Safeguards provide states exporting nuclear goods, services, technology and know-how with the assurances required to meet their nuclear non-proliferation objectives.

The objectives and implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are widely accepted to fall into three distinct pillars:

  • Disarmament.
  • Non-proliferation.
  • Peaceful uses.

In order to fulfil these objectives signatory states have developed a suite of measures the basis of which tends to be a nuclear non-proliferation policy setting out how the state in question intends to fulfil its non-proliferation objectives while developing nuclear energy for peaceful uses and benefitting from international nuclear trade and collaboration. A further key component is the operation of a robust export control regime which seeks to restrict access to nuclear materials, technology and know-how to legitimate states / end-users.

Every state is different but nuclear non-proliferation policies typically aim to establish the requirements which must be satisfied before the state in question can export nuclear materials, technology or know-how to a recipient state. Where a proposed recipient state is subject to Euratom Safeguards and /or comprehensive IAEA safeguards and the Additional Protocol, an exporting state can take a certain level of comfort that any nuclear material, technology or know-how it transfers to such recipient state will remain subject to accepted and independently enforced nuclear safeguards.

In many cases, however, states have developed nuclear non-proliferation policies which go beyond the requirements on Euratom and / or IAEA safeguards, for example by requiring additional obligations relating to the re-transfer, high enrichment or reprocessing of any of the nuclear materials they transfer. In many cases such additional requirements reflect internationally accepted best practice agreed between nuclear exporting states. For these states the only means by which these additional safeguards can be secured is through conclusion of a binding bi-lateral NCA with either the recipient state directly or the Euratom Community on behalf of its member states.