IAEA safeguards are embedded in legally binding agreements. Pursuant to the IAEA’s Statute, which authorizes the IAEA to establish and administer safeguards, States accept IAEA safeguards through the conclusion of agreements with the IAEA. These legal agreements are of three types:
• Comprehensive safeguards agreements (CSAs) with non-nuclear-weapon States (NNWSs) parties to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to regional nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) treaties;
• Voluntary offer safeguards agreements (VOAs) with the nuclear-weapon States (NWSs) parties to the NPT; and
• Item-specific safeguards agreements that are currently implemented in States that are not a party to the NPT.
The vast majority of safeguards agreements are those that have been concluded by the IAEA with NNWSs parties to the NPT.
Under the NPT, the NNWSs parties have committed not to produce or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to place all of their nuclear material and activities under IAEA safeguards and to allow the IAEA to verify their commitments.
Additional protocols to safeguards agreements enhance both the effectiveness and efficiency of safeguards implementation in States. The additional measures provided for in an additional protocol to a CSA include provisions for broader information about, and inspector access to, all aspects of a State's nuclear fuel cycle.
A State with little or no nuclear material may be eligible to conclude a small quantities protocol (SQP) to its CSA, which reduces the safeguards activities conducted in the State.
Open this link to find a brief on The Legal Framework on IAEA Safeguards.
The following IAEA publications and documents may be useful to States implementing comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols.
The documents cover three areas of Safeguards implementation:
General Safeguards Implementation
Small Quantities Protocols