withdrew from the conference in protest against the incident, among them France, Belgium, japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom. At the same time, the United States announced that it would halt general participation in agency activities, including payments of its contributions, and undertake a major reassessment of its support for and participation in the IAEA. This reassessment was completed four months later with the conclusion, endorsed by the president, that the IAEA serves critical U.S. security and nonproliferation interests. Participation was resumed in February 1983 following certification by the director general, on the authority of the board of governors, that Israel remain a fully participating member of the agency (17).

The intensity of the U.S. reaction had a somewhat sobering effect on the membership of the agency, but it did not put in end to politicization or to bickering over the Israeli issue. Iraq and its supporters shifted emphasis from seeking suspension of Israel to threatening to impose sanctions if Israel failed to take certain measures. In 1983, the general conference voted a resolution (49-24 with 17 abstentions) that called upon Israel to "withdraw forthwith its threat to attack and destroy nuclear facilities in Iraq and in other countries," and further "decided" certain sanctions (withholding research contracts, not purchasing equipment and material, and not holding scientific seminars in Israel) if Israel did not comply and remove its threat by the time of the 1984 general conference.` The United States voted against this resolution (RES/409).

In May 1984, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, singling out the IAEA, publically stated that "Israel supports those international arrangements which would ensure the status and inviolability of nuclear facilities dedicated to peaceful purposes". Shortly afterward the head of the Israeli AEC wrote to Director General Blix that "Israel holds that nuclear facilities dedicated to peaceful purposes be inviolable from military attack," and that Israel "has no policy of attacking nuclear facilities dedicated for peaceful purposes anywhere." (19)

The United States and several others viewed these statements as sufficiently responsive to RES/409 to be able to put the issue to rest, but a number of others, including some who considered the statements to constitute a positive step, disagreed, noting the ambiguous nature of the Israeli statements regarding future behavior, the lack of specific reference to Iraq, and the absence of any mention of the role of IAEA safeguards in providing assurances about peaceful uses. The 1984 general conference voted a somewhat milder but still condemnatory resolution (RES/425) demanding that "Israel undertake forthwith not to carry out any further attacks on nuclear facilities in Iraq or on similar facilities in other countries, devoted to peaceful purposes," and mandating the director general "to seek personally from the Government of Israel" the undertakings in question and to report back to the 1985 general conference (20). This resolution effectively deferred implementation of any punitive measures against Israel and left intact Israel's privileges and rights of membership while still not bringing the issue to term.

The director general's efforts resulted in a letter from the government of Israel in September 1985 reiterating the stated policy of Israel that peaceful nuclear facilities be inviolable from military attack and Israel's respect for how the IAEA fulfilled its safeguards mission. It also included the following key statements:

Israel holds that all states must refrain from attacking or threatening to attack nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes, and that the safeguards systems operated by IAEA brings evidence of the peaceful operation of a facility.

It is within this context that Israel reconfirms that under its stated policy it will not attack or threaten to attack any nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes either in the Middle East or anywhere else.

Israel will support any subsequent action in competent form to work out binding agreements protecting nuclear installations devoted to peaceful purposes from attack and threat of attack (21).

This important statement went further than previous Israeli statements in two respects: first, it was more direct and precise; and second, it emphasized the role of agency safeguards in evaluating the peaceful nature of nuclear activities, thus taking a major step toward meeting earlier complaints that Israel was putting itself above, and discounting, international safeguards.

Iraq nevertheless remained dissatisfied and introduced a resolution once again demanding that Israel withdraw its threat to repeat its military attack against Iraqi nuclear installations and invoking the punitive measures called for in paragraph 3 of RES/409 (22). The conference president, supported by the legal adviser to the conference (both from African states), ruled that since the resolution in question would have the effect of depriving a member state of some of its rights of membership, its adoption required a two-thirds majority. Iraq's challenge to this ruling was defeated and the resolution, when put to a vote, failed to achieve the required two-thirds. (The vote was 41 to 30, with 19 abstaining.) Instead, the conference adopted (by a vote of 30 to 21, with 36 abstaining) a Nordic-sponsored resolution that, taking note of the Israeli letter and subsequent confirmatory statements before the general conference, "considered" them to contain undertakings meeting the objectives of RES/425, "noting" that thereby Israel has "committed itself not to attack peaceful nuclear facilities in Iraq, elsewhere in the Middle East, or anywhere else." (23) Ironically, the United States did not vote in favor of this resolution because it contained other provisions, involving questions the United States regarded as beyond the purview of the IAEA.

With the defeat of the Iraqi draft resolution and adoption of the Nordic alternative, a majority of the members of the agency appeared to be saying enough is enough and that the corrosive five-year debate should go no further. Important national interests served by the agency were being threatened, and steps had to be taken to avoid further deterioration. Thus, the Israeli issue seems at last to have been put to rest in the IAEA, at least insofar as it was based on the Iraqi incident. This does not, however, signal the end of politics, or of the continued risk of politicization in general in the agency any more than it suggests that Israel will now be able to overcome the more subtle limitations imposed on her by political considerations. There are, as we shall see, other issues from which political tension and controversy may arise. Nevertheless, one of the most distressing periods in the life of the agency had passed (24).

In concluding this discussion of the Israeli issue, a final point is in order. The outcome could be viewed as confirmation that the U.S. withdrawal from the agency in 1982 (and its subsequent threats to do so again if Israel. were denied the rights and privileges of membership or otherwise dealt with punitively) was a success and a victory against politicization. However, to reach such a judgment would be to indulge in some measure of self-delusion. First, there was a good deal of resentment toward the United States among its friends and allies for the continued threat of withdrawal. In the view of many, U.S. behavior in this regard contributed to the very politics the U.S. professed to want to end. The threat to withdraw was seen as unnecessarily painting the United States into a corner, as for example expressed in a letter from the Department of State to Director General Blix in 1984:

Should the General Conference adopt a resolution that directs the Board ... to withhold research contracts to Israel, discontinue the purchase of equipment and materials from Israel or refrain from holding seminars, scientific: and technical meetings in Israel, the United States Delegation will leave the Conference and announce the suspension of U.S. participation in and support for the Agency. This is a firm and non-negotiable policy (25).

Efforts by others to avoid passage of resolutions that entailed any punitive measures were mounted less because of convictions that any such action constituted an unacceptable degree of politicization than because of recognition that the United States might just walk out a second time (having already demonstrated in 1982 that it would do so) and that if it did it might be much more difficult, if not impossible, to climb back on board again. That would mean the demise of the agency, which was not in anyone's interest. In this view, rather than eliminating politicization, U.S. behavior might demonstrate that going to the mat is the best way to achieve one's goals, and that could intensify rather than diminish the risk of politicization.

Second, the Damoclean threat of withdrawal raised questions about U.S. priorities. If the United States were prepared to withdraw if any punitive measures were levied against its Israeli ally, then what was one to think about all the U.S. protestations about the importance of maintaining a strong and vigorous nonproliferation regime and an effective international safeguards system? In the Israeli episode, U.S. behavior showed that the importance it attached to nonproliferation policy was distinctly in second place when it came to supporting Israel. The well-known fact that this policy was in no small measure driven by a Congress extremely sensitive to questions relating to Israel, and that the pro-Israeli congressional constituency was larger and more effectively organized than that for nonproliferation, explained but did not resolve the issue for America's allies. Clearly, if the United States could set certain national interests above the IAEA, other members could do so as well.

Finally, many of those who agreed with the United States that it was not for the IAEA to apply sanctions or to suspend Israel in response to the attack on the Iraqi nuclear facility nevertheless disagreed with the view that the incident did not constitute an attack on the agency or on its safeguards system, that it had not done damage to that regime, or that it was inappropriate for the agency to discuss the issue of armed attacks on nuclear facilities (26). Quite the contrary, many nations that supported U.S. efforts to foreclose punitive action against Israel nevertheless saw the incident as a "grave challenge to the Agency's safeguards system" (27); causing "serious harm to the Agency's safeguards system" (28); and as an incident that "could seriously undermine respect for the safeguards system." (29) These and other states share interest in building legal and political barriers against attacks on safeguarded nuclear facilities and in pursuing such issues in the framework of the IAEA as well as elsewhere. At the very least, they are not prepared to foreclose discussion of the issue in the agency.

Other Controversies

In the short term, the controversy over Israel was the gravest and most immediately divisive force within the IAEA. But it was not the first, as we already have seen, nor will it be the last. In the longer term, there is the emergence within the IAEA's governing bodies of well-organized political groupings whose strivings can increase the level of political divisiveness as well as displace the tradition of seeking accommodation through consensus-building with confrontational politics, including demands for formal voting on all issues. Also, as world economic difficulties continue, an increasing North-South polarization in agency proceedings can be expected. This. source of politicization opens the door to extraneous politics. It is' reflected in confrontation politics on such internal issues as increasing Third World membership on the board, providing larger and more reliable funding for technical assistance, and pressing for greater representation of Third World countries on the secretariat staff, particularly at managerial levels.

The Behavior and the Group of 77
Many groups of states are involved in some way with the IAEA. These include the Geneva Group, the Latin American Group, the West European and Other Group (WEOG), and the Group of 77 (G-77). Often their memberships overlap, and most can be found in other UN organizations as well. The Geneva Group, consisting of the major non-communist contributors to international organizations, provides a means to achieve consensus on budget policy. The WEOG and the Latin American Group are in general-purpose entities, the WEOG functioning with varying levels of intensity in UN family organizations.

Far more important for the future of the IAEA is the Group of 77. The G-77 was formed in 1964 at the UN Conference on Trade and Development. Its purpose is to formulate and aggregate the views of the less-developed countries on matters of economic development and to press for their achievement in the UN system. The G-77 states seek to project their international political agenda, which since the late 1970s has included establishment of the New International Economic Order, in the organizations to which they belong.

The effect of G-77 on the IAEA has been (and continues to be) twofold.

  1. First, wherever this caucus has become active it has tended to result in group voting. The G-77 threatens to disrupt the tradition of the agency's functioning largely by consensus and without formal voting, except as provided for in the statute or on rare occasions when demanded by one or more states. It may well alter a style of cooperation that has worked well over the years for the IAEA, one that so far has successfully avoided this kind of group politics. (Of course, G-77 spokesmen may retort that there is nothing sacred about the consensus process if all it does is perpetuate political, economic, or technological arrangements that one seeks to alter.)
  2. Second, while the G-77 agenda contains legitimate concerns that merit serious attention by the full IAEA membership (the intrinsic issues), its activity also has been focused on extraneous issues that generate controversies that can threaten the integrity of the IAEA. Unfortunately, IAEA membership includes countries that do not place a priority on the agency's nonproliferation objectives, at least as they have been interpreted by the majority in recent years.

The G-77 can have a constructive voice in the agency if its leadership is drawn from those moderate states with serious nuclear interests and a strong commitment to the principle of nonproliferation and effective international safeguards. However, its leadership currently rests with a few countries-mainly those not party to the NPT - that have opposed the trend toward increased attention to safeguards. These nations are supported by others whose priorities lie less in nuclear advancement per se than in furthering the general objective of establishing a new international economic order, including access to a spectrum of advanced technologies and a redistribution of global wealth.

This is reinforced by the proximity of the IAEA to the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which shares the Vienna International Center complex with the IAEA, and whose secretariat views its mission as one of advancing the cause of a new economic order. Often, the same individual will represent his country in both organizations, with priority of interest and balance of expertise favoring UNIDO. There is a resulting tendency to carry over into the IAEA some of the practices and attitudes characteristic of UNIDO: a more confrontational approach to issues; greater attention to symbolic than to substantive aspects of problems; and a greater focus on altering the structure of representation on the board of governors and in the secretariat staff. Establishing majorities sometimes appears to be a more important goal than advancing the technical purposes of the agency.

Effects by the Group of 77 to Increase Influence on the Board
One of the most striking and important features of the IAEA is its board of governors, which is vested with more executive authority than most comparable UN institutions. As discussed in chapter 3, the board's composition is set by a formula that tries to balance the interests of advanced and developing countries and of East and West. Thirteen of its present thirty-five seats are assigned, on the basis of advanced nuclear status, to IAEA member states by outgoing board each year. These are tantamount to permanent seats for those who hold them. The remaining twenty-two are elected by the general conference for two-year terms in such a way as to ensure a prescribed regional distribution .30 As a result of pressures from developing countries, the statute, amended in 1963 to increase board membership from twenty-three to twenty-five, was amended again in 1973 to increase the board to thirty-four in response ' se to a convergence of pressures from developing countries as well as a few advanced states (31). It was increased to thirty-five in 1984 specifically to accommodate the People's Republic of China, which had just taken its seat in the agency.

Pressures have been mounting since 1977 to expand the board even more generally to reflect the IAEA's regional membership, especially in Africa and the Middle East, the two areas from which many former colonial states have emerged with powerful incentives to achieve advanced technological standing to match their new independent status. This has been resisted by the United States and other developed states, including the Soviet Union, on the grounds that the board, as structured at present, is large enough to be representative of the cross-section of its membership while being small enough to operate efficiently, a quality essential to the nature of its tasks and its consensus mode of operation. A further increase in size is seen as potentially jeopardizing the ability of the industrialized countries to prevent decisions inimical to them on matters that require a two-thirds majority (the so-called blocking third) such as approval of the budget and selection of the director general. In a highly politicized atmosphere, the possibility that major agency members would lose their veto takes on even greater significance. Some developing states, particularly from Latin America, also have opposed enlargement out of concern that any alteration could have the politically undesirable effect of diminishing their proportionate representation on the board.

However, the issue has been routinely pushed by the G-77 in a series of general conference resolutions and in consultations within the framework of the board. As in the past, the permanent board members, though unable to quell the demand for change, have been able to channel it along lines that avoid political rupture. In no small measure this has been due to the fact that any proposal holds the potential for disadvantaging one or another group, thus undermining the emergence of the consensus necessary for change. The inability to resolve the issue of elected seats has led some states (Spain, Belgium, Italy, and Sweden) to support the notion of revising the relevant article (VI) of the statute as a whole (32). In part, this reflects the interest of some of these more advanced states to avoid a situation in which they would end up underrepresented because of some future agreement on enlargement; in part, a desire to assure themselves a more permanent status on the board. This approach has not thus far significantly advanced the dialogue on representation, and the matter remains on the agenda of the board for further consideration. It bears notice that despite the keen interest of a number of states in achieving expansion, and frustration over lack of progress, the 1985 general conference has left the issue to the board for the moment (33).

Attempt to Increase the G-77's Presence in Key Staff Positions
National claims on appointments are common to all international organizations, and the IAEA is no exception. The issue got caught up in the process of selecting a new director general in 1981. After months of intense lobbying and negotiation, the candidate preferred by the developing countries lost out to the current director general, Hans Blix. In accepting this choice, the general conference, at the initiative of the G-77, passed a resolution enjoining the new director general to "increase substantially the number of staff members drawn from developing areas ... particularly at the senior and policy- making levels." (34).

The position of the G-77 has become a confrontational issue in the agency, not because there is any serious argument on the merit of the developing world's case that they are underrepresented on the agency's staff, but because of the concerns expressed by developed countries that the quality of staff, not proportional representation, should be the key consideration in all appointments. It is argued that in light of the complex technical character of its activities, IAEA performance would suffer if its appointments were governed by political principles rather than by the best interests of the agency as a whole.

Since 1981, the director general has been responsive to the resolution, occasionally drawing the ire of some advanced countries whose own candidates have been passed over in the process (35). Both in terms of total professional staff and of senior and policy-making staff, the proportion of developing country representation has increased. Whereas in 1981 slightly more than 15 percent of total staff were from developing countries, this had increased to over 22 percent by 1985. In absolute terms, there were 128 developing country nationals on staff in 1985 (out of 574 total professional staff) compared with 75 (out of 481) in 1981. That is to say, more than one-half of the newly recruited professional staff in this period were drawn from Third World nations (36).

As for senior level personnel (director and deputy director general level), nine of twenty new appointments in the period in question came from developing countries and the total percentage of senior staff from those countries increased from just over one-quarter to just under one-third. While even these advances. have left a number of developing countries less than satisfied, the general sense is that the agency is on the right track, that the trends are positive, but that further efforts are needed and the secretariat and director general are on notice that Third World nations will be watching expectantly to see how recruitment of professional staff is managed over the coming years, with the risk ever present that a perceived unrequited imbalance will generate renewed conflict (37).

Prospects for Success of the Group of 77
For the moment, the G-77 epitomizes the North-South split, supplanting the East-West division that troubled the IAEA in its early years. For awhile, a superpower condominium existed in which the interest in safeguards predominated. Safeguards remain central, but the time of condominium has passed. The agenda of the current period, which is still somewhat inchoate, promises to be more characteristic of the general North-South dialogue. It is likely to be reflected in the IAEA not only in program emphasis, but in the character and composition of the principal decision-making bodies of the agency. As matters now stand, however, no single group on the board is able to muster a controlling majority alone. However, with support from the Soviet bloc, members of the G-77 on the board would be in a position to control the outcome of a large number of issues brought before it for decision, especially if consensus decision making were to give way to formal voting. Significantly, a major factor inhibiting the G-77's effectiveness in mobilizing such a majority is Soviet agreement with the United States and other Western states on many controversial issues. This largely is a reflection of the Soviet Union's interest in effective international safeguards.

It is conceivable that an enlarged Third World group that maintained its solidarity might achieve its objectives alone. Whether the G-77 cad bring about fundamental changes is still unclear, however. The group is not as large in the IAEA as it is elsewhere in the UN system, although more than a dozen potential members are waiting in. the wings, held back in some cases only by their inability to pay membership costs.

Furthermore, the G-77 is less homogeneous or cohesive in Vienna because of a number of internal cleavages. There is the difference in nuclear standing among its members; some G-77 states are advanced, others are moderately so, and some not at all. Some wish to use nuclear power, others want to emphasize non-power uses such as radioisotopes and radiation techniques, and still others have no evident nuclear interest. Finally, some G-77 countries are parties to the nonproliferation treaty and anxious to reap benefits from having joined the treaty (for example, Mexico, the Philippines, and Egypt), while others are nonsignatories to the NPT and do not share these views (for instance, India, Pakistan, and Argentina). Thus, for the moment, the G-77 lacks the cohesiveness necessary to exercise a dominant political force within the agency. Nevertheless, all G-77 members see themselves to be on the other side of the fence from advanced nuclear states when it comes to issues of technical cooperation and technology transfer. And, because of this, they have the sense of solidarity often felt by the have-nots.

Possible Consequences of G-77's Domination
What are the long-term implications of a large, coherent G-77 presence in the IAEA? Perhaps it is instructive to consider what could happen if the G-77 dominated the board. For example, the G-77 could then-in competition for resources-emphasize promotional and technical assistance activities, possibly at the expense of safeguards Many of the G-77 countries feel less urgency about international safeguards since they see no serious regional nuclear threat to themselves. Some states, in Africa for example, are inconsistent. On the one hand, they are inclined to downplay the importance of safeguards when it is a question of scarce resources. They perceive support for increased safeguards (for which they won't have to pay in any event because of safeguards financing formulas that have been established to shield them from the effects of increased safeguards costs) as threatening the resources that may be available through voluntary contributions for technical cooperation. On the other hand, they understand that their security is better preserved if South African nuclear activities are under safeguards than if they are not. Others, such as India and Pakistan, face regional threats, and seem to prefer ambiguity and keeping open their nuclear weapons options rather than accepting comprehensive safeguards and formal NPT type undertakings. Some of the G-77 might be tempted to seek to apply agency safeguards so as to harass the unpopular states, thus turning safeguards away from their purpose of confidence building and threatening their continued acceptability. At least for these rea sons, it is urgent to make every possible effort to reduce controversy in the IAEA and to enlist the active involvement of moderate members of the G-77 who are seriously interested in peaceful uses of nuclear energy, to reinforce the constructive, cooperative, and consensus-based qualities of the Vienna agency.

Politicization from the West

It would he misleading to leave the impression that politicization is the result of Third World activism alone. That is not correct either historically or in the contemporary situation. As noted earlier, while the IAEA was largely free of extraneous politics over much of its fife, this was not entirely so. Cold War issues-such as the admission of the People's Republic of China, Hungary, North Korea, and East Germany-were systematically raised by the Soviet Union and just as systematically rejected by the United States (39). Eastern bloc countries opposed technical assistance to South Korea, South Vietnam, and Taiwan. On the grounds of alleged Israeli aggression in the Middle East war, Arab states in 1967, with Soviet support, tried to block the transfer of equipment awarded to Israel on the basis of technical merit. On its part, the United States, following a congressional mandate applicable to all international organizations, each year reduces its voluntary contribution to the IAEA by its proportionate share of whatever technical assistance is provided to Cuba and, until recently, Vietnam (40).

Complaints about politicization were not heard earlier in the West because the Western nations had the upper hand and dominated the general conference and board of governors. The view from Moscow was undoubtedly different. U.S. predominance in the general and more specific nuclear energy arena has since declined, and the influence of other groups of states has risen along with their numbers.

As U.S. influence has diminished, its insistence on principles such as universality-to which it adhered less vigorously when it was in a more favorable position-appears to have strengthened. This is evident in the Israeli policy (discussed earlier) where we noted that some dose allies of the United States saw the insistence of universalism more as a Political argument to support national policy on Israel than as a true commitment to universalism in international organizations. Some, for example, have watched with interest to see whether the United States would respond to rejection in other cases, such as South Africa. with equal vigor as it did for Israel. These criticisms, even if correct in their assessment of U.S. motivations and selectivity, overlook the importance of the underlying principle that U.S. actions defend-that any effort to restrict the rights of individual members diminishes the entire organization.

Another aspect of the U.S. contribution to politicization is the nostalgia for the "good old days," when the agency was allegedly virtually free of political considerations and devoted itself exclusively to technical and scientific matters. As we have seen, that perception does not accurately reflect the true situation. The problem today is that too much insistence on returning to an ideal situation that never quite existed can strain the structure and membership of the agency, thus generating more problems than it solves. In any event, the fact is that the political climate of the 1980s differs from that of the 1960s and must be dealt with on its own terms rather than on those that were more applicable to a bygone time and political situation.


The credibility of safeguards involves both conceptual and operational questions, several of which were introduced in the two earlier chapters describing the IAEA's safeguards system. In this section we will focus attention on the most important problems affecting the credibility of international safeguards.

Overexpectation for Safeguards

Beginning in the mid-1970s, India's nuclear test and other events (discussed earlier) generated concern that the NPT was no longer sufficient, and that the overall regime could not assure that further proliferation would not occur. Various public interest group spokesmen and academics argued that the imperfections and fundamental limitations of safeguards were sufficient reasons to forgo the commercial production and use of plutonium as a nuclear fuel, if not to abandon nuclear energy entirely. Their argument in large measure turned on a definition of safeguards that went beyond that of the IAEA statute and reflected differing views of their purpose and objective. Whether this overexpectation was innocent or cynical, it has had and continues to have a powerful effect.

A close observer of international nuclear affairs noted in 1976 that:

On the whole the greatest difficulty faced by the IAEA is overexpectation The Agency is not and cannot be a magical way to relieve the world of the problems of proliferation. It is not superhuman, nor should it be. The Agency is a finite, human institution that exists with the forbearance and support of its member states. It has the strengths and weaknesses of any international organization. Overexpectation ... can lead to unjustified disappointments, malaise and frustration and may discourage practical actions by ... member states to make the Agency more effective in dealing with proliferation (41). t

Overexpectation remains a central problem for IAEA safeguards. Perhaps this should not be surprising in view of the emphasis placed on safeguards in the international nuclear nonproliferation regime. With so central a role, it was inevitable that safeguards would be closely scrutinized for effectiveness and credibility. But while one might reasonably have expected different levels of tolerance of achievement of commonly understood objectives to emerge, there was less reason to anticipate that differences would emerge as to the purpose and objective of safeguards per se.

Prevention or Verification?

The fact is, however, that a major difficulty in coming to grips with the question of safeguards credibility is the absence of consensus on their purpose, which can be stated broadly as whether prevention or verification is at issue. Some critics of policies for controlled nuclear cooperation and of the nonproliferation regime tend to equate safe. guards with the regime and to blame them for weaknesses of the regime. Those following this school of thought tend to judge the efficacy of safeguards by their capacity to prevent proliferation by preventing the diversion of nuclear material. Under this approach, it is reasoned that if international safeguards cannot accomplish this, they should be considered of limited value, if not worthless (42).

This preventive concept of safeguards is close to the ideas of the Acheson-Lilienthal Report and the Baruch Plan, which aimed at preventing any nuclear weapons anywhere; they urged the more radical approach of international ownership and control to international inspection of nationally owned facilities. Such a conception argues for international control over the production and accumulation of nuclear material as well as safeguards to deter diversion. For partisans of this approach, the agency's safeguards should extend to physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities. But in reality this is not possible: in a world of sovereign states, physical protection is the. responsibility of nations through the exercise of their police powers. which (with the exception of the veto-controlled United Nations Security Council) is an authority denied to intergovernmental international organizations. This preventive concept also implies that the reach of safeguards should extend to diversion or theft by individuals or by criminal or terrorist groups. But this, too, remains a national responsibility, not an international one. Some who share this view go even further, arguing that if nonproliferation means preventing the acquisition by a non-nuclear weapons state of both nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material (notably plutonium or highly enriched uranium), then the effectiveness of safeguards must he judged against their capacity to prevent such acquisition. From this point of view, the agency should not only sound the alarm in case of diversion but should itself also put out the fire even though it has no fire-fighting equipment (43).

  1. Most conceive of safeguards as only one element, albeit a crucial one, of the international nonproliferation regime and see their purpose as verification and confidence building. This is the view favored by the agency. Its current director general has frequently emphasized that IAEA safeguards are a unique verification system in which governments invite on-site inspection to demonstrate that no nuclear material is being diverted, and that material under safeguards can be accounted for (44).

    Expanding on this theme, IAEA safeguards may be seen as involving three interrelated purposes- verification, deterrence, and detection. In these terms, verification enables safeguarded countries to provide objective assurance to others that they are adhering to their stated obligations and undertakings. Conversely, safeguards can give other states assurance that their assessment of the nature of nuclear activity in the neighboring safeguarded state is correct. This of course presumes that the agency's safeguards activities are perceived as adequate to make the requisite finding of no diversion. Perceptions of adequacy in turn are based on availability of information about the safeguards inspections, findings, and results (45).

  2. A second, and related objective in this perspective is to deter governments from violating their agreements that they will not divert safeguarded material to nuclear weapons. The basis for this deterrence is the risk of detection and the political and related costs that detection might entail. Not all proponents of safeguards-as-verfification endorse the notion of safeguards-as-deterrence. Some feel that since states voluntarily assume safeguards commitments, it is illogical to suggest that safeguards must somehow be required to deter them from doing what they already have agreed not to do. Others feel that emphasis on deterrence does more harm than good, since most states are fulfilling their commitments and resent any implication that they are not. This is more of a semantic than a substantive issue, however, because the safeguards activities needed to provide verification assurance are virtually the same as those involved in establishing a risk of detection sufficient to deter a diversion. In both cases, the agency must be (and more importantly be perceived to be) able on a timely basis to detect a diversion should it occur (46).

  3. A third objective - and this is the most tangible, but also perhaps the most misunderstood of the three - is to detect diversions of safeguarded nuclear materials if and when they should occur. It is the most tangible criterion in the sense that outsiders most readily associate detection with an identifiable event or incident. But it is misleading because safeguards are based primarily on material accounting, an auditing procedure, which means that "detection" of an event, which may or may not mean a diversion, is a statement about an event that already has occurred (47). Many people, however, associate detection with a burglar alarm that sounds at the very instant that a theft takes place. Indeed, that is the meaning of the "timely warning" concept incorporated in the United States Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978: there, "timely" essentially means warning in time for diplomatic efforts to prevent production of a nuclear explosive (48).
    As the proponents of safeguards-as-prevention in particular are quick to note, certain materials, such as separated plutonium and highly enriched uranium, if diverted, in principle could be used so quickly to make nuclear explosives that no timely warning would be possible; and therefore they advocate foreclosing any nuclear activities involving those weapons-usable materials.

The problem of defining the purpose of safeguards is not limited to prevention versus verification; or whether priority should be given to verification, deterrence, or detection; or whether the purpose is assurance rather than deterrence. It also extends to less abstract arguments, reflected in the fact that safeguards are means to an end, not ends in themselves, and that those ends are defined by the underlying treaty or agreement upon which a safeguards agreement with the agency is predicated.

Against such a background, it is not surprising that it is difficult to achieve consensus among all IAEA members on the purpose of safeguards except to say that they serve to verify compliance with safeguards agreements.

Judging Safeguards Effectiveness

Beyond the question of the purpose of safeguards lies the even more difficult problem of judging safeguards effectiveness. It is more difficult because both political and technical factors are involved that cannot be fully separated from one another. What is technically attainable may not be politically acceptable, and what is politically desirable in terms of degree of assurance may not be technically feasible. Difficulties also may arise out of misunderstandings about the intended purpose of particular measures, or out of alternative interpretations of different criteria. These problems affect evaluations of effectiveness and cause tensions with which the agency has had to contend, especially during the past decade.

Many of the relevant key concepts of safeguards and provisions of safeguards agreements were discussed in chapter 5. There it was noted that in drafting the NPT safeguards document the agency emphasized minimizing subjective judgment in favor of achieving greater precision with respect to the objectives of safeguards. The agency made an effort to separate

Whatever the agency may have intended when it defined and used these goals, they became a prime object of attention and a target of criticism once they were in the public domain.

The timeliness goal presents similar problems for weapons-usable materials such as separated plutonium.

This has led some supporters of safeguards to recommend altering the numerical values associated with the different variables to conform more closely with the actual capabilities of the safeguards system.

Others, however, have opposed this approach, maintaining that marginal adjustment in values would have only marginal impact on perceived safeguards effectiveness, while significant changes could so alter the anticipated levels of detection (for example, 50 or 100 kilograms of plutonium at a chemical reprocessing instead of 8 kilograms, which is the current significant quantity definition for plutonium) as to undermine general confidence in the safeguards system (54).

For its part, the IAEA has distinguished between

  1. detection goals (ultimate objectives) and

  2. inspection goals, which are basically detection goals adjusted to what is feasible and presumably attainable, although they are not always achieved in practice.

    Over time, however, the number of cases in which the agency has fully attained its inspection goals has increased substantially, as has the number of cases where inspection goals have been attained with respect to plutonium and highly enriched uranium outside reactor cores (55).

  3. In addition, the IAEA has introduced the accountancy verification goal, which defines the minimum quantity of nuclear material whose diversion could be detected with the required detection probability by using only material accounting measures. For large bulk handling facilities, this goal tends to exceed one significant quantity and constitutes the agency's recognition of the unfeasibility of achieving detection goals at some of these facilities (56).

Public awareness of the uncertainties surrounding safeguards goals has led critics to question the credibility of IAEA safeguards.

Based on the known technical limitations of those safeguards, some argue that certain nuclear materials and facilities -notably plutonium and reprocessing plants- are "inherently unsafeguardable" and that the agency and its safeguards system will be irreparably damaged if it is called upon to perform the allegedly impossible task of "safeguarding the unsafeguardable" (57). Therefore, they advocate the termination, or at least sharp curtailment, of sensitive fuel-cycle activities such as reprocessing, and discount the view that IAEA detection goals should be accepted for what they are - goals toward which the IAEA should strive, guides for rational allocation for safeguards resources, and for safeguards research and development.

It has been suggested that an alternative measure of safeguards effectiveness is the amount of inspection effort expended (58).

The relevant concepts - maximum and actual routine inspection effort (MRIE and ARIE) - were introduced in chapter 5. As noted there, the NPT safeguards document specifies the maximum routine inspection effort, but the actual effort is the result of negotiation between the agency and the state, and takes into account the presence of containment, surveillance, and other factors.
  • Typically, ARIE amounts to about one-quarter to one-third of MRIE.
  • In addition, the agency annually determines the planned actual routine inspection effort (PLARIE) it will deploy at each inspected facility, taking into consideration the operator's predicted program of activities.
PLARIE is significantly lower than what theoretically could be applied, and often lower than the agreed actual routine inspection effort, ARIE. Even so, it is not usually met.

Criticism of PLARIE comes from two directions.

  1. Some non-nuclear weapon states with large nuclear programs that are already subject to a substantial safeguards effort are reluctant to accept the idea that PLARIE figures alone could serve as an appropriate measure of safeguards effectiveness. In their view, such agreements would only lead to increased safeguards activity in the least proliferation-prone countries and, parenthetically, greater pressure for larger safeguards budgets.
  2. A different criticism is that since inspection effort levels are quite far from the original detection goals, an effort to substitute them as a basis for judging effectiveness could lead to a sense of sleight of hand, attempting to demonstrate that effectiveness is better than assumed. From this perspective, inspection effort may be a measure of something, but not of safeguards effectiveness.
From both points of view, the use of planned routine inspection effort to measure safeguards effectiveness, like the safeguards goals as they now stand, invites misunderstanding, overexpectation, and inevitable criticism and loss of confidence.

See also Model Protocol Additional to the Agreement(s) between State(s) and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards", also known as Information Circular 540, or INFCIRC/540, an improved system of safeguards aimed at strengthening the ability of the Agency to recognize any violation of safeguards agreements by member states.

Safeguards effectiveness remains a conceptual and a practical problem:

Safeguards Implementation

Beyond the largely conceptual issues of defining the purpose of safeguards and identifying a consensual basis for evaluating their effectiveness are other issues that raise questions about safeguards credibility, but do so in relation to more concrete factors and events. Some of them had been present for a long time, but became more prominent and more urgent when former IAEA inspectors challenged the adequacy of agency safeguards to deal with sensitive nuclear materials in testimony before congressional hearings held in the wake of the Israeli attack on the Iraqi reactor in 1981. The issues most often raised are discussed here (59).

A Bill of Particulars
The issues involved in safeguards implementation embrace political, technical, and management concerns (60). Political issues relate to restraints in safeguards implementation that reflect the status of safeguards as a novel institution that intrudes into the sovereignty of states that for centuries have jealously guarded that prerogative. These restraints (real or alleged) include the following:

Management issues relate to the smoothness with which inspection operations are carried out, including the examination and evaluation of inspection data, the degree to which evaluation procedures are standardized across the different safeguards operating divisions within ' in the directorate of safeguards, and similar matters. Perhaps the main area of concern is the treatment of anomalous situations, several hundred of which arise each year. How these situations are resolved is not well understood among those whose confidence in safeguards ultimately can determine the value of safeguards and their role in nonproliferation.

Assessing the Charges
Standing alone, this list of particulars is somewhat awesome. How is it to be evaluated (64)? The short answer to the political criticisms could be that the activities in which the IAEA is engaged are novel and touch the very heart of sovereignty and therefore are to be expected: international organizations have their limits; they are creatures of the states that created them and lack independent authority. But this reply fails to adequately acknowledge the security relevance of safeguards and the general importance of nonproliferation. A closer look indicates that while there are indeed limitations and weaknesses of the kind described, in many instances they are less daunting than they appear, and they are in any event the subject of continuing and often intensive corrective efforts.

In some cases, it is less a question of whether the agency has particular rights than whether and to what extent it will exercise them. In others, it is a situation of real limitations to which adjustments must be made. Thus, while it is true that the IAEA does not have unlimited access even within NPT states, and lacks authority to seek out undeclared facilities or material, it is also true that in the case of NPT non-nuclear weapon states, the agency has the right and obligation to apply safeguards to all peaceful nuclear activities, and for its part the state is obliged to declare all nuclear material. A state that fails to do so is in default of its commitments under the treaty and of its safeguards agreement. Two other factors are relevant here:

  1. that it is not unreasonable to assume that states taking on commitments intend to honor them and have a stake in providing all information necessary to secure a dean bill of health from the independent inspecting authority; and
  2. that in a very large number of states the agency already has a running record of nuclear activity and can, therefore, have substantial confidence in its findings.

Furthermore, inspections may reveal discrepancies that suggest the presence of undeclared materials or facilities, and the agency has the right under the safeguards document to call for further information and to request more extensive inspection if anomalous situations cannot otherwise be resolved. A state's reluctance to cooperate can lead the director general to report this to the board. While not detecting a diversion, this whole process essentially enables safe. guards to fulfill their responsibility -as defined in INFCIRC/153- verify that all nuclear materials are accounted for, or to serve notice that such verification cannot be achieved. The question is both one of rights and of the agency's determination and will to exercise them.

This raises the question of political will. The possibility cannot be ignored that an anomalous situation laced with ambiguities and involving a less than cooperative state could lead the secretariat to defer, even indefinitely, informing the board. But the record to date seems to indicate a different result. Between 1981 and 1983, the agency made the determination that it was not in a position to verify that no diversion had taken place at several facilities subject to its safeguards. This finding of non-verification demonstrated that the IAEA was capable of reaching such a conclusion and was prepared to bring the issue before the board of governors. With the support of the board, the agency was able to renegotiate the safeguards arrangements and to bring the facilities in question under effective safeguards. The task was not easy, nor was it achieved quickly, but it was done. In another case in 1984, an NPT state had failed to notify the agency of the export of a quantity of depleted uranium. This created an anomalous situation that was picked up by the safeguards system and subsequently judged to be an accounting anomaly. This incident also was brought to the attention of the board.

Access to facilities into which nuclear material subject to safeguards has not been introduced raises an issue that has been the subject of frequent debate. Some argue that INFCIRC/153 safeguards apply only to nuclear material; others contend that pressing this argument only leads to legalistic interpretations that overlook the fundamental fact that in practice the application of safeguards involves the facilities intimately because they normally cannot be separated from the material they contain. Safeguards may apply only to materials, but materials are located at facilities (65). Moreover, the agency has the right to request special inspections involving access to locations in addition to those open to routine inspections if it is of the view that the information it is receiving from the safeguarded state "is not adequate for the Agency to fulfill its responsibilities. . . (66)."

Designation of inspectors has posed problems for the agency because it has undercut efforts to improve safeguards efficiency, which for many states goes hand in glove with safeguards effectiveness (67). On the other hand, there has been some improvement in recent years. The increasing size of the inspectorate has. provided an added degree of flexibility by deepening the pool from which inspectors can be drawn. Whereas in 1980 there were only about 750 approved designations in 51 states, in 1985 the IAEA had secured 1,500 designations in 56 states. This is an ongoing problem and the agency is currently seeking agreement that all inspectors assigned to one of the three operating divisions in the Department of Safeguards would be accredited to all states covered by that division. This has not yet become a reality, however. Admittedly, the designation issue has not yet resulted in a crisis of confidence in the agency's ability to objectively carry out its safeguards responsibilities. But that could come at any moment, and now may be the time for the director general to impress upon the board of governors the urgency of resolving the matter of inspector designation and averting the risk that limitations on designation might lead to questions about the credibility of safeguards.

In addition to improving the situation for inspector designation, the agency has taken steps to overcome the problem of securing visas for inspectors. In some cases, visas are required for every visit, thus rendering an unannounced inspection virtually impossible; in others, visas are not required. The agency already has established field offices in japan and Canada, thus eliminating the visa problem in two states with major or nuclear programs. And it is working toward multiple-visa arrangements in other parts of the world.

The publicizing of safeguards involves two audiences.

  1. One is the board of governors, which has overall responsibility for the agency.
  2. The other is the relevant public in the member states.
In 1977, at the prodding of the United States, the agency began to prepare an annual Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR) to inform the board of developments, problems, and progress in, the implementation of safeguards. These are extensive documents that are constantly being revised in format to provide readable, comprehensive, and meaningful reports.

The main tension that arises in publicizing safeguards activities and results is that between transparency and confidentiality.

As for the technical issues, an evaluation of the claims reveals a more positive and encouraging picture than might be assumed. As for the inspectorate, a lifelong participant in the international nuclear arena recently noted that "Agency safeguards personnel, including the inspectors, are an impressive group, demonstrating technical capability, political judgment and seriousness of purpose in the vast majority of cases" and that "this assessment is widely shared by officials of safeguarded facilities themselves" (68). This is, of course, a subjective judgment, but it is quite in keeping with the consensus view about the overall safeguards system expressed by the participants at the Third NPT Review Conference that already has been mentioned and that will be returned to shortly.

For its part, the IAEA has established a training section devoted exclusively to improving the training of inspectors; training manuals have been developed, and an intensive training program has been carried out, especially in the past five years. This includes field exercises at nuclear plants for all new inspectors, advanced courses in inspection procedures, and refresher courses at regular intervals for seasoned inspectors. This does not mean that problems do not exist. For example, as might he expected in any organization having both operational and evaluation divisions, there is a conflict of interest between operators whose performance is measured in terms of production, and development personnel (Including analysts who design safeguards approaches) whose efforts lead to changes and hence to disruption of production. This undoubtedly will continue to have an impact on strategic choices regarding research and development, selection of inspection instrumentation for use in the field, and distribution between field and home base insofar as evaluation activities are concerned (69).

The quality of equipment and the adequacy of instrumentation for safeguards is a continuing problem that has been the subject of a good deal of agency research and development. During the congressional hearings following the Israeli attack in June 198 1, some emphasis was placed on the failure rate of film cameras, the alleged poor quality and easy duplication of agency seals, and the unreliability of measurement instruments that, because of their role in safeguarding of material accountancy, played a very central role (70).

With the assistance of a number of member states (for example, the United States through its Program on Technical Assistance for Safeguards (POTAS) and counterpart programs in a half-dozen other advanced nuclear states), the agency has significantly upgraded safeguards equipment during the past five years. The failure rate for cameras, for example, is only one-third the characteristic rate for 1980, and much greater emphasis is being given to closed-circuit television to supplement or replace surveillance cameras or both. Fibre-optic seals are playing a progressively more important role, supplementing cup and wire seals, and research and development is being conducted on ultrasonic seal devices. Canada provided the necessary research and development to develop substantially improved safeguards at on-load fuel reactors of the CANDU type, which now exist in Canada, Korea, India, and Argentina; Argentina has been cooperating with the agency in improving the quality of safeguards at this type reactor. As in the case of the inspectorate, this does not "solve" the equipment problem, but it narrows an important gap and serves to upgrade safeguards.

Endorsement of the NPT Review Conference

The director general of the IAEA frequently has emphasized the value of safeguards as an international confidence-building measure. The preceding discussion of problem areas and progress in the arena of safeguards may give reason to wonder about reaching a conclusion that safeguards foster such confidence. Perhaps the most authoritative judgment was that rendered by the eighty-six states party to the NPT who participated in the Third NPT Review Conference in August and September 1985. The results of that conference are important and germane to our discussion. The conference report expressed:

the conviction that IAEA safeguards provide assurance that states are complying with their undertakings and assist states in demonstrating this compliance. They thereby promote further confidence among states and ... help to strengthen their collective security. IAEA safeguards play a key role in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.


The Conference notes with satisfaction the improvement of IAEA safeguards which has enabled it to continue to apply safeguards effectively during a period of rapid growth in the number of safeguarded facilities.

It also notes that IAEA safeguards approaches are capable of adequately dealing with facilities under safeguards . . . . (71)

A concurring endorsement came in the November 1985 summit meeting between President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev (72). Of course, these statements do not solve the many problems confronting effective safeguards today; but they do provide the basis upon which to carry forward the long-standing objective of making nuclear energy feasible in a world of nation states. And most importantly, they reflect the kind of positive and forward-looking attitude that is absolutely essential for there to be any success in constructive strengthening of the nuclear nonproliferation regime.


Since 1970, when the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons came into force, the IAEA has been responsible for administering the safeguards required by that treaty. Most of the agency's members have become parties to the NPT, but a number of member states have chosen not to undertake the NPT commitments. Several. of the latter -including India, Argentina, Brazil, and Pakistan- have become increasingly critical of what they perceive to be * a steady pressure by the secretariat and some member states toward conforming all agency safeguards activities to the standards of the NPT. Among other drawbacks, they see this as entailing the functional equivalent of imposing full-scope safeguards without any voluntary agreement to do so.

This trend, in their view, distorts the application of the agency statute under which safeguards are a purely voluntary arrangement and wherein states, when they do accept them have the option, depending upon the source of the safeguards obligation, to accept safeguards on imported materials and items only or on all of their nuclear activities. These nations also regard this trend as a challenge to the legitimacy of their own more limited concept of safeguards, requiring them to defend what appears to others an unorthodox point of view. They see this occurring not only in the occasional suggestions to bring the non-NPT and NPT safeguards documents into line with one another, but in other more subtle ways as well, for example in efforts by the secretariat to achieve that result by creating new safeguards rights and precedents through the medium of technical improvements and updating of agreements to take advantage of advances in the state of the art of safeguarding.

The more the IAEA appears to act as agent for the NPT, the greater the tension becomes. In an effort to come to grips with this problem, and to ameliorate the tension it creates, Director General Blix in 1984 said:

There might sometimes be a tendency to view Agency safeguards as a kind of appendage to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).... The Treaty had in fact enabled a very large number of non-nuclear weapon states, larger than the number of Agency member states, solemnly to commit themselves to foregoing nuclear weapons and to ensure that their compliance was verified through safeguards.... However, notwithstanding the very great importance of the NPT, it should be borne in mind that IAEA safeguards were based directly on the Agency's Statute. NPT made use of the Agency's safeguards, as did the Tlatelolco Treaty. ... [but] It should not be overlooked ... that a State so wishing could still, through a bilateral agreement with the Agency, commit itself to safeguards verification that all its present and future nuclear activities were for peaceful purposes."

Even though this statement implied a preference for full-scope rather than partial safeguards, some of the concerned non-NPT states have viewed it as reaffirmation of the priority of the statute in agency affairs (74). The largely political and symbolic character of this problem can be seen from the fact that current differences in actual application of the two safeguards documents are insignificant.

Objections to Safeguards Implementation

As discussed earlier, since 1977, the agency has prepared a Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR) each year, to provide better information to member states about safeguards implementation and to improve the basis upon which members can assess the quality and effectiveness of IAEA safeguards. The SIR contains the data base upon which the secretariat and subsequently the board of governors draw a conclusion as to whether all safeguarded nuclear material remained in peaceful nuclear activity or was adequately accounted for otherwise. The reports identify problems that exist but do not name problem states or facilities, because their presentation is based on the principle of anonymity to protect the confidentiality of safeguards information and specific provisions of safeguards agreements.

Non-NPT members nevertheless have taken issue with the manner in which information is presented, most particularly because it distinguished between safeguards carried out under the NPT and non-NPT arrangements and provides information on unsafeguarded nuclear facilities, materials, and activities in non-nuclear weapon states. Non-NPT members argue that it is not the agency's business to say anything about activities that are outside its responsibility, and that by so doing the agency discriminates against some IAEA member states in a manner contrary to its statute. Furthermore, they contend that even mentioning unsafeguarded facilities implies questionable behavior on the part of the state involved, thereby impugning its motives and integrity. The burden of this argument is that the purpose of safeguards is to verify compliance with safeguards agreements and not to raise questions about nonproliferation or other such matters; that the secretariat should indicate possible cases of noncompliance with agreements but not cast doubt on compliance by commenting on the existence or nonexistence of facilities or materials not subject to safeguards.

IAEA Articulation of External Agreements

Non-NPT members also complain about the agency's growing role as a vehicle for articulation of NPT and other nonproliferation regime agreements reached by states outside the framework of the IAEA. They criticize, for example, the agency's publication of the London supplier guidelines and its adoption as guidelines of principles that are not, in their view, consistent with the agency's statute (75).

An important case in point was the decision by the board of governors in February 1979 to approve new technical assistance guidelines, which stated the principle that the peaceful uses of atomic energy exclude "research on, or development, testing or manufacturing of a nuclear explosive device (76). This removed peaceful nuclear explosions from the ambit of acceptable nuclear activity, which, while fully consistent with the NPT, went beyond the IAEA statute. It also reflected language incorporated into more recent safeguards agreements concluded between the agency and such non-NPT member states as Argentina and Spain (77). These agreements provide that none of the items subject to the agreement "shall be used for the manufacture of any nuclear weapon or to further any other military purpose or for the manufacture of any other nuclear explosive device" [emphasis supplied] (78).

Although Argentina had negotiated a safeguards agreement containing this language, it strongly protested its introduction as a general criterion. Argentina charged that this was foreign to the agency's statute and was a surrogate way of enforcing on the entire membership principles agreed to by only some of the agency's members (79). Brazil and India have adopted a similar position (80). Both. India and Argentina continue to argue the legitimacy of peaceful nuclear explosives. They have refrained from making any requests for technical assistance since the adoption of the guidelines by the board. More generally, these and other non-NPT members take the view that the IAEA is heading toward making achievement of nonproliferation objectives its primary concern, even at the risk of hampering the development -let alone, promotion- of peaceful nuclear activities. This view is ' also shared by some NPT developing states.

Another example of the problem discussed here can be found in the field of technical assistance. As discussed below, the agency provides funding for projects deemed to be technically qualified for assistance from the resources made available by member states in the form of voluntary contributions. Technically qualified projects for which funding is unavailable are incorporated in a footnote, the so-called "footnote A," of the Report of the Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee to the Board of Governors. Supplier states reviewing the report traditionally provide additional funds to support some projects included in this footnote. Most of the key supplier states are parties to the NPT, and the majority of them have been giving preferential treatment in funding "footnote X' projects to developing countries that are parties to the NPT. Non-NPT member states individually and as a group have protested the use of the agency as an instrument for applying an external treaty that results in discrimination among agency members as contrary to the IAEA's statute.`

The main concern of the non-NPT states is to preserve the legitimacy of their own peaceful nuclear activities, even if it means arguing for the legitimacy of peaceful nuclear explosives (which they may not even intend to pursue) and against full-scope safeguards. They seek affirmation of that legitimacy by agency institutions such as the board, if not by positive acts, then at least by avoidance of actions that put them on the defensive. They seek to maintain a definition of nuclear development that precedes the NPT, and to ensure that this remains a part of the IAEA's credo.

Efforts to Mobilize the Group of 77

To achieve these objectives, the non-NPT members seek to mobilize the G-77 which, as we have seen, contains some states with little current interest in nuclear energy and, therefore, no particular stake in protecting the organization against political buffeting from confrontations between NPT and non-NPT member states. These states accept whatever benefits they can derive from technical assistance, and they are amenable followers of the articulate, and sometimes aggressive, leadership of countries such as India, which have well-defined interests and clearly defined agendas and are fully prepared to trade on Third World solidarity to achieve their objectives. They tend to see things more in terms of North-South conflicts than do others. Moderate members of the G-77 who also are NPT parties, but who are interested in seeing the agency serve as a channel of reward for their treaty adherence, are caught between their NPT status and their sense of solidarity with the Group of 77. Thus far, they have been unable to abate the confrontation over these issues, or to establish unequivocal leadership aimed at constructive reinforcement of the agency. There is considerable concern both in and outside the IAEA as to whether these differences can be contained to avoid undermining the institution.

Reconciling NPT and Non-NPT Members

The challenge facing the principal IAEA members today that of reconciling two groups of states that are divided by their participation in a treaty that reflects values and commitments not uniformly shared by the entire membership. There is no way to effectively divorce the NPT from the IAEA, and there can be no acquiescence by the majority in the fundamentalist values of the non-NPT members. For the agency to continue as a viable and effective institution, a way of reconciling these conflicting relationships must be found. This is one of a number of important challenges for U.S. leadership in the agency.


Historically, the advanced nuclear states have dominated the IAEA. With their nationals occupying most of the principal posts in the secretariat, they have largely shaped the agenda for the board of governors, act the programs, and defined the rules of the game whereby the agency operates. Although their influence is more tenuous today, for a long time this dominance by the big powers was accepted by most of the membership, which felt their interests were reasonably represented and that the agency was generally responsive to their principal concerns.

Of course, in the earlier years the number of countries with nuclear power programs was smaller, as was the kind and amount of assistance that most of the member states could reasonably absorb. And until the agency was made responsible for implementing the safeguards provisions of the NPT, resource demands for this activity remained limited and modest in growth. From 1958 to 1967, for example, agency expenditures for safeguards totaled slightly over $3 million, while more than $23 million was spent on all of the other program activities. The NPT made a difference. Between 1978 and 1982, the agency spent $109 million on safeguards and $116.7 million for all other activities (82).

Some Statistical Comparisons

During the twenty-five years from 1957 to 1982, the IAEA spent over $213 million for nonsafeguards activities, including providing for training courses, experts, equipment, research contracts, fellowships, publications, advisory missions, and professional meetings. Technical assistance activities were modest during the first fifteen years, totaling $43.7 million, but this accelerated in the following decade to reach a total of $169.5 million between 1973 and 1982. Safeguards funds in the same twenty-five-year period totaled $147.2 million. Funding for safeguards, however, had increased at twice the rate for technical assistance over the last ten years of that period and almost equaled the total expenditures for all other programs for 1978-1982.

In the past several years, these trends have been somewhat modified because of substantial increases in the resources being made available through voluntary contributions to the Technical Assistance and Cooperation Fund. In 1981, for example, the target for contributions to that fund was $13 million (compared with $8.5 million in 1979), but by 1985 it had doubled to $26 million. The target for 1986 was $30 million, and for 1987, $34 million. As a general rule, more than 90 percent of pledges made are fulfilled. Of course, technical cooperation funds are not limited to contributions to the fund, but also include extra-budgetary financial resources, assistance in kind, and UNDP funds.

Safeguards funding by way of comparison was $26.3 million in 1981, $33.6 million in 1983, $36.6 million in 1984, and $39.7 million in 1985. Of course, well over 90 percent of safeguards expenditures are provided through the assessed budget and do not depend on voluntary contributions, although such extra-budgetary resources are made available to the agency by a number of advanced nuclear states (83). To put the 1984 figure into perspective, it may be noted that for the same year the police force budget (admittedly involving activities beyond the scope of the IAEA) for Portland, Oregon, a modest-sized American city (population 372,892), exceeded $39 million.

The agency's technical cooperation and assistance activities, while modest by some standards, are nevertheless significant for the international nuclear regime. Its safeguards services are the condition sine qua non for any significant international nuclear cooperation and commerce. Agency allocations for these two major functions, which are funded on different bases, are nevertheless a source of friction among IAEA members.

Log-Rolling by Developing Countries

Developing country member states have not been quiescent. Historically, one of the first resolutions passed by the general conference called for priority on activities of direct relevance to developing countries, and this caused some changes in the agency's initial program (84). The developing countries also lobbied hard and successfully against resistance from many advanced nuclear states (and the advice of the director general's Scientific Advisory Committee) to establish an International Center for Theoretical Physics at Trieste, and later a regional radioisotope center in Cairo (85). They also succeeded in altering the distribution of agency research contracts by winning agreement that preference would be given to developing countries if the work accomplished there would he basically equivalent to work that could be carried out in the laboratories of an advanced nuclear state. Nearly two-thirds of almost 2,000 contracts awarded between 1958 and 1982 went to developing country member states as a result (86). In 1966, following an internal review of agency activities that was initiated by the developing countries, the general conference adopted a resolution allowing the agency to supply equipment for technical assistance purposes independent of any expert services (87). This important decision, at variance with normal UN practice, set the stage for a pattern of IAEA technical assistance that included a much larger share of hardware than is common in international technical cooperation In earlier years, equipment normally would be accompanied by an expert to facilitate training and use for supplied equipment. Commencing in 1985, many regular and "footnote X' projects are once again being assigned a training component, apparently in an effort to improve the effectiveness of the assistance being provided.

Third World Efforts to Name a Director General

Similarly, on matters of representation, developing countries periodically have sought greater control over administration of the agency. Although covered in the discussion of politicization, this subject deserves some further comment because of its relationship to attempts by Third World countries to exert influence over the direction and emphasis of IAEA activities. When Sterling Cole, the first director general, retired in 1961, the developing countries nominated Sudjawro of Indonesia for the post, arguing that they were inadequately represented in the top echelons of the agency and that the best way to rectify the situation would be to install a Third World national at the head of the secretariat. They were unsuccessful.

Twenty years later, following the retirement of Sigvard Eklund, a much larger and more aggressive group of Third World nations, after again failing to win the necessary two-thirds majority for their candidate, tried unsuccessfully to secure adoption of an arrangement whereby the director general's post would rotate between advanced and developing nations. The compromise resolution finally reached nevertheless provides that in the future, candidates from all regions should be given serious consideration. So it is altogether possible that when Hans Blix retires, a Third World candidate will be elected to the post (89).

A Bias Toward Safeguards

The issue of balance has been stimulated by what Third World countries see as an increasing bias by the agency toward safeguards at the expense of technical assistance. This view is widely shared across the full spectrum of developing country member states, from those that are well advanced to those with only rudimentary nuclear programs and interests; and by those that are NPT parties as well as those that are not (90). Non-NPT states have used the perception of imbalance to generate sentiment against significant increases in agency safeguards activity. The problem has somewhat abated recently in light of the significant increase noted earlier in resources available for the agency's technical cooperation program. But it lingers just beneath the surface and is defined not only by the amount of assistance available at any given time, but also by the degree of certainty of its availability, as will be discussed below.

The argument over balance reflects the comparatively sharp increase of resources allocated to safeguards as compared with technical assistance in the mid-1970s to early 1980s. Counting resources can be a tricky business. The representative of Pakistan speaking at the 1984 general conference, for example, noted that since 1970 the agency's safeguards budget had increased by a factor of 27 (from $1.23 million to $33.7 million), while allocations to technical assistance for the same period of time had increased only by a factor of 9 (from $2.7 million to $23.5 million) (91). If, however, one includes in technical assistance allocations both the voluntary cash contributions that go into the IAEA's Technical Assistance and Cooperation Fund, and other extra-budgetary contributions, in-kind gifts, and UNDP resources, the 1984 total for technical assistance rises to approximately $36 million - a sixteen-fold increase.

An important related consideration is that almost from the inception of rising safeguards costs, a safeguards-financing formula has been in effect. This formula relieves developing countries from the burden they would have to shoulder if they were to pay the normal full contribution to safeguards. At the same time, it is intended to implement the principle that since safeguards benefit the entire international community, not only by making global nuclear commerce possible, but also by contributing to international security, all states should participate in their financing. Under this arrangement, the nuclear weapon states pay more than 50 percent of the safeguards budget and 36 member states pay more than 98 percent of safeguards costs. The entire Third World membership of the IAEA collectively contributes less than 2 percent of the safeguards budget. The formula in question was first approved in 197 1, revised in 1976, and has continued since then. In 1984, the general conference asked the board of governors to review the arrangement and make a recommendation that would support a long-term solution to the question of safeguards financing, but thus far no consensus has emerged around any new formulation (92).

Nonetheless, there remains a significant difference between the rate at which the two budgets have grown (a sixteen-fold versus a twenty-seven-fold increase), especially if one takes the view, as Third World countries do, that at the very least, IAEA promotional activities deserve to be treated on a par with safeguards (93). The existence of this financial gap, and what it implies in terms of priorities within the agency, is predictably of concern to Third World members. That concern generates Third World pressure for more technical assistance, including more resources. It also fuels efforts, discussed earlier, to restructure the board of governors by increasing Third World representation.

Reliable Funding for Technical Assistance

Perhaps even more than levels and trends in support for technical assistance, developing countries have been concerned about the reliability of funding for this purpose. While safeguards are included in the assessed (regular) budget, technical assistance depends almost entirely on voluntary *contributions that are not part of the regular budget, although they have been stable over the long term. There have been periodic pressures to finance technical assistance through the regular budget. In 1981, the general conference adopted a resolution calling for funding of technical assistance through the regular budget or by other "comparably predictable and assured means."(94) Donor states have strongly resisted the idea of integrating technical assistance funding into the regular budget. They argue that this would be quite inconsistent with the usual practice in international organizations, but their unstated reason almost certainly is the politics that this kind of measure would bring to the board of governors, and the likely effect of such politics on the agency's ability to carry out its activities, especially safeguards whose financing then would be formally linked to technical assistance funding. Furthermore, this change could be achieved only by statutory amendment, which creates its own set of problems in the minds of many member states (95).

"Comparable means" however, have been devised. The agency has informally adopted what is called an indicative planning approach, whereby voluntary contribution targets are agreed upon by major contributors for periods of three years at a time. The approach has had remarkable success and earned the praise and support of the vast majority of its membership for providing substantial resources for technical assistance on what has thus far been a reliable and assured basis. Thus, from 1980 to 1985, when the regular budget increased by 55 percent, technical assistance funding increased by nearly 250 percent, based on the indicative planning figures approach. Whereas the target for technical assistance funding before 1970 never exceeded $2 million, it reached $10 million by 1980, $22 million by 1984, and $30 million in 1986. The percentage increases have been impressive, ranging from 12 percent now set for 1987, 1988, and 1989, to over 23 percent at the initial stages of indicative planning. While the percentage increases have diminished in recent years, the absolute increases have been rising from between $2 and $3 million in the initial stages to between $3.5 and $4.0 minion for the period between 1984 and 1989. And in the process it has contributed to agency stability by avoiding the tensions and attendant political controversy characteristic of annual budget negotiations, as well as the risk that discussions of the budgetary support level for safeguards would be linked to the level of technical assistance being provided. To the contrary, it has been possible to separate the two and thereby to contribute, if modestly, to diminishing politicization.

Ironically, this has come at a time when zero-growth budgeting has been applied to international organizations generally, including the IAEA. Although many of the agency's program activities have felt the pinch of budget stringency, technical assistance, as demonstrated, actually has taken some of its most impressive leaps. Voluntary funding, in other words, has allowed the agency to increase technical assistance faster than any other activity while maintaining the appearance of a zero-growth budget. Recognizing this, a number of the developing states have endorsed continuation of the concept of indicative planning and have given enthusiastic endorsements to the method and its output at meetings of the general conference (96). While continuing to stress the importance of both augmenting technical assistance and securing assured and predictable financing, these states have come to recognize that changes can incur risks especially at a time, like now, when zero growth budgeting has become a watchword for donor states in dealing with international organizations. The arrangements for technical cooperation financing just described manage to avoid the budgetary scalpel because they are based on voluntary contributions. Nevertheless, indicative planning is still regarded by many developing states as an interim measure, which does not resolve the issue of long-term funding for technical assistance and cooperation.

Two matters that suggest the fragile nature of the current consensus deserve mention. One is the fact that not all members in a position to do so pledge support, and among those who do there has in recent years been a less-than-satisfactory record of pledging on a timely basis and of paying pledged contributions. The second relates to the footnote A projects introduced earlier. Footnote A projects, it will be recalled, are those that have been approved by the board for support but for which adequate funding is unavailable from the agency's technical cooperation fund. Funding of such projects is dependent on the willingness and ability of advanced states to pick up one or another project. In fact, a substantial proportion of footnote A projects are funded annually, most of them on a preferential basis defined by whether or not the recipient state is party to the NPT. This practice has been challenged systematically by countries such as India, Pakistan, and Argentina as discriminatory and a violation of the statute of the agency. Countries like the United States, which carry out the practice of providing footnote A assistance only to states meeting certain criteria, disagree, asserting that extra-budgetary resources can be deployed according to the wishes of the donor (97).

In many respects, the footnote A procedure has served as an important safety valve, funding technically meritorious projects, facilitating the development of nuclear activities and programs in member states, and lowering the incentives of recipients to make a political issue of the level and method of technical cooperation funding. The number and value of projects in footnote A has roughly doubled between 1981 and 1986. On the one hand, this increase may reflect growing interest in nuclear development and greater sophistication in putting forward technically high-quality proposals. But it also indicates growing demand that, in times of financial stringency, may go unsatisfied. If that were to occur, it would not be long before frustrations built up and new tensions surfaced, especially if safeguards costs were to continue to rise, as they are destined to do as increasingly complex nuclear facilities come under agency safeguarding responsibility. Hence, the long-term issue of achieving "comparably predictable and assured resources" to what would exist if technical assistance were under the aegis of the regular budget remains to be resolved (98).

Political and Symbolic Benefits of an Acceptable Balance

What might appear simply to be a numerical balancing game is, in fact, an important political and symbolic issue. The agency's membership is heterogeneous. Different groups of states espouse different values and seek different objectives. The advanced states emphasize safeguards, although not necessarily for identical reasons. The United States and the Soviet Union give the highest priority to IAEA safeguards because of their importance to the international nonproliferation regime, which they regard as essential to their global security interests. Most other major supplier states that support safeguards do so in recognition of the security benefits, but also because they are persuaded that international nuclear commerce, which is their central concern, requires an effective international safeguards system.

Developing country member states emphasize promotion, development, and assistance. So their support for safeguards has become the quid pro quo for assistance. In their view the reciprocal also is true-assistance is the quid pro quo for supporting safeguards. Importantly, most of these countries appreciate that technical assistance has increased as much as it has because of increases in support for safeguards, and that without safeguards the agency's technical assistance program would be only a fraction of what it is. But there are differences here also. Some members are NPT parties and others are not. The more technically advanced NPT states among them realize that their opportunity to capitalize on nuclear energy depends on their support for international safeguards. Some of them also are persuaded that effective safeguards are in their national security interest. That certainly appears to be the message of the third NPT review conference held in Geneva in August and September 1985, the final declaration of which underscored the conviction of the conference that "IAEA safeguards provide assurance that states are complying with their undertakings ... promote further confidence among states and ... help to strengthen their collective security," and that the acceptance of the IAEA safeguards on all peaceful nuclear activities in non-nuclear weapon states "is a major contribution by those states to regional and international security ." (99)

Even in the face of this ringing affirmation, statements to the effect that safeguards are in everybody's interest are not as deeply embedded or secure as one might hope. Many states, even while endorsing safeguards, have given little thought to the security benefits they provide. And, in many cases, because they have modest or even negligible interests in nuclear energy, they are vulnerable to arguments - particularly from the non-NPT Third World states- that the priority given to safeguards by the IAEA distorts the purposes of its statutes. The argument continues that this priority biases resource allocations, depriving these states of opportunities that otherwise would be available to make effective use of nuclear technology. This kind of reasoning, even though largely self-serving on the part of its promoters, evokes emotional charges of neo-imperialism and encourages polarization along North-South lines. Controversy over resources and opportunity, as we have noted earlier, typically generates greater solidarity among the developing countries per se than the solidarity of those that are parties to the, NPT feel toward their advanced-state NPT partners.

This situation defines the problem of balance in the agency today. It underscores the political need to establish and maintain an acceptable equity between the two statutory purposes of the IAEA. It also underscores the symbolic importance of maintaining substantial, and perhaps even increasing, levels of funding for technical assistance in order to more firmly lock in the support of Third World countries for a vigorous safeguards program. Freezing technical assistance, as some of the advanced states would prefer, would give the impression that technical assistance is deemed unimportant, and would reinforce the argument of those who contend that the only interest of the major powers is to promote their nonproliferation objectives through the agency, even at the cost of hampering its peaceful nuclear activities.

The Limitations of Technology Transfer

One of the great concerns in much of this is the practical reality that increased technical assistance for many countries will not bring them substantially closer to effective use of nuclear energy. They may lack the infrastructure to usefully absorb additional resources, or the capacity to identify and formulate programs and projects that could make constructive use of the assistance that already is available. (There is no shortage of complaints, from officials who are in a position to know, that there is less efficiency in the use of agency resources than one would like to admit.) Recognition of this is one of the reasons for the reintroduction, starting in 1985, of a training component for many agency technical assistance projects. In this situation, perhaps the most useful thing for the IAEA to do would be to intensify efforts already in place, as a consequence of a major board review of technical assistance in 1983, to provide special assistance in project identification and longer term planning for, and with, countries with limited nuclear experience." (100) Parenthetically, in examining infrastructure capabilities and requirements, the agency is in an excellent position to assess optimal energy-development strategies in many countries and to evaluate the relative usefulness of pursuing nuclear approaches or exploring, with appropriate expertise, non-nuclear approaches.

For Third World states that have established the requisite infrastructure and engineering components of a nuclear power program, there still remains the problem of financing of nuclear power programs. Agency recognition of this issue can be traced to 1969 when the general conference asked the director general to study "the likely capital ... requirements for nuclear projects in developing countriesuring the next decade, and ... ways and means to secure financing for such projects from international and other sources." (101) This question was raised again at the 1985 NPT Review Conference, the final declaration of which "recognizes ... the difficulties which developing countries face ... particularly with respect to financing their nuclear power programmes" and urges "the establishment of favourable conditions ... for financing of ... nuclear power programmes in developing countries (102). Pursuant to a review conference recommendation, the IAEA has proposed to establish a special group of experts to study ways to assist developing countries in financing nuclear power programs. 103 While involvement in financial arrangements for implementing nuclear power projects lies beyond the agency's statutory responsibilities, the problem of dealing with the financial handicap question is one more area that may pose an important challenge for North-South relations in the agency, which could affect the overall question of balancing safeguards and technical assistance and cooperation.


1. The South African incident demonstrates the extent of U.S.-Soviet cooperation in the IAEA. It was a Soviet satellite that first picked up the activity in the Kalahari desert and led to Soviet notification to the United States so that further investigation could be made. One could easily ily imagine that the Soviet Union could have sought to capitalize politically on the situ ation, but it instead chose to work toward the nonproliferation goal it shared with the United States.

2. The discussion that follows is based to a significant extent on more than forty interviews conducted by the author with present and former members of the IAEA secretariat, and with a cross-section of resident representatives and general conference participants in Vienna during the autumn of 1984 and the spring of 1985.

3. Cited in Arnold Kramish, The Peaceful Atom and Foreign Policy (New York, Harper & Row, 1963) p. 218.

4. See Glenn T. Seaborg, Travels in the New World, Report PUB- 113 (Berkeley, Calif., Lawrence Berkeley laboratory, 1977) p. 486.

5. IAEA, GC(XX)/RES/336 (1976). See chapter 3 for a discussion of the structure of the board and of the criteria governing representation thereon.

6. IAEA, GC(XXIII)/OR.211 (1979). The decision to reject the South African delegate's credentials was phrased in terms of his representing "a racist and illegal regime."

7. The vote was eighteen to eleven with five abstentions. See IAEA, GOV/ DEC/1 13 (XXIV) September 1981.

8. IAEA, GC(XXIX)/RES/442 (1985).

9. In 1985, the United States abstained rather than vote against a resolution on South Africa (as it had done in 1981 in the case regarding South African participation in the IAEA's Committee on Assurance of Supply), perhaps because of its desire to marshal as much support as possible in dealing with the Israeli issue discussed below.

10. U.N. RES/487 (June 19,1981).

11. The IAEA Statute does not make provision for expelling a member state, but does provide for suspension from rights and privileges of membership either for noncompliance with safeguards undertakings (IAEA Statute, Article XXILC) or for persistent violation of the statute or of agreements the state has entered into pursuant to the statute (IAEA Statute, Article XIX.B). A member state also may be suspended from privileges if it is in arrears in payments of its financial contributions to the agency beyond a certain point (IAEA Statute, Article X1X.A).

12. These points are raised in IAEA, GC(XXV)/OR.237, paragraphs 23 and 54 (1981), and in IAEA, GC(XXVI)/OR.245, paragraph 8 (1982).

13. IAEA GC(XXV)/RES/381 (198 1).

14. The vote was forty-three to twenty-seven with sixteen abstentions whereas forty-seven supporting votes were needed.

15. IAEA, GC(XXVI)1675 (1982).

16. IAEA, GC(XXVI)/RES/404 (1982).

17. The certification referred to arose out of congressional reaction to the denial of Israeli credentials. In approving the continuing appropriation for FY83, which included appropriations allocated to the IAEA, Senators Robert Kasten and James McClure attached an amendment prohibiting use of such funds for payment to the IAEA unless the board of governors certified to Congress that Israel is allowed to participate fully as a member nation in the activities of the agency. The director general's certification to the U.S. government was considered by the Congress to satisfy that requirement.

18. IAEA, GC(XXVII)/RES/409 (1983). The punitive measure was contained in operative paragraph 3. For reasons similar to those raised on the issue of suspension, the United States and other Western states regarded consideration of punitive measures in this case to lie outside the competence of the agency.

19. Complete texts of these statements were included in a letter from the Israeli resident representative to the IAEA to Director General Blix and circulated as IAEA document GC(XXVII1)1720 (Consequences of the Israeli Military Attack on the Iraqi Nuclear Research Reactor and the Standing Threat to Repeat this Attack for (a) The Development of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes and (b) The Role and Activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Letter dated August 21, 1984, to the director general from the resident representative of Israel, August 30, 1984).

20. IAEA, GC(XXVIII)/RES/425 (1984).

21. The letter, dated September 24, 1985, was circulated to all delegates to the twenty-ninth general conference by the agency at the request of the Israeli resident representative. The document itself was not given a formal designation.

22. IAEA, GC(XXIX)/764. Consequences of the Israeli Military Attack on the Iraqi Nuclear Research Reactor and the Standing Threat to Repeat this Attack for: (a) The Development of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes; and (b) The Role of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Draft Resolution Submitted by Iraq. It is significant that the Israeli government's statement to the general conference explicitly asserted that "no State in the Middle East was excluded" from its policy to "not attack or threaten to attack any peaceful nuclear facilities in the Middle East or anywhere else." See IAEA, GC(XXIX)/OR.277, paragraph 34 (September 26, 1985).

23. IAEA, GC(XXIX)/RES/443 (October 9,1985). (See also note 22 above.) Resolution Submitted jointly by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as revised.

24. Indeed, the issue surfaced once again at the 1986 general conference. In June 1986, Syria had indicated an intention to raise the Israeli question, this time not in the context of the attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor, but in the context of Israel's failure to place all of its facilities under IAEA safeguards and the desirability of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. A draft resolution on this subject was prepared, calling on member states to discontinue cooperation with Israel on nuclear matters until that country complies with the provisions of the resolution. It was introduced at the thirtieth general conference in October 1986 (IMEA, GC(XXX)/792, The Israeli Nuclear Threat, a draft resolution submitted by Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates, and subsequently joined by Quatar and Libya). The draft was opposed on the grounds that it singled out one member state of the agency and that it introduced extraneous political issues into the agency's activities. The United States moved, under rule 70 of the General Conference Rules of Procedure, that the issue at hand was not routine, but important, and therefore required a two-thirds majority for adoption. This motion was put to a vote and carried by a vote of fortytwo to thirty-seven with eleven abstentions. The ultimate effect of this action was that the sponsors of the draft resolution asked for adjournment of the debate, thereby effectively removing the issue from the agenda for this general conference. This episode nevertheless underscores that while the Israeli issue now seems under control, it remains dose to the surface and could erupt for any number of reasons at a future time.

25. Letter from the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Gregory J. Newell, Bureau of Internatiortal Organization Affairs, September 17, 1984.

26. For such a U.S. statement, we IAEA,GC(XXV/OR.237, oar~ 51 (September 1981).

27. Ibid., paragraph 35, statement by japan.

28. Ibid., paragraph 65, statement by Switzerland.

29. Ibid., paragraph 68, statement by Sweden.

30. IAEA Statute, Article VI.

31. Italy, in particular, pressed for an expansion that would ensure it a more permanent presence on the board and was the state that actually proposed the amendment.

32. IAEA, GC(XXIX)1752. Revision of Article VI As a Whole (August 1985).

33. At the thirtieth general conference, October 1986, the general conference adopted a resolution (GC(XXX)/RES/467) calling on the board of governors to establish an informal working group open to all member states to examine different proposals for revising Article VI of the statute and to present a report at the 1987 general conference. In the course of discussing this proposed resolution, several states (the United States, Soviet Union, and France among them) took the position that the present composition of the board effectively met the basic criterion of effectiveness.

34. IAEA, GC(XXV)/RES/386 (1981).

35. Interestingly, the only geographic region to experience a diminution in the number of professional staff between 1981 and 1985 is Eastern Europe.

36. For a graphic illustration of changes and trends in the four-year period, see "Staffing of the Agency's Secretariat," IAEA, GC(XXIX)1755 (September 16, 1984), especially Annex XIII.

37. Ibid. Annex Xl. The area in which imbalance is perhaps most pronounced is the Department of Safeguards. Approximately three-quarters of the safeguards professional staff are drawn from advanced states of both East and West. Between September 1984 and September 1985, for example, twenty-two of thirty-five new appointments in that department went to advanced state nationals including all the fourteen most senior posts.

38. The emphasis on promotional and developmental activities would, of course, be fully consistent with the statutory objectives of the agency. The real question is whether the balance would shift to the detriment of safeguards.

39. Temporary blockage of Hungarian membership had to do with Western reaction to Soviet action in the case of Hungary's failed bid for independence in 1955. In striking contrast is the observation made by Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Glenn Seaborg in his report to President Johnson on the 1968 general conference of the IAEA. In that report, he noted that "the Czechoslovakian situation [that is, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia earlier that year] had little impact upon the Conference itself since the IAEA has now been accepted by most members as a technical organization and not a political one." Cited in Glenn T. Seaborg, Travels in the New World (see note 4 above) p. 771.

40. A number of these points are discussed in Lawrence Scheinman, "IAEA: Atomic Condominium?" in Robert W. Cox and Harold K. Jacobson, Anatomy Of Influence (New Haven, Conn., Yale University Press, 1973) chapter 7. Most recently, only assistance to Cuba appears to be affected by the congressional mandate.

41. Warren Donnelly, "Nuclear Weapons Proliferation and the International Atomic Energy Agency: An Analytic Report," prepared for the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Operations (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976) p. 92.

42. While even the harshest critics of safeguards do not write them off entirely, some occasionally come close. See, for example, the statement of Senator Gary Hart in Hearings on the IAEA Safeguards Program, United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 97 Cong. 1 Sess. (December 2, 198 1); and statement of Congressman Edward J. Markey in Hearings on Legislation to Amend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978 before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on International Security and Scientific Affairs and on International Economic Policy and Trade, 97 Cong. 2 sess. (August 3, 1982). See also Peter Pringle, "Nuclear Unsafleguards" The New Republic, December 23, 1982.

43. See discussion on the meaning of proliferation in chapter 6.

44. See statements of Director General Blix at the 1983 and 1984 IAEA General Conferences, in particular IAEA GC(XXVII)/OR.247 and. IAEA GC(XXVIII)/OR.257.

45. This raises the further question of balancing transparency with protection of proprietary information, a topic discussed elsewhere in this book.

46. A counterargument is that the agency cannot know or predict the intent of a state and must, therefore, treat all states as potential adversaries. This creates a paradoxical situation, since effective safeguards also require cooperation of the safeguarded state. The solution to this paradox rests in state understanding that if safeguards are to work by the IAEA communicating to other countries the verified peaceful nature of the inspected country's nuclear programs, the latter country must facilitate agency activities, even if the activities have an adversarial character.

47. See E. V. Weinstock and J. M. deMontmollin, "IAEA Safeguards: Perceptions, Goals and Performance." Paper presented at a Brookhaven National Laboratory - Cornell University Workshop on Nonproliferation and Foreign Policy (April 1984). Quite aside from detection, the agency can provide reasonable assurance that materials in peaceful use are being so used that it can determine that a small amount of material unaccounted for is actually a diversion as opposed to a book loss or the result of faulty instrumentation and measurement procedures.

48. On timely warning, see Leonard Weiss, "The Concept of 'Timely Warning' in the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Act, of 1978" (April 1, 1085). (Unpublished paper).

49. Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Article III. I.

50. INFCIRC/153, The Structure and Content of Agreements Between the Agency and States Required in Connection with the Treaty on the NonProliferation of Nuclear Weapons, paragraph 28.

51. Typical values for a significant quantity range from eight kilograms of plutonium in separated form to twenty tons of thorium; detection time ranges from one month for separated plutonium to one year for natural uranium; and detection probability, which is the numerical parameter for risk of early detection, is 90-95 percent. A false alarm probability also is included. SAGSI had recommended seven to ten days detection time for separated plutonium. This was the United States' preferred position and it is tied to the time accepted as required to convert separated plutonium into the metallic component of a nuclear explosive device. The agency instead used criterion of "on the order of weeks" until it recently adopted a one-month detection time for separated plutonium. It should not be overlooked that reprocessing and plutonium separation are largely confined today to nuclear weapon states and a few others, mainly the Federal Republic of Germany and japan. India also is engaged in plutonium separation, but, unlike the others, is not party to the NPT; nor does it have its activities under safeguards except when the material being reprocessed is itself subject to safeguards. The main problem on detection relates to large bulk handling facilities, whereas most of the facilities subject to safeguards are sufficiently small that the risk of detection is substantial. In other words, much of the debate relates to circumstances that may arise in the future but have not yet come into play.

52. IAEA, IAEA Safeguards: Glossary IAEA/SG/INF/1 (Vienna, IAEA, 1980) paragraph 12.

53. On these points, see Myron B. Kratzer, "New Trends in Safeguards," speech delivered to the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Albuquerque N.M. July 1985; see also E. V. Weinstock and J. M. de Montmollin, "IAEA Safeguards: Perceptions, Goals and Performance" (see note 47 above).

54. Myron B. Kratzer, "New Trends in Safeguards," (see note 53 above).

55. Hans Grumm, "Basic Concepts of Safeguards," Fifth Annual Symposium on Safeguards and Nuclear Material Management, ESARDA (Versailles, April 1983) where it is reported that inspection goals were fully attained in 1978 in only 17 percent of the facilities inspected, and then rose to 45 percent in 1982. For 1984 this figure is 53 percent. Similar improvements at even higher levels have been achieved for sensitive nuclear materials at these facilities. Failure to meet inspection goals in no way implies a diversion, a point that is frequently misunderstood by the general public.

56. Ibid. See also Missing plutonium 'just on paper', BBC News, Febr. 17. 2005 (in cache)

57. The safeguardability issue was raised primarily by Victor Gilinsky, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. See, for example, his remarks on "Safeguarding the Fuel Cycle" before the Atomic Industrial Forum Conference on Nuclear Safeguards, Orlando, Florida (April 12, 1976). He notes that steps outside the classic system of safeguards may be required where reprocessing and fuel fabrication are concerned. See also his "International Discipline Over the Uses of Nuclear Energy," in Albert Wohistetter and coauthors, eds., Nuclear Policies: Fuel W~ Me Bomb (Cambridge, Mass., Ballinger, 1978) pp. 73-77. The argument has been carried into the public debate most vigorously by Paul Leventhal, president of the Nuclear Control Institute. See, for example, his statement before the Subcommittee on International Security and Scientific Affairs and on International Economic Policy and Trade, U.S. Congress, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, "The International Atomic Energy Agency: Improving Safeguards," 97 Cong. 2 sess., March 3 and 18, 1982.

58. See, for example, Grumm (note 55 above).

59. For an earlier statement of concerns, see Leonard Weiss, "Nuclear Safeguards: A Congressional Perspective," Bulktin of the Atomic S~ (March 1978) pp. 27-33; Victor Gilinsky (see note 57 above).

60. The following discussion attempts to synthesize criticisms made in congressional testimony, media accounts of the IAEA, and articles written on the subject See, for example, testimony of Roger Richter, a former IAEA inspector, before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittees on International Security and Scientific Affairs, on Europe and the Middle East, and on International Economic Policy and Trade on June 17, 1981, following the Israeli airstrike on Iraq's nuclear reactor in June 1981, as reprinted in Nuckar Safeguards: a Reader. Report prepared by the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress (Washington, D.C. U.S. Government Printing Office, December 1983) pp. 704-710; statement of Roger Richter before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, June 18, 1981, ibid., pp. 719-724; statement of Emanuel R. Morgan, also a former IAEA inspector, in hearings before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on IAEA programs of safeguards (December 2, 198 1), ibid., pp. 748-752; Robert Ruby, "The Nuclear Reckoning," The Baltinwe Sun (198 1); Paul Leventhal "Strengthening Safeguards: A High Priority for the NPT Review Conference," Special Report of the Nuclear Control Institute (1985).

61. In NPT agreements, access for routine inspections also is limited to designated strategic and key measurement points. Of course, if the situation goes beyond routine inspection and further information is required, this alters the statement on limitations.

62. Statement of Emanuel Morgan, former IAEA inspector, in a report prepared for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as reported in Nuclear EiWineering Interna~ (May 1982) p. 15.

63. See Morgan, ibid.; see also statement of Roger Richter before the House of Representatives cited in note 60 above.

64. The discussion on the assessment of charges is drawn to a large extent from IAEA, IAEA Safeguards 1980-1985: A Progress Re" STI/PUB/749 (Vienna, IAEA, 1986), and from discussions with members of the secretariat and other persons professionally involved in safeguards activities in the United States and Europe.

65. See Kratzer, "New Trends in Safleguards," note 53 above.

66. INKIRC/153, paragraph 73(b).

67. The concern about efficiency is sufficiently great to have merited a separate statement in the Final Declaration of the Third Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Paragraph 16 of the Final Declaration relative to Article III and preambular paragraphs 4 and 5 of the NPT state: "The Conference commends IAEA on its implementation of safeguards pursuant to this Treaty and urges it to continue to ensure the maximum technical and cost- effectiveness and efficiency of its operations, while maintaining consistency with the economic and safe conduct of nuclear activities." Final Document, Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Part I, NPT/ CONKIII/64/1 (Geneva 1965) Annex I, p. 4.

68. Myron Kratzer, "New Trends in Safeguards" (see note 53 above).

69. See James de Montmollin, "Some Thoughts on Issues Involving IAEA Technical SupporC (July 29, 1985) (Unpublished paper).

70. See references in notes 60 and 62 above.

71. See NPT/CONF.III/64/1 (note 65 above), Annex 1, statements relative to Article Ill and preambular paragraphs 4 and 5 of the NPT, paragraphs 2 and 11 (pp. 3 and 4).

72. See joint U.S.-Soviet statement that included specific reference to strengthening the IAEA and supporting implementation of international safeguards. Times (London) November 22, 1985.

73. IAEA, GC(XXVIII)/OR.257 (September 24, 1984) paragraphs 73 and 74.

74. See, for example, statement of the representative of Pakistan, IAEA, GC(XXVIII/OR.260, paragraph 47, and the statement of the representative of Brazil, ibid., paragraph 83.

75. INFCIRC/254 Appendix, Guidelines for Nuclear Transfers (February 1978). In truth, it is less the fact of publication than what is being published that irritates the critics. They do not want nonproliferation regime matters highlighted in the agency. But any state can ask the agency to publish anything related to nuclear matters, and under the circumstances the agency is bound to circulate it. Circulation does not mean endorsement.

76. "Revised Guiding Principles and General Operating Rules to Govern the Provisions of Technical Assistance by the Agency," Approved by the Board of Governors, February 21, 1979. IAEA document GEN/PUB/121 REV.2a, Principle A. 1 (i).

77. See, for example, INFCIRC/247, "The Text of the Safeguards Agreement of 10 February 1977 Between the Agency, Canada and Spain" (May 5, 1977); and INFCIRC/251, "The Text of the Agreement of 22 July 1977 Between Argentina and the Agency for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with a Cooperation Agreement Between Argentina and Canada" (November 25, 1977).

78. Paragraph 2 of the agreements cited in note 74.

79. IAEA, GC(XXIII)/OR.214 (1979) paragraph 41.

80. IAEA, GC(XXVI)/OR.240 (1982) paragraph 59; and IAEA GC(XXII)/ OR.215 (1979) paragraph 70.

81. There is, of course, nothing in the statute to prevent one state from assisting another bilaterally according to criteria it selects. The agency cannot discriminate, but it cannot require states to void all criteria in making their own contributions to particular states.

82. These figures were derived from IAEA, Review of the Ageng's Activities IAEA, CC(XXVIII)/78 Uuly 1984) pp. 55- 61. This review was undertaken pursuant to a request of the general conference in GC(XXVI)/RES/399 (1982). The activities covered include all of the agency's substantive programs in nuclear power and the fuel cycle; nuclear safety and waste management; radioisotope and radiation applications; the International Centre for Theoretical Physics; and safeguards. The discussion in this section focuses on 1957-1982 because of the convenience of being able to rely on the agency's own official cumulative record in the preceding document; the document reflects all of the adjustments necessary to account for changes in recordkeeping and reporting. However, where appropriate, both in this section and elsewhere in the book, reference to the subsequent four-year period is made.

83. Contributors in 1985 included Australia, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, japan, Sweden, Switzerland, USSR, UK, and the United States. The United States accounts for approximately two-thirds of what is contributed. In addition to extraordinary resources, states make contributions in kind, including cost-free experts and consultants, stipends for fellowships, and training courses.

84. IAEA, GC(I)/RES/5 (October, 1957). See also Scheinnian, "IAEA: Atomic Condominium?" in Cox and Jacobson, Anatomy of Influence (see note 40 above) pp.222-223.

85. Ibid. The Trieste Centre remains very active and is instrumental in continually upgrading the scientific competence of students and practitioners from developing states, although developing states were not the only ones to press for its creation. Italy, too, lobbied hard with support from Scandinavian states and, of course, Pakistan. Each had its own agenda: developing states and Scandinavians wanted to see more responsiveness to Third World interests; Pakistan in addition stood to have one of its nationals named director (Abdus Salam); and Italy wished to consolidate the legitimacy of its control of Trieste. The Cairo Center, in contrast, was turned down by all of the advanced states at first and was a classical North-South issue.

86. IAEA, Review of Ageng Activities (see note 82 above) pp. 109-112.

87. IAEA, GC(XI)/RES/230 (1967) Review of the Agency's Activities, Results of the Review of the Agency's Activities, paragraph 1.

88. See IAEA, Review of A~ Activities (see note 82 above) pp. 100- 10 1.

89. IAEA, GC(XXV)/RES/386 (1981) Staffing of the Agency's Secretariat. Operative paragraph 2 "reaffirms that no post, including that of the director general, should be considered the exclusive preserve of any member state or group of states, and that all posts at all levels should be considered open to appropriately qualified candidates from all member states."

90. See, for example, statements by representatives from Malaysia, IAEA, GC(XXIII)/OR.2 15, paragraphs 58 and 59; Nigeria, IAEA, GC(XXIII)/OR.216, paragraph 143; and the Philippines, IAEA, CC(XXIII)/OR.221, paragraph 95. All three are parties to the NPT in different stages of nuclear development. See also India, IAEA, GC(XXIII)/OR.220, paragraph 24.

91. See statement of representative of Pakistan at the twenty-eighth session of the general conference, IAEA, GC(XXVIII)/OR.260, paragraph 50 (September 26, 1984).

92. As mentioned earlier, several European states, led by Belgium, have urged consideration of an approach that would place the burden of real-cost increases on the shoulders of the nuclear weapon states. This appears to be motivated by a number of factors, among them the sense of some advanced industrial states that they are being overinspected and are overpaying for the privilege; and is defended by them on the grounds that the safeguards accepted by the weapon states on their civilian nuclear facilities are not comprehensive and therefore are largely symbolic, and that until comprehensive safeguards are applied on the civilian facilities of all countries, a financing formula that differentiates between the weapon states and others is appropriate. Needless to say, the weapons states do not share this view.

93. See statements by representatives from Malaysia, Nigeria, the Philippines, and India cited in note 90 above.

94. IAEA, GC(XXV)/RES/388, The Financing of Technical Assistance (September 26, 1981).

95. The notion of regular budget funding of technical assistance once was broached by the United Kingdom primarily to rope the Soviet Union into providing a fair share of the assistance.

96. See, for example, the statements of representatives from Pakistan and Nigeria cited in note 90.

97. The U.S. position is the correct one. Preferential treatment is prohibited under the statute with respect to the dissemination of agency resources. Extrabudgetary contributions, however, can be designated for specific countries according to whatever criteria the donor chooses. Even before the NPT existed, donor states made specific equipment available to particular recipient states through the IAEA.

98. The twenty-ninth general conference voted a resolution requesting the board of governors to report annually to the general conference on actions taken to implement RES/388 of 1981. IAEA, GC(XXIX)/RES/452, The Financing of Technical Assistance (October 11, 1985).

99. See Final Declaration of the Third Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (see note 67 above) (Article Ill and preambular paragraphs 4 and 5, paragraphs 2 and 3, respectively) NPUCONF.III/64I, p. 3.

100. An indicator of the success rate of this program may be the increased number of technically meritorious projects mentioned earlier in connection with discussion of footnote A projects.

101. IAEA, GC(XIII)/RES/256, The Agency's Budget for 1970, The Financing of Nuclear Projects (October 6, 1969).

102. See Final Declaration of the Third Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (see note 67 above) (Article IV, paragraph 21) NPT/CONF.III/64/I, p. 9.

103. IAEA, GOV/INF/487 establishing a Senior Expert Group on Mechanisms to Assist Developing Countries in the Promotion and Financing of Their Nuclear Power Programs (January 27, 1986).

II. David Kay:
Iraq and Beyond: Future Nonproliferation Inspection Challenges

[What] ... conclusions can be drawn as to the approach the United States should be considering in relying upon international regimes to limit the further spread of advanced arms?

First, be wary of arms control arrangements that have mixed agendas. The largest continuing defect in international nuclear safeguards remains, in my view, the mixing of promotional and regulatory responsibilities in the same organization (7).

  1. The IAEA is obligated to promote nuclear energy. The same organization that was asked to ensure that Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Algeria and Libya were not violating their safeguard agreements was also involved in extensive technical assistance programs to those same countries. In the case of Iraq this assistance went directly to individuals and activities later identified with the clandestine weapons program. Its promotional activities have advanced
    • reprocessing,
    • large scale enrichment facilities and
    • nuclear desalination with Russian naval reactors
    all items with serious proliferation problems.
  2. Even in national non-proliferation efforts we have seen the difficulty the United States has had in balancing non-proliferation and trade concerns.
  3. The problem is much more serious in a multilateral forum composed of many states actively hostile to arms control. The tendency is to make concession to maintain the agreement while compromising the inspection and verification activity.
  4. But even in more limited arrangements such as the United States brokered agreement with North Korea, there is reason to be concerned that the instrumental goal of supplying the North with nuclear reactors will overwhelm the arms control goal of limiting the North's ability to produce nuclear weapons.

Second, technology changes and arms control agreements that cannot adapt to changes in technology will become at best irrelevant and at worst dangerous.

  1. After the mid-1970's INFCIRC/l53 safeguards focused on a declining part of the proliferation problem, diversion from declared facilities, and used antiquated techniques and approaches to cope with the safeguard mission.
  2. Any attempt to ensure the peaceful nature of such dynamic fields as biological research or missile developments must be crafted to ensure flexibility and adaptability.
  3. The United States particularly bears a heavy responsibility in the 1980's for not taking a leading role in questioning the adequacy of IAEA methods and attempting to assist a much needed renovation of inspection techniques.
  4. The benefits that can be achieved by US leadership are fully demonstrated in the case of UNSCOM where the United States deserves much of the credit for leading the way in making resources available.
  5. Much can be done to improve the rigor of IAEA safeguards. There are no lack of ideas outside the agency as to these steps. What remains in doubt is whether the determination and leadership exists within the IAEA and its members to push these reforms fully through.

Third, we should not underestimate the difficulty that exists in reaching judgments of non-compliance with arms control obligations.

  1. UNSCOM was that rare lucky case where the non-compliance of the inspected party was almost guaranteed by the nature of the agreement. By July, 1991, no one was in doubt that Iraq was locked on a strategy of deceit and cheating.
  2. The more usual cases will involve ambiguous information and, more importantly, few good, agreed answers as to what to do it a state is found cheating.
  3. The basic arms control dilemma that remains unresolved, even after Iraq, is what to do when you catch a state in violation of its obligations.
  4. What is little understood outside of the ranks of those who have served in inspection organizations is the corrosive effect this dilemma has on the integrity of the inspection process. Inspections seek to confirm compliance not to find non-compliance.
    Concerns are dismissed with demands for "real" evidence, not with programs of more intrusive inspection. If the proliferator is adroit and unfettered by any obligation to speak the truth, the inspection or verification challenge can be quite daunting. Until this dilemma is adequately understood and addressed, arms control agreements will remain as potential "good cover arrangements" for proliferators and generators of false security.

7. Although this argument is made here with regard to safeguards, it applies equally to the nuclear power and safety area. Prior to Chernobyl, the IAEA often spoke in glowing terms of the safety of the Soviet nuclear program.

III. George MacLean
New Directions for Fissile Material Cutoff

Executive Summary

Deliberations pertaining to a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) which would ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons continue with the August 1998 creation of an ad hoc committee within the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to facilitate such negotiations. Progress on this issue has been limited, due in no small part to the demand by some states that the ban should go beyond simply cutting off fissile material production and instead mandate the supervision under international safeguards of all existing stockpiles of fissile material. Other states have countered that any FMCT mandate should apply only to the future production of fissile material.

Another difficult point is that of verification. Important differences linger as to whether any FMCT verification regime should "converge" with that of the NPT, with some suggesting that the absence of any such convergence would create an inherently discriminatory FMCT. Other states (notably the nuclear 5 and states with nuclear weapon capabilities) have rejected such an intrusive verification regime, and have proposed instead a more focussed regime concentrating upon enrichment and reprocessing facilities.

In the context of a FMCT, the current "Model Protocol Additional to the Agreement(s) between State(s) and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards" (INFCIRC/540) has been suggested as a instrument containing sufficient content to serve as a non-discriminatory FMCT. INFCIRC/540 is a comprehensive document that extends to ability of the IAEA to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of the safeguards system as a contribution to global nuclear non-proliferation objectives.

This report argues that, while INFCIRC/540 is a comprehensive protocol, it is this comprehensive nature that permits a non-discriminatory approach to applied safeguards. The FMCT is intended to proscribe the future production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive purposes; however, it is also intended to be non-discriminatory. In order to fulfil this mandate - and to be effective - the current asymmetrical approach to nuclear safeguards must be discontinued. In brief, this report argues that INFCIRC/540 does indeed contain the basis for a "non-discriminatory, multilateral, and internationally and effectively verifiable" FMCT. It considers the procedural and substantial shortcomings of INFCIRC/540, and recommends a FMCT structure that uses INFCIRC/540 as its basis.

This report begins with a short overview of the Fissile FMCT deliberations. Following this is a brief evaluation of the NPT Strengthened Safeguards System (S3). INFCIRC/540, as the systematic implementation of S3 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is examined in some detail, providing the rationale for its development and the functional role that it plays for IAEA member states. The report then differentiates between the mandates of the FMCT and the S3 system. The report then turns to a specified analysis of INFCIRC/540 itself, and the manner in which S3 may perform a foundational role as the basis for a FMCT. Finally, recommendations are made for a FMCT structure that is based on INFCIRC/540 in an supplementary manner, and the links between the "Model Protocol" and the FMCT.

Table of Contents

IV. Information and analysis to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Recent Features as of June 2, 2004
  • "Getting Serious About a Multilateral Approach to North Korea," by James Clay Moltz and C. Kenneth Quinones for the Spring 2004 Nonproliferation Review.

  • "The Roadmap to 2005," a report on the CNS-sponsored workshop to identify issues for the 2004 NPT PrepCom.

  • "NPT Briefing Book", April 2004 Edition, published by the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies (in cache).

    Part I: The Evolution of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime

    Section 1:The Evolution of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime, 1945-1970 ..... page 1
    Section 2: A Short History of the NPT Review Process, 1970-2000 ..... page 7
    Section 3: The 2000 NPT Review Conference ..... page 15
    Section 4: The PrepCom for the 2005 NPT Review Conference ..... page 21
    Annex I: Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Weapons: An Introductory Guide ..... page 26
    Annex II: Abbreviations, Acronyms and Glossary of Terms ..... page 31
    Part II: Treaties, Agreements and Other Relevant Documents
    A - The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
    • Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [Opened for signature 1 July 1968, entered into force 5 March 1970]
      Article I
      Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.
    B - Materials Relating to the work of the PrepCom for the 2005 NPT Review Conference
    C - Materials from the 2000 NPT Review Conference
    D - Materials from the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference
    E - Nuclear Weapon Testing Treaties
    F - Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones
    G - The International Atomic Energy Agency
    H - Safeguards Agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency
    • Information Circular 66/Rev.2 (INFCIRC/66 Rev.2), 16 September 1968
    • IAEA Information Circular 153 (INFCIRC/153), June 1972
    • IAEA Information Circular 540 (INFCIRC/540), September 1997
      "Traditional components of IAEA verification procedures were seriously challenged with the discovery of Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapons program following the 1991 Gulf War. As a result, the IAEA's effort to intensify its inspection program involved activities designed to include all activities that could contribute to a nuclear weapons program, including undeclared sites. New safeguards measures include
      1. design information;
      2. reporting and verification of exports, imports, and production of nuclear material; and
      3. reporting and verifying export, import, and production of equipment use in programs, as well as non nuclear material.
      The new verification standards sought to provide assurances that material was not being diverted from declared activities, and that undeclared activities would be detected through increased monitoring and safeguards. These standards include:
      1. An emphasis on accountancy of declared nuclear material;
      2. Improvements in dependable containment and surveillance measures and random inspections;
      3. Alterations in safeguards criteria such as definitions of "significant quantities" to reflect new developments in nuclear technology;
      4. Increased inter-operability between national agencies and the IAEA;
      5. More emphasis on technological advances in safeguards equipment; and
      6. Augmented administrative field offices, simplified inspector designation procedures, multiple entry visas, and independent means of communication.
      In short, the Iraqi weapons program discoveries brought to bear the need for a strengthened safeguards system (S3) for the IAEA in order to fill the gaps left by the more limited INFCIRC/153 and INFCIRC/66 agreements.

      (Not unlike other materials controls experiences, the search for a S3 took place incrementally, beginning with the IAEA "93+2" program. Under 93+2, safeguard measures were undertaken within the framework of existing comprehensive safeguard agreements (INFCIRC/66 and INFCIRC/153). In addition, however, the program involved environmental sampling and "non-notice" inspections (which are permissible under INFCIRC/153 but not often invoked), and a more effective use of states systems of accounting and control (SSAC)).

      But in addition to this first approach, the IAEA responded to these threats with a more codified arrangement, attending to those activities requiring additional legal authority and agreements with states parties. The "Model Protocol Additional to the Agreement(s) between State(s) and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards", also known as Information Circular 540, or INFCIRC/540, is an improved system of safeguards aimed at strengthening the ability of the Agency to recognize any violation of safeguards agreements by member states. This related in particular to undeclared military nuclear activities that could be taking place in Non Nuclear Weapons States (NNWS).

      In short, INFCIRC/540

      1. gives the IAEA greater access to information and technologies within signatory states,
      2. allows for a wider and clearer picture of what the state's nuclear activities are, and
      3. permits non-routine, or "challenge" inspections of sites and installations within member states.
      Greater access and non-routine inspections provides the Agency with a better evaluation of possible clandestine or anomalous activities. One important area that broadens the scope of verification for the IAEA is the inclusion of sites, materials and technologies where nuclear material may not be involved. INFCIRC/540 is a "model protocol" because its authority - once agreed upon by both state and Agency - requires legal instruments that extend beyond the traditional power of the IAEA, meaning that each country must independently negotiate and agree to the Model Protocol as a separate agreement to the existing INFCIRC arrangements.

      Broadly speaking, S3 implementation comes in two levels.

      1. The first involves expanded collection and information analysis, and the use of environmental sampling to discern whether undeclared activities took place.
      2. The second is a continuance of the initial deepening of verification inspections, codified in INFCIRC/540, which includes non-nuclear facilities that could contribute to nuclear weapons programs, such as research or manufacturing facilities.

      To summarize:
      S3 implementation strengthened the existing IAEA safeguards system, primarily in regards to undeclared activities. In so doing, the Agency has become far more aggressive in its safeguards and verification role. For instance, this has included

      1. environmental monitoring,
      2. the rights of "special inspections",
      3. increased information and access to sites, and - more recently -
      4. the possibility of open source information gathering, such as commercial satellite imagery and additional sources of data".
    I - Bilateral Safeguards Agreements
    J - Security Assurances
    K - Export Controls
    • The Zangger Committee : A History 1971-1990. .......... page K - 1
      [Reproduced from Annex attached to INFCIRC/209/Rev.1, November 1990]
    • The Nuclear Suppliers Group: Its origins, role and activities .......... page K - 2
      [Circulated by Australia on Behalf of the Member States of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and reproduced in IAEA Information Circular 539 (INFCIRC/539), 16 September 1997]
    • Communications Received from Member States Regarding the Export of Nuclear Material and of Certain Categories of Equipment and Other Material .......... page K - 6
      [Reproduced from: INFCIRC/209/Rev.2, 9 March 2000]
    • Guidelines for Nuclear Transfers .......... page K - 7
      [Nuclear Suppliers Group, INFCIRC/254/Rev.5/Part 1, 16 January 2002]
      5. Retransfers
      The Government, when exporting Trigger List items, will require satisfactory assurances that the items will not be re-exported to a non-nuclear weapon State not party to the NPT unless arrangements corresponding to those referred to above are made for the acceptance of safeguards by the State receiving such re-export.

      Controls on retransfer
      9. (a) Suppliers should transfer trigger list items or related technology only upon the recipient's assurance that in the case of:

      1. retransfer of such items or related technology, or
      2. transfer of trigger list items derived from facilities originally transferred by the supplier, or with the help of equipment or technology originally transferred by the supplier; the recipient of the retransfer or transfer will have provided the same assurances as those required by the supplier for the original transfer.
      (b) In addition the supplier's consent should be required for:
      1. any retransfer of trigger list items or related technology and any transfer referred to under paragraph 9(a) (2) from any State which does not require full scope safeguards, in accordance with paragraph 4(a) of these Guidelines, as a condition of supply;
      2. any retransfer of enrichment, reprocessing or heavy water production facilities, equipment or related technology, and for any transfer of facilities or equipment of the same type derived from items originally transferred by the supplier;
      3. any retransfer of heavy water or material usable for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
      (c) To ensure the consent right as defined under paragraph 9 (b), government to government assurances will be required for any relevant original transfer.

      Non-proliferation Principle
      10. Notwithstanding other provisions of these Guidelines, suppliers should authorize transfer of items or related technology identified in the trigger list only when they are satisfied that the transfers would not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

    ANNEX A: Trigger List Referred to in Guidelines

  • Guidelines for Transfers of Nuclear-related Dual-use Equipment, Materials, Software, and Related Technology .......... page K - 11
    [INFCIRC/254/Rev.4/Part 2, March 2000]
    2. Suppliers should not authorize transfers of equipment, materials, software, or related technology identified in the Annex:
    • for use in a non-nuclear-weapon state in a nuclear explosive activity or an unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle activity, or
    • in general, when there is an unacceptable risk of diversion such an activity, or when the transfers are contrary to the objective of averting the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
  • L - Physical Protection of Nuclear Material
    M - Bilateral Measures
    N - Documents relating to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
    O - Documents relating to Iran (Islamic Republic of)
    P - Documents relating to Iraq
    Q - Documents relating to Libya
    R - Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly at its 58th Session
    S - Resolutions of the IAEA General Conference
    T - Other Documents and Declarations (in chronological order)

  • The Four Faces of Nuclear Terror And the Need for a Prioritized Response, by William C. Potter, Charles D. Ferguson, and Leonard S. Spector for Foreign Affairs, May/June 2004.

  • Securing U.S. Radioactive Sources, by Charles D. Ferguson and Joel O. Lubenau for Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 2003.

  • Interview with László Molnár: The Second NPT Preparatory Committee: Issues, Results, Implications for the 2005 Review Conference, for the Spring 2004 Nonproliferation Review.

  • "Overcoming Impediments to U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation: Report of a Joint Workshop," a joint product of the U.S. National Academies (of which Dr. William Potter is a member) and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

  • Testimony by Dennis M. Gormley, before the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform.

  • Bargaining Failure and the North Korean Nuclear Program's Impact on International Nonproliferation Regimes, an article by Dan A. Pinkston for the December issue of the KNDU Review,

  • Second Tier Proliferation: The Case of Pakistan and North Korea, a report by Guarav Kampani for the Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 9.3.
    The Pakistan - North Korea Deal

VII. Selected Data

David Albright, Paul Brannan, and Jacqueline Shire, Can military strikes destroy Iran's gas centrifuge program? Probably not
"Iran's uranium conversion facility at Esfahan, which produces the natural uranium gas that is introduced into centrifuges for enrichment, has already produced many years worth of uranium hexafluoride..., now over 300 tonnes of uranium hexafluoride, or enough to produce weapon-grade uranium for over 30 nuclear weapons ..."

Robert Alvarez, "Thorium: the wonder fuel that wasn't", Bulltein of the Atomic Scientist, May 11, 2014 (in cache)

"... the United States has tried to develop thorium as an energy source for some 50 years and is still struggling to deal with the legacy of those attempts. In addition to the billions of dollars it spent, mostly fruitlessly, to develop thorium fuels, the US government will have to spend billions more, at numerous federal nuclear sites, to deal with the wastes produced by those efforts."

version: 26 August 2014
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