- India has decided to place four more reactors under the IAEA safeguards. Accordingly, two Russian-designed Pressurised Light Water Reactors and two Pressurised Heavy Reactors being built with Indian technology will be covered.
- With this, a total of 26 Indian nuclear facilities will be under the international nuclear energy watchdog. This was stated by Sekhar Basu, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, at the 62nd General Conference of IAEA Vienna, Austria.
- There are at present 22 operational reactors, of which 14 are under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards as these use imported fuel.
About IAEA safeguards:
- Safeguards are a set of technical measures applied by the IAEA on nuclear material and activities, through which the Agency seeks to independently verify that nuclear facilities are not misused and nuclear material not diverted from peaceful uses. States accept these measures through the conclusion of safeguards agreements.
- The objective of IAEA Safeguards is to deter the spread of nuclear weapons by the early detection of the misuse of nuclear material or technology. This provides credible assurances that States are honouring their legal obligations that nuclear material is being used only for peaceful purposes.
- IAEA safeguards are an essential component of the international security system. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the centrepiece of global efforts to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons. Under the Treaty’s Article 3, each Non-Nuclear Weapon State is required to conclude a safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
- Within the world’s nuclear non-proliferation regime, the IAEA’s safeguards system functions as a confidence-building measure, an early warning mechanism, and the trigger that sets in motion other responses by the international community if and when the need arises. Over the past decade, IAEA safeguards have been strengthened in key areas.