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U.S. – IAEA Safeguards Agreement

The United States (U.S.) – International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards Agreement is a treaty between the U.S. Government and the IAEA for the application of international safeguards on nuclear material at facilities in the U.S.  Although not required to do so under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the U.S. voluntarily signed (in 1977) and brought into force a safeguards agreement that permits the IAEA "… to apply safeguards, …, on all source or special fissionable material in all facilities within the United States, excluding only those facilities associated with activities with direct national security significance to the United States…" The U.S. implements the U.S.– IAEA Safeguards Agreement to demonstrate to other countries that the implementation of IAEA safeguards will not place their nuclear facilities at an economic disadvantage compared to the U.S. nuclear facilities.

In order to comply with U.S.-specific provisions of the Safeguards Agreement, the U.S. maintains a list of facilities that are eligible for the application of IAEA safeguards. This list, called the Eligible Facilities List (EFL), is periodically updated to contain U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facilities or locations that have been reviewed and approved by the U.S. Government as not being associated with activities of direct national security significance to the U.S.  Since the Safeguards Agreement entered into force, more than 250 facilities licensed by the NRC have been placed on the EFL.  Four NRC-licensed facilities are currently selected by the IAEA for submitting nuclear material accounting data to the IAEA. Since 1980, twelve NRC-licensed facilities have been inspected by the IAEA.

Under the U.S. – IAEA Safeguards Agreement, the U.S. provides the IAEA with declarations on nuclear material accounting data for and access to nuclear facilities selected by the IAEA. The fundamental safeguards measure used by the IAEA to verify declarations is detailed nuclear material accountancy. The IAEA performs its verification activities using a number of methods including observation, verification of design information, review of nuclear material accountancy records and reports, independent measurements, containment and surveillance, and unattended monitoring. The IAEA also confirms that the facility is only being used for the declared peaceful purpose. Annually, as it does for all countries with safeguards agreements, the IAEA draws a conclusion regarding the accuracy of U.S declarations regarding the selected facilities and reports its conclusions to the IAEA Board of Governors.

The most recent version of the NRC portion of the EFL can be found in the NRC's Agency-wide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) as a publicly available document. The most recent updates to the EFL are listed below with the ADAMS accession numbers.

NRC-Licensed Facilities Eligible for the Application of IAEA Safeguards
Calendar Year Update ADAMS Accession Number
2007 ML072490527
2008 No Change
2009 ML110420394
2010 ML112640475
2011 ML12157A558
2012 ML13177A355
2013 ML14307A135
2014 No Change
2015 ML16119A250
2016 Under approval

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, February 17, 2017