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Nonproliferation and National Security Department

Safeguards Policy and Implementation Group

This group seeks to support the international safeguards capability of the US government and its objective to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safeguards through project management of key US programs, training in international safeguards, and the analysis, formulation and development of safeguards policy and technical analyses. This group brings the NNSD capabilities in international safeguards into one cohesive group.

A major aspect of the work in this group is to support the safeguards activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This is critical because the IAEA faces many challenges such as essentially flat budgets, increasing work load as more nuclear facilities come on-line, greater reliance on safeguards information and advanced technologies and increased effort to detect undeclared nuclear activities and procurement networks. All of these challenges will require new and innovative safeguard’s approaches and policy formulations in order for the IAEA to successfully meet its safeguards verification mandate.

In addition to supporting IAEA safeguards, there are other safeguards and arms control initiatives that the group supports. These include provision of graduate level safeguards training courses, analytical and policy support for the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, oversight of the Global Security and Scientific Partnership Program (GSSP), and leadership and implementation of the Technical Survey Team for review and assessment of the DOE Material Protection Control and Accounting Program (MPC&A). Specific activities include:

  • Operation of the International Safeguards Project Office (ISPO) for the US Support Program to IAEA Safeguards (USSP). Established at BNL in 1977, this project office is responsible for the day-to-day technical and administrative management of the USSP. The US has sponsored over 900 tasks to provide technical assistance in measurement technology, containment and surveillance, information technology and management, training, procedures, quality assurance, environmental sampling and remote monitoring. ISPO also assists in recruiting US citizens for positions in the IAEA Department of Safeguards.
  • Support for the NNSA Next Generation Safeguards Initiative through policy development and systems studies, development of training courses, and public education and outreach to improve the resources available to the IAEA.
  • Annual delivery of a 3 week graduate level summer course entitled “Nuclear Nonproliferation, Safeguards and Security in the 21st Century”. The course has been oversubscribed each year it has been offered and has generated enthusiasm from the field.
  • Completion of a comprehensive textbook about the IAEA safeguards system, the challenges it confronts, and its role in the nuclear nonproliferation regime: Deterring Nuclear Proliferation: The Importance of IAEA Safeguards.
  • Training IAEA inspectors to carry out their inspection duties, as provided for, in additional protocols to IAEA safeguards agreements.
  • Implementation of bilateral IAEA safeguards training programs in Kazakhstan, Armenia and Ukraine for hard-to-safeguard facilities such as the Chernobyl reactors and uranium mines.