The obligation to have a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol with the IAEA
Of the 68 states that were parties to the TPNW at the close of 2022, 47 (or 69%) had brought into force both a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and an Additional Protocol (AP) with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), thus having committed to the current ‘gold standard’ of safeguards.
A further 20 TPNW states parties had brought a CSA into force, but not yet an AP. Of these, four had already signed an AP and need only to bring it into force, while the remaining 16 states had thus far not taken any steps towards an AP. Only one of the states parties—Timor-Leste—had not yet brought into force a CSA, although it had signed one already in 2009. Since Timor-Leste had not brought its CSA into force before becoming a state party to the TPNW in 2022, it must now do so within the 18-month deadline set by Article 3(2) of the TPNW, which for Timor-Leste is 18 March 2024.
The figure and tables below summarise the status at the end of 2022 of safeguards agreements among states parties to the TPNW, and among all of the world’s 188 non-nuclear-armed states.1
Of the global total of 188 non-nuclear-armed states, 134 (or 71%) had brought both a CSA and an AP into force with the IAEA as of 31 December 2022, while 48 states (26%) had a CSA in force but not yet an AP. These 48 outliers on the AP are all states parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The 2000 and 2010 NPT Review Conferences urged all states parties to conclude and bring into force an AP as soon as possible. A quarter of these 48 outliers have, however, already taken steps towards an AP: 11 states have signed an AP and need only to bring it into force, and one state (Sri Lanka) has agreed upon a text for an AP which has also been approved by the Board of the IAEA. See the tables below for details.
Finally, six states (3%) did not yet have a CSA in force, and therefore also not an AP. As already discussed above, TPNW state party Timor-Leste was one of the outliers on the CSA in 2022. The remaining five outliers were Equatorial Guinea (TPNW signatory), Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe (TPNW signatory), Somalia, and South Sudan. All of these states apart from South Sudan are states parties to the NPT and have a pre-existing obligation under that Treaty to conclude and bring into force a CSA. If they also adhere to the TPNW they will, like Timor-Leste, have to comply with that Treaty’s 18-month deadline to bring their CSAs into force. Along with Timor-Leste, Guinea has already signed a CSA, while Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe have agreed upon texts for CSAs that have also been approved by the Board of the IAEA.
The only two non-nuclear-armed states in the world that have not taken any steps towards a CSA are Somalia and South Sudan.
Progress in 2022
The TPNW is an additional forum where diplomats, civil society, and the IAEA can advocate for the universal application of CSAs and APs. In the course of 2022, three new CSAs were brought into force with the IAEA, all by TPNW states parties that had deadlines to meet under Article 3(2) of the TPNW. Palestine brought into force a CSA approximately six weeks after its deadline on 22 July 2022, while Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau brought into force their CSAs well in advance of their respective deadlines of 18 March 2024 and 15 September 2023. With the three new CSAs in force, the global number of non-nuclear-armed states that are outliers on the CSA was reduced from nine at the end of 2021 to six at the end of 2022, indicating that Article 3(2) of the TPNW is valuable in efforts for universal application of the CSA.
The year 2022 also saw two new APs brought into force with the IAEA, as well as one that was signed. This progress similarly took place in states that, in addition to being states parties to the NPT, are either signatories or states parties to the TPNW: TPNW states parties Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau brought into force APs at the same time as they brought into force their CSAs, and TPNW signatory Sierra Leone signed an AP on 31 October.
At the close of 2022, a total of 101 of the non-nuclear-armed states had an operative Small Quantities Protocol (SQP), which suspends some of the provisions of their CSA. Of these, 77 were Modified SQPs while the other 24 states still retained operative Original SQPs. During the course of 2022, Namibia, Lao PDR, Suriname, and Tuvalu upgraded their Original SQPs to Modified SQPs, and Lithuania rescinded its Original SQP.
The state profiles in this report contain information on all states’ respective safeguards agreements or lack thereof, as well as recommended actions. States that have not brought into force both a CSA and an AP should do so as a matter of urgency. States that maintain an operative Original SQP should upgrade to a Modified SQP, or in those cases that no longer meet the criteria for scaled down safeguards, rescind it.
Safeguards agreements in states with nuclear facilities
It is in states with nuclear facilities2 that it is most critical to have a strengthened safeguards system through both a CSA and an AP.3 A total of 64 non-nuclear-armed states currently have nuclear facilities.4 The state profiles of this report specify whether or not a state has nuclear facilities. Of the 64 non-nuclear-armed states with nuclear facilities, ten have not yet brought into force an AP with the IAEA. The ten states are indicated in bold in the tables above. Four have already signed an AP: Algeria (TPNW signatory), Belarus, Iran, and Malaysia (TPNW state party). The remaining six states have not yet taken any steps towards an AP: Argentina, Brazil (TPNW signatory), Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Venezuela (TPNW state party).
Safeguards agreements in nuclear-armed states
The NPT’s five nuclear-weapon-states (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States) have concluded so-called ‘voluntary offer’ safeguards agreements, based on the CSA model, which involve safeguards only on certain nuclear material and facilities in their nuclear fuel cycle. They have also concluded limited APs to their voluntary offer agreements. Three nuclear-armed states not party to the NPT (India, Israel, and Pakistan) have concluded item-specific safeguards agreements, which prohibit the use of specified items under safeguards for military purposes or the manufacture of nuclear explosive devices. India has concluded a limited AP to its item-specific agreement. North Korea had originally brought into force a CSA, but the IAEA’s in-country verification activities ceased in April 2009.5
As discussed above in the interpretation of the TPNW’s safeguards requirements, upon adherence to the Treaty nuclear-armed states will have, as a minimum, to upgrade their existing safeguards agreements to a full CSA over all nuclear material and upgrade to, or conclude and bring into force, a full AP.
- It is mandatory for all non-nuclear-armed states parties to the TPNW to maintain in force or to conclude and bring into force (and thereafter maintain) a CSA with the IAEA. The TPNW specifies that the CSA must be based on the most recent CSA model in INFCIRC 153 (Corrected). If a non-nuclear-armed state has not brought into force a CSA upon adhering to the TPNW, Article 3(2) stipulates that it must do so within a deadline of 18 months from the entry into force of the TPNW for the state in question.
- An Additional Protocol (AP) with the IAEA, or an instrument of equivalent or higher standard, is also mandatory for all nonnuclear-armed states parties that had one in force upon the entry into force of the TPNW on 22 January 2021.
- These are only minimum requirements, and the TPNW implicitly encourages states parties to adhere to the highest safeguards standard. At present, this is the above-mentioned CSA and an AP.
- If a nuclear-armed state eliminates its nuclear-weapons programme and then adheres to the TPNW it will be obliged to conclude a safeguards agreement that provides ‘credible assurance of the non-diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities and of the absence of undeclared nuclear material or activities in that State Party as a whole’. (Article 4(1)). This formulation equates to, at least, a CSA and a full AP. This means that the state in question will have to upgrade its existing safeguards agreement to a CSA and the requisite AP. Negotiations on these safeguards must start within 180 days, with the resultant treaty entering into force within 18 months of the TPNW’s entry into force for the state in question. These states must maintain, as a minimum, these safeguards, but may adopt more far-reaching safeguards in the future.
- If a nuclear-armed state adheres to the TPNW before eliminating its nuclear-weapons programme it will also be obliged to conclude a safeguards agreement that provides ‘credible assurance of the non-diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities and of the absence of undeclared nuclear material or activities in the State as a whole’. (Article 4(3)). Again, this formulation equates to, at least, a CSA and an AP. Negotiations on these safeguards are mandated to start no later than the completion of nuclear elimination, with the resultant treaty entering into force within 18 months. These states must maintain, as a minimum, these safeguards but may adopt further safeguards in the future. The Treaty does not specify safeguards that should be applied between entry into force and the completion of nuclear elimination for these states, but these may be agreed in the legally-binding, time-bound plan for the verified and irreversible elimination of these states’ nuclear-weapons programmes that is required, and which includes the elimination or irreversible conversion of all nuclear-weapons-related facilities.
- The NPT, nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) treaties, and the TPNW oblige non-nuclear-armed states parties to conclude safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Safeguards agreements are important both to prevent further states from developing nuclear weapons and to maintain a nuclear-weapon-free world once nuclear disarmament has been achieved.
- Under these agreements, the IAEA applies safeguards to nuclear facilities and material in order to verify that those facilities are not misused, and that nuclear material is not diverted from peaceful purposes to the development of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The IAEA analyses state declarations, data derived from IAEA safeguards activities in-country (such as visits and inspections) and at IAEA headquarters, and other sources of information in order to reach a safeguards conclusion. If positive, this is intended to provide credible assurance to the international community that states are abiding by their safeguards obligations.
- There are three types of safeguards agreements: Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements (CSA) with NPT non-nuclear- weapon states; voluntary offer safeguards agreements with NPT nuclear-weapon states; and item-specific safeguards agreements with states not party to the NPT.
- The CSA provides for safeguards on all nuclear material in all peaceful activities in non-nuclear-armed states, to verify that it is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The objective is to ensure the timely detection of diversion of significant quantities of nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities to the manufacture of nuclear weapons or of other nuclear explosive devices or for purposes unknown, and deterrence of such diversion by the risk of early detection.
- The IAEA Board of Governors approved a Model Additional Protocol (AP) to safeguards agreements in 1997, which expands the Agency’s access to information and sites, including to undeclared locations, and authority to investigate inconsistencies in states’ declarations. According to the IAEA, it is only in countries with both a CSA and an AP in force that the Agency has sufficient information and access to provide credible assurances of both the non-diversion of nuclear material and the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities.
- Non-nuclear-armed states with minimal quantities of nuclear material and no nuclear material in a facility may conclude a Small Quantities Protocol (SQP) to their CSA, which suspends certain CSA safeguards under specific conditions, to reduce their safeguards burden while still enabling effective verification of their non-proliferation obligations. The IAEA Board of Governors approved a Modified SQP in 2005 to reduce the number of suspended provisions of the CSA, and strengthen declaration and inspection procedures. Many states are yet to upgrade their SQP to this new standard, and some of these are yet to conclude an AP, meaning that the IAEA’s capability to conduct activities to detect any undeclared material and facilities is reduced.
For more information, see: IAEA, ‘Safeguards explained’, and ‘Safeguards Basics’.