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U.S. – IAEA Caribbean Territories Safeguards Agreement

On April 6, 1989, the Agreement between the United States of America (U.S.) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (US – IAEA Caribbean Territories Safeguards Agreement) entered into force, along with its original small quantities protocol (SQP). This comprehensive safeguards agreement, nearly identical in structure to agreements between the IAEA and non-nuclear weapon States, is documented in IAEA Information Circular 366 (INFCIRC/366). The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (also known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco) provides a basis for the U.S. – IAEA Agreement in this area. The U.S. agreed to accept IAEA safeguards in U.S. territories in the zone of application of the Tlatelolco Treaty: the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Navassa Island, Serranilla Bank, Baja Nuevo Bank (Petrel Island), and the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay. For the US-IAEA Caribbean Territories Safeguards Agreement, an SQP is applicable as there are no nuclear facilities, as defined by IAEA, in the U.S. Caribbean Territories. The only nuclear material is held by licensees outside of facilities.  However, in 2005, the IAEA identified proliferation concerns associated with holding most safeguards requirements in abeyance through an SQP, and has since urged States with an original SQP to adopt an amended model SQP. The United States Government subsequently made the decision to modify the SQP associated with INFCIRC/366.

In support of this decision the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) revised Part 75 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), "Safeguards on Nuclear Material—Implementation of Safeguards Agreements between the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency," in order to meet the U.S. Government's obligations under this Agreement. These revised regulations apply to any NRC applicant, licensee, certificate holder, or possessor of nuclear material (i.e., source or special nuclear material) outside facilities in the U.S. Caribbean Territories to accommodate additional obligations created as a result of the modified SQP.  The revised regulations ensure the U.S. provides timely, correct, and complete reports and declarations to the IAEA, and respond to IAEA requests. IAEA access under an ad hoc or special inspection to the physical location of nuclear material outside facilities (NMOF) is provided for in the revision. On May 4, 2018, the final 10 CFR Part 75 rule was published in the United States Government Federal Register (83 FR 19603).

Regulation changes to 10 CFR Part 75 explain terms of reference describing possessors of NMOF as holders of nuclear material that is not in a facility, and is customarily used in amounts of one effective kilogram or less. The physical location of each possessor of NMOF (para. 47 of INFCIRC/366) is described as a specific geographical point or area, where either nuclear material subject to the US-IAEA Caribbean Territories Safeguards Agreement resides or activity subject to this agreement occurs.

It should be noted that the modified SQP became binding on the U.S. when the Department of State notified the IAEA of the U.S. acceptance of the modified SQP on January 30, 2017, but did not enter into force until the U.S. completed the internal legal requirements to implement the modified SQP in the U.S. Caribbean Territories.  On July 3, 2018, the Department of State notified the IAEA that legal requirements were in place to bring into force the modified SQP agreement in the U.S.  The NRC collected the initial inventory information from the licensees and U.S. reporting to the IAEA under the modified SQP began in August 2018.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, August 24, 2020