From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), IAEA
Mains level : Nuclear disarmament
Iran has invited the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for talks after the UN official expressed concern over a lack of contact with Iranian authorities.
What is IAEA?
- The IAEA is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
- As the preeminent nuclear watchdog under the UN, the IAEA is entrusted with the task of upholding the principles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1970.
- It was established as an autonomous organization on July 29, 1957, at the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
- Though established independently of the UN through its own international treaty, the agency reports to both the UN General Assembly and the UNSC.
The IAEA is generally described as having three main missions:
- Peaceful uses: Promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy by its member states,
- Safeguards: Implementing safeguards to verify that nuclear energy is not used for military purposes, and
- Nuclear safety: Promoting high standards for nuclear safety
What are its safeguards?
- Safeguards are activities by which the IAEA can verify that a State is living up to its international commitments not to use nuclear programs for nuclear weapons purposes.
- Safeguards are based on assessments of the correctness and completeness of a State’s declared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities.
- Verification measures include on-site inspections, visits, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.
Basically, two sets of measures are carried out in accordance with the type of safeguards agreements in force with a State.
- Verifying state reports of declared nuclear material and activities.
- Verifying the non-diversion of declared nuclear material and providing assurances as to the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in a State.
Try this question from CSP 2020:
Q.In India, why are some nuclear reactors kept under “IAEA Safeguards” while others are not?
(a) Some use Uranium and others use thorium.
(b) Some use imported uranium and others use domestic supplies.
(c) Some are operated by foreign enterprises and others are operated by domestic enterprises.
(d) Some are State- owned and others are privately-owned.
Post your answers here.
Back2Basics: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
- The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
- The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.
- Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970.
- India is one of the only five countries that either did not sign the NPT or signed but withdrew, thus becoming part of a list that includes Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan.
- India always considered the NPT as discriminatory and had refused to sign it.