Online event, 10 Nov. ’22, 4pm CET: IAEA Safeguards and Naval Nuclear Propulsion

Multilateral Dialogue KAS Vienna and Atomic Reporters


Thursday, 10 November 2022: 16:00 – 17:45 CET


The Multilateral Dialogue of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Vienna, together with Atomic Reporters, invites you to an online discussion on IAEA Safeguards and Naval Nuclear PropulsionThe IAEA’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nuclear safeguards (verification) agreements based on INFCIRC/153 (Corr.) contain a “grey area” or “loophole” allowing non-nuclear-weapon States (NNWS) to exempt naval nuclear fuel and reactors from IAEA safeguards, thus creating for the IAEA a significant gap in safeguards coverage and loss of continuity of knowledge about large quantities of enriched uranium in the naval nuclear fuel cycle. At present Australia and Brazil have approached the IAEA to work out exemption from safeguards of their respective naval nuclear propulsion acquisition programmes. Canada, Iran, Japan, South Korea and others in the future may also decide to acquire nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs), as are Australia and Brazil. How will the IAEA and NPT States Parties deal with the “non-application of safeguards on non-peaceful/non-proscribed military activities” has become a hotly contested matter at the IAEA Board of Governors, and also was contentious at the Xth NPT Review Conference (August 2022). This online discussion will examine the various facets and implications of the challenge posed by naval nuclear propulsion to the IAEA’s safeguards system, the resulting effect on the Agency’s ability to verify nuclear activities in NNWS and implications for “safeguards conclusions”, as well as the challenges of naval nuclear propulsion for newcomer States. These and related issues will be examined by experts in the field. The previous discussion on Nuclear Submarines: Who Will Get Them Next? was held on 21 November 2021; the video is available here.


Ionut Suseanu:

Head of Non-Proliferation and Policy Making Organs Section, Office of Legal Affairs, International Atomic Energy Agency.

Dr. Sophie Grape: 

Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics, Uppsala University, Sweden. Her research, inter alia, explores ways of ensuring non-diversion of nuclear material from the peaceful nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear energy systems; and nuclear safeguards measures and tools to deter and detect possible diversions; Among other writings, she is the author of: “Studies on naval reactor core properties in light of recent AUKUS developments” (Alva Myrdal Centre for Nuclear Disarmament). 

Rear Admiral John Gower CB OBE:

Director of Mimir Consulting, served until his retirement in December 2014 as Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Nuclear, Chemical & Biological) in the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Nearly half of his 36-year military career was at sea, culminating in the sequential command of two globally deployed submarines. He is a Consulting Member of the IISS; and a Senior Adviser to the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) to reduce the risks of nuclear conflict, including an urgent need to limit and ban nuclear-armed cruise missiles. He publishes with CSR, the European and Asia-Pacific Leadership networks and others – details are on the Mimir website.

Moderator (and panelist)

Tariq Rauf: Member Board of Directors of Atomic Reporters and Canadian Pugwash; former Head of Verification and Security Policy; Alternate Head of the NPT Delegation, International Atomic Energy Agency; and member of the Eminent Persons Group for Substantive Progress on Nuclear Disarmament convened by the Foreign Minister of Japan. Co-author of Opening Pandora’s Box: Nuclear-Powered Submarines and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons (Canadian Centre for Arms Control and Disarmament, 1988); author: Crashing Nuclear Submarines Through IAEA SafeguardsDriving Nuclear Submarines Through IAEA Safeguards!and IAEA Safeguards: The Continuing Challenge of Nuclear Submarines

Photo — Pacific Ocean (Jul. 29, 2003) Crewmen aboard the Los Angeles-class nuclear powered attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758), man the topside navigation watch as the submarine operates at high speed near San Diego. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Thomas C. Peterson. File# 030729-N-5465P-004.

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