DR. HANS BLIX. DIRECTOR GENERAL
INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY
REVIEW AND EXTENSION CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE
TREATY ON THE NON-PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
New York 17 April 1995
It is fifty years since the nuclear bombs exploded over cities in Japan and the world concluded that such weapons must never be used again. It is also fifty years since the United Nations Organization was created inter alia to prevent and resolve conflicts and to promote disarmament. And it is 25 years since one vital building block was laid for a nuclear-weapon-free world, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which most of the world's non-nuclear-weapon States have committed themselves not to acquire such weapons, in which all the declared nuclear-weapon States have committed themselves to negotiations for nuclear and general disarmament and all parties have pledged to promote the transfer of peaceful nuclear technology to other parties.
The Treaty has been severely criticized by many for double standards - tolerating a nuclear arms race for nuclear-weapon States and demanding renunciation of nuclear weapons for others. However, today, when nuclear disarmament is accelerating and when the transfer of peaceful nuclear technology is growing, the Treaty is beginning to fulfil the hopes that were attached to it.
It is not difficult to see what is bringing this success. Nor is it difficult to see what is still missing.
The primary incentive to the acquisition of nuclear weapons has always been States' concerns about their national security. As the Cold War has ended, the risk of war between great powers is becoming remote and national stockpiles of nuclear weapons are being drastically cut. Perhaps they can be altogether eliminated some time in the future. The insecurity that States face today lies rather in the economic and environmental fields. Nuclear weapons are of no use against trade deficits, drought or global warming.
Even though growing detente is generally reducing the relevance of nuclear weapons, there is still justified concern about the threat they pose and there is a difficult distance to go before nuclear disarmament is accomplished and non-proliferation commitments are universal. There is also increased concern about the reliability of certain commitments, about the possible clandestine development or retention of a nuclear-weapon capacity. Just as a reliable renunciation of nuclear weapons is mutually reinforcing between neighbours and within regions, doubts about the genuineness of such renunciations will mutually undermine such commitments. Continued international vigilance and efforts to maintain and expand detente globally and regionally, strengthened international co-operation and effective international verification are required to ensure reliability and confidence.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which I represent, is given an important role in the implementation and fulfillment of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. First, it is responsible under Article III of the Treaty to verify that non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty are not diverting nuclear material from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Second, under Article IV of the Treaty, the Agency provides the main multilateral channel for expanding of the application of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Further it is providing the verification systems for nuclear-weapon-free zones envisaged in Article VII and is contributing also to the verification of activities relevant to Article VI.
During the preparatory phase of this Conference, the IAEA has submitted comprehensive documentation about its work. I shall offer some further comments on the role of the Agency in the principal areas to which I have just referred.
The IAEA Safeguards System
Acceptance of IAEA safeguards by non-nuclear-weapon States party to the NPT is required under the Treaty because there is a need for credible assurance that nuclear material and installations are used exclusively for peaceful purposes. In order to provide such assurance safeguards must be effective. Ineffective safeguards may be worse than none, because they might inspire misplaced confidence - with serious consequences. However, we must recognize that while States want the safeguards system to give a high degree of assurance, they often want a minimum degree of intrusion when they themselves are subject to the safeguards. States are no different from individuals in this regard: we want the legal system to give us maximum protection but we don't want to give the authorities unrestricted access to our homes.
When the NPT-type safeguards were first designed, there were many concerns in governments and the nuclear industry that they might impede legitimate technical developments or reveal commercial or industrial secrets. Such concerns have been unfounded. Industry now accepts and supports safeguards and recognizes them as a prerequisite for public acceptance and for international nuclear trade.
The number of States having safeguards agreements with the IAEA has gone up from 64 in 1975 to 118 in 1994. Of the latter 102 were concluded pursuant to the NPT. Even so, as of April 1995, no less than 61 States for which the NPT is in force, have not yet concluded the safeguards agreements which are required under the Treaty. In many cases the missing agreements have been outstanding for years despite repeated reminders from the IAEA. Even though most of these States have no items warranting safeguards, this state of affairs is not acceptable.
What is verified under these agreements? By late 1994, 170 power reactors, 158 research reactors and critical assemblies, 196 other facilities and 334 locations outside facilities were under safeguards. Significant increases are foreseen, not least because of the NPT accession of nearly all the newly independent States of the former Soviet Union, including Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine. The quantity of nuclear material under safeguards, particularly plutonium and highly enriched uranium, is also increasing rapidly.
Lessons from the Case of Iraq
I turn to the lessons learnt in the field of safeguards since the NPT Conference in 1990 and I begin with the case of Iraq. Under safeguards agreements concluded pursuant to the NPT all nuclear material and installations in a State is subject to safeguards. Yet, the safeguards system was designed essentially to detect diversion of nuclear material in declared installations. It was not designed to detect nuclear installations which were not declared, and material that might be contained in such installations. Evidently the detection of undeclared material and installations raises difficult problems. Inspectors cannot go at random in search of non-declared installations, nor do the safeguards agreements authorize this. Inspectors must have information to lead them to relevant questions and to relevant sites. In the case of Iraq before the Gulf War reliable information of this kind was unavailable to the IAEA inspectorate - and apparently also to governments. There was a rude awakening after the war to the inability of the safeguards system as then practised to detect undeclared nuclear installations. Already the first several IAEA inspection missions under the mandate of the Security Council resolution 687 (1991) revealed that, apart from the previously declared and safeguarded quantities of nuclear material which had not been diverted by Iraq, there existed large undeclared nuclear installations inter alia for the enrichment of uranium. What had not been possible to detect with the standard safeguards measures practiced under the NPT, became possible to detect through the additional information and inspection rights and techniques that became available to the IAEA in the wake of the Gulf War.
The inspection system mandated by the Security Council in the case of Iraq and explicitly accepted by Iraq as part of the cease-fire gave the IAEA inspectorate incomparably wider powers than States have given the Agency under NPT-type safeguards agreements. By using these wide inspection rights and the information obtained from Member States and with the strong support of the Security Council the Agency has now been able to draw a coherent and consistent picture of the Iraqi nuclear programme and to remove or neutralize items prohibited under the Security Council resolution.
Some media and academic circles have criticized the IAEA for the failure to detect the undeclared nuclear programme in Iraq and some have suggested that safeguards inspections under the NPT, would also become more effective if they were performed by an institution under the Security Council. This, I submit, is a facile and erroneous view.
Safeguards verification under the NPT, like verification in Iraq, is based on the express agreement of States. Although it is of course within the prerogative of the Security Council, if need be, to induce NPT States to live up to their duties under the safeguards agreements, it must be recognized that the States parties to NPT type safeguards agreements have not accepted anything similar to the far-reaching inspection regime which Iraq was compelled to accept in connection with the cease fire. Safeguards under the NPT can be made more effective, not through administration under the authority of the Security Council but, in the first place, by agreement of States to accept measures which give the IAEA greater access to information and sites. Proposals for such measures are now before the IAEA which - if accepted by States - will significantly increase the level of assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear activities - without, however, being as intrusive as the inspections mandated by the Security Council for Iraq.
Having said this, I would like to underline that fully in accordance with the relationship agreement between the IAEA and the United Nations a much closer interaction has been established since 1990 between the Agency and the Security Council including several informal briefings of the Council by the IAEA. In its summit statement of 1992 the Council emphasized "the integral role in the implementation of the [Non-Proliferation] Treaty of fully effective IAEA safeguards..." and added that
"The Members of the Council will take appropriate measures in the case of any violation notified to them by the IAEA."
Since the adoption in 1992 of the summit statement, secure communications links have been set up between the Secretary-General and myself and I have offered to brief the Council informally on Agency verification activities as often as it may be desired and in any case once a year at the time when the Agency submits its annual report to the General Assembly.
The Lessons from the Case of South Africa
South Africa is the first country to have rolled back from a nuclear-weapon status. It has had a strong interest to demonstrate to the world that all the nuclear weapons which it had built before joining the NPT were dismantled and that all the nuclear material in South Africa was accounted for. For this purpose, South Africa has co-operated fully with the Agency. Several lessons have been drawn from this co-operation. First, transparency regarding all nuclear related activities is important to build confidence in the completeness and correctness of a State's declaration of nuclear material and installations.
Second, a voluntary offer to go beyond standard obligations and accept Agency inspection anywhere any time, on a case by case basis, helps to inspire confidence. It goes without saying that in taking up such offers the Agency, while sometimes asking to see sites that may be military, is ready to make arrangements to protect legitimate military secrets from being revealed during inspection.
Third, it is important for the Agency to have inspectors who have some knowledge and understanding of nuclear weapons design and production.
Fourth, even in the case where the Agency has been shown the most extensive cooperation and openness and has conducted the most extensive inspections, it is not in a position to affirm that a declaration presented is correct and complete. It can only report that after very thorough verification, nothing is found suggesting the opposite.
The Lessons from the Case of the DPRK
The case of the DPRK shows inter aIia that, by 1992, some of the safeguards strengthening measures put in place by the IAEA since Iraq were working. It was the use of advanced analytical techniques which helped to confirm the conclusion that there was more plutonium in the DPRK than had been declared. Regrettably the techniques which led to this conclusion do not tell us anything about the quantity of the undeclared material and through the manner in which the DPRK authorities chose to discharge the fuel from its 5 MW experimental power reactor last spring, they have deliberately raised impediments to the reaching of conclusions in this regard. I want to stress at this point that the Agency has never asserted that the DPRK has diverted nuclear material to a clandestine nuclear weapons development. It has no evidence to that effect. It has had reasons, however, to report to the Security Council that the DPRK is in non-compliance with its safeguards agreement, that nuclear material could have been diverted and that the DPRK was rejecting an Agency request for a special inspection. This, in turn, has led the Council and its Members to take steps, which I hope will lead eventually to full verification in accordance with the safeguards agreement. It is important that until such time all evidence relevant to verification be kept intact by the DPRK.
Several lessons of general interest can be learned from the case of the DPRK.
First, that sampling and advanced analytical techniques are powerful tools of verification not only about present but also about past nuclear activities - without really being intrusive.
Second, that satellite imagery can be very helpful to inform inspectors where there is reason to look for evidence. Although the DPRK has protested about the Agency's reliance on such imagery it does not seem reasonable that the Agency should refrain from utilizing a type of information that is available to the whole world even commercially - and that has long been used for confidence-building in the field of arms control. I would add that it would be preferable for an international organization to obtain such imagery from several sources or from an international satellite agency.
Third, that the Security Council determines on the merits of each case how it will seek to bring about compliance with the safeguards agreements and respect for NPT obligations. The agreed framework reached by the United States and the DPRK and reported to the Security Council involves a freeze of a number of nuclear installations in the DPRK.
While the Agency is now enabled, with a degree of co-operation from the DPRK, to continue to perform safeguards inspections which also comprise the monitoring of the freeze, the DPRK does not consider itself bound by the safeguards agreement and holds that it will come into full compliance with that agreement only in connection with certain specific future events related to the progress in implementation of the Agreed Framework.
For the general respect of safeguards and NPT obligations, it must be hoped that the DPRK will offer a new declaration of nuclear material and installations for verification by the Agency and that this will be done sooner rather than later.
Strengthening of Safeguards
The current efforts to strengthen safeguards aim at providing more credible assurance about the correctness and completeness of States' declarations of items subject to safeguards and thus about the absence of undeclared nuclear activities. They also aim at making the implementation of safeguards more cost-efficient. Measures already adopted, such as the Board of Governors' affirmation of the Agency's right to conduct special inspections, the early provision to the Agency of design information about nuclear facilities, the initiation of a reporting scheme for exports and imports of nuclear material and specified non-nuclear material and equipment and measures to expand the Agency's information base and analytical capability, all of which focus on increased access to information and to sites. So does the major safeguards development programme (93 + 2) which started in 1993 and which has now resulted in concrete proposals, the general direction of which was endorsed by the IAEA Board of Governors in March.
Many of the measures identified in the new programme have been extensively tested with the help of Member States. They aim at obtaining information through such means as a States' Expanded Declaration about its nuclear activities and through new safeguards techniques, such as environmental sampling - which have proved to be effective in detecting undeclared activities. Other measures would aim at securing for Agency inspectors, physical access beyond the "strategic points' specified in the safeguards agreements.
The additional cost of some new activities may be offset by reductions in certain routine inspections which are currently carried out. What is certain is that more cooperation will be called for. Increased Agency access to nuclear and nuclear-related sites, sometimes on a "short-notice" or a "no-notice" basis, will be asked. However, this should not be difficult to accept if safeguards are seen by States not as an imposition but as an opportunity to demonstrate non-proliferation bona-fides. Moreover, if, as parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, States can commit themselves to the issuing of multiple entry visas for designated inspectors, to a simplified system of inspector designation and to prompt access to facilities, it is hard to understand why similar arrangements should not be possible in the context of safeguards.
Past NPT Conferences have stressed that the Agency requires adequate financial and human resources to meet its safeguards responsibilities effectively. However, a zero-real growth policy has been applied to the Agency's budget since 1985 and, in addition, we have had several years of forced reductions as a result of late payment of contributions. The financial constraints have disrupted planning and procurement of equipment, hampered the attainment of certain inspection goals, and caused delay in the recruitment of safeguards inspectors. It is clearly necessary that the verification function of the Agency be securely, and sufficiently funded.
To conclude - the verification system of the IAEA is a key component of the non-proliferation regime and the Agency is making substantial efforts to strengthen it. The success of these efforts depends ultimately on the extent to which parties are willing to give the Agency the political support, authority and resources it needs to cope with the expectations now placed upon it.
Let me now refer to some matters that do not relate to NPT type safeguards but which are germane to the broader question of non-proliferation.
A problem that has raised increasing concern over the last few years has been the illegal trafficking in nuclear materials. Unauthorized and uncontrolled movement of nuclear material can lead to radiation hazards and - in some cases - proliferation risks, depending upon the quantity and kind of material. However, in these cases it is not a government which is diverting nuclear material but individuals violating the legal order enacted by a government. The first line of defense against such diversion is evidently national governments acting individually or together to strengthen police and customs surveillance. However, some other types of measures are taken by the IAEA to assist States. These measures include establishing a data bank, and advising on systems of nuclear material accountancy and control.
In several parts of the world regional non-proliferation treaties are in force or in the making. In some cases States which are not party to the NPT have made similar non-proliferation commitments under regional treaties, such as the Tlatelolco Treaty, the Rarotonga Treaty and the treaty which will create an African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. In all these cases comprehensive IAEA safeguards of substantially the same kind as under the NPT are required.
The IAEA is also actively engaged in an examination of what safeguards arrangements would be appropriate in a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Given the conflict-ridden history of this region and the deep distrust existing among some of the prospective parties it is clear that verification would have to be particularly thorough - perhaps embracing a combination of bilateral, regional and multilateral measures.
Other Reliance on the IAEA Verification Capacity
Article VI of the NPT calls upon the parties "to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament". One of the fortunate results of the end of the Cold War is that there are now several agreements to demonstrate progress under this Article and a hope for even more to come.
IAEA safeguards are directly relevant in the implementation of some of these agreements. As a result of the dismantling of nuclear weapons under disarmament agreements between the United States and Russia considerable quantities of nuclear material arise in excess of defence needs. For its part the United States has placed some quantities of such material under safeguards in pursuance of its voluntary offer agreement with the Agency. The submission has not yet been made firmly irrevocable as appears to be the intention. The Agency is ready to provide similar verification to material which Russia or other nuclear-weapon States may place under safeguards.
Let me also mention that a non-discriminatory ban on the production of fissionable material - a so-called cut-off agreement - as called for by the General Assembly, is a measure which might well be subject to IAEA verification. The Agency's verification capabilities are sufficiently versatile to be tailored to the functional needs of different arms control and disarmament agreements. Under the NPT the Agency is already applying safeguards to the kind of installations that would have to be subject to verification under a cut-off agreement embracing nuclear-weapon States and the so-called threshold States.
There are at present negotiations in Geneva about a comprehensive test ban treaty. Such a treaty will involve several types of verification which are different from those of which the IAEA has experience. Let me point out, however, that there will be considerable overlap between obligations under such a ban and under the NPT. The 169 non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT are bound not to use any nuclear material for the testing of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosives and the IAEA is expected inter alia to verify their compliance with this obligation, to detect any violation and report it to the Security Council. It is only with respect to the five nuclear-weapon States and States outside IAEA comprehensive safeguards that the Agency does not have this task.
Apparently various options are now being considered for the verification system to be attached to a comprehensive test ban.
Let me respectfully submit that it would not appear to be necessary and practical to create a new international organization for each arms control and disarmament agreement. It would seem more practical to place "clusters' of agreements under different organizations, the most obvious being to charge the IAEA with verification of the cluster of nuclear related agreements and to charge the Chemical Weapons Organization with a cluster comprising also verification of the ban on biological weapons. There is no doubt in my mind that such arrangements would be less costly and more effective than other options.
Co-operation to Further the Use of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes
The NPT places an obligation in Article IV on all Parties to the Treaty to facilitate and promote peaceful nuclear activities. This obligation mirrors the main objective contained in the IAEA Statute, and the Agency has, in fact, been the principal multilateral instrument for promoting nuclear cooperation and the transfer of peaceful nuclear technology to developing countries and also for facilitating bilateral and regional arrangements.
A precondition for a responsible transfer of nuclear techniques, equipment and technology is the existence in the recipient countries of adequate rules and structures for radiation protection. Building up and strengthening such structures in developing countries has therefore been and remains a priority activity for the IAEA. The development of an international framework of norms and legal instruments relating to safety, waste management and transboundary movements of nuclear materials is also an important way in which the IAEA is promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The IAEA also promotes peaceful nuclear activities through a very wide information exchange. Scientists and engineers and policy-makers from developing countries participate in hundreds of meetings organized by the IAEA every year: symposia, seminars, conferences, co-ordinated research programmes, etc. They also benefit from the Agency's computerized bibliographic database - the International Nuclear Information System (INIS) - which contains nearly 1.8 million records and is growing at a rate of almost 90,000 records per year. Moreover, hundreds of physicists from developing and industrialized countries come every year to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy.
Previous Review Conferences have expressed support for the Agency's technical cooperation activities and have made specific suggestions which have subsequently been taken up by the Agency. Since 1990 we have been further strengthening our technical cooperation programme. The introduction of the "Model Project" concept is designed to maximize the impact of our activities on the end-users of nuclear techniques. For 1995, the Technical Co-operation Programme of the IAEA comprises nearly 1400 projects in about 90 developing countries, using an estimated $50 million of new resources. In addition to this, the Agency receives supplementary contributions from Member States for other projects approved by the Agency but not covered by existing resources. The overall programme involves support for national development efforts utilizing nuclear technology, as well as support for activities under regional co-operation arrangements for Asia and the Pacific (RCA), Africa (AFRA) and Latin America (ARCAL). The Agency also pursues projects in collaboration with other international organizations such as FAO and WHO. With a determined effort, we have been able to increase the programme implementation rate to the level of about 70% of resources allocated for 1994. This is, I am informed, among the highest implementation rates in the UN system.
IAEA technical co-operation activities to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy are described in documentation submitted to this Conference. However, I should like to offer you some examples.
Emphasis is placed on nuclear techniques that can lead to improvements in the production and preservation of food, in health care, in industrial production and in the provision of fresh water supplies. Non-power applications of nuclear energy is the area of technology transfer of greatest interest for a large number of IAEA Member States.
Environmentally sustainable food production is often effectively assisted through the application of nuclear techniques, e.g. by mutation breeding of food crops. As a result of Agency programmes three mutant varieties of rape seed have been released to farmers in Bangladesh and China and 19 mutant varieties of sesame have been released in Egypt and the Republic of Korea. In addition mutants of sorghum and rice are now being tested in the field in Mali. Other examples of projects supporting food production are several insect control prograrnmes which use the Sterile Insect Technique, e.g. eradication of the Fruit-Fly in various regions of the world and of the Tsetse fly in Tanzania and other parts of Africa.
Examples of health-related projects are national programmes using radioimmunoassay (RIA) diagnostic techniques to screen newborn infants in Tunisia and Uruguay for neonatal hypothyroidism and other congenital diseases.
Fresh water supply is an increasing problem and the IAEA is pursuing activities to apply isotope techniques for the sustainable exploitation of water resources. With some Member States in North Africa and the Middle East, the Agency is also reviewing various options - including one using nuclear reactors - for sea water desalination.
Some nuclear techniques, involving accelerators, can be used to reduce emissions from the burning of coal and oil. An IAEA project in Poland helps to develop and demonstrate the economic viability of a process using an electron beam to transform into fertilizer the sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides contained in flue gases from fossil-fuel burning plants.
The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 advanced the concept of sustainable development and adopted Agenda 21. A very large part of the Agency's activities are supportive of the objectives of Agenda 21, and of other U.N. System wide objectives, including that of ensuring that special attention is given to the needs of least developed countries.
Sustainable development offering better living conditions to a growing world population will require greater use of energy, particularly electricity, in the years ahead. But what energy sources are to be used? Fossil fuels today dominate and they will continue to do so for a long time. Yet, in particular oil and gas are finite and all fossil fuels raise environmental problems. Extensive analysis of energy options will be required. The IAEA and several other international organizations will stimulate and assist in the assessment of the benefits and problems of different power options, including nuclear energy. The Agency will also continue to be a forum for exchange of information and expertise for countries which choose the nuclear power option. If an expanded use of fossil fuels proves increasingly problematic due to the increase it will cause in emission of CO2 and some other greenhouse gases, a greater global reliance on nuclear power may become a necessity. Greater energy efficiency and greater use of commercial renewable resources are not expected to go very far to meet future energy demands.
The co-operation activities of the IAEA depend upon financing through the Agency's Technical Co-operation Fund (TCF), which receives voluntary contributions, and extra-budgetary resources, from Member States. The target contribution for the Technical Co- operation Fund has not yet reached US$60 million, which is a modest sum compared to the needs of a growing number of recipient countries for assistance in using nuclear techniques for their development.
The IAEA provides a unique mechanism for the furtherance of the utilization of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as envisaged by Article IV of the NPT - in medicine, agriculture and industry as well as power generation. Regrettably, since 1984, pledges and payments against the Agency's Technical Co-operation Fund target have shown a downward trend - down to 72% of the target in 1994. I regret to note that some industrialized Member States made no pledge whatsoever. Much more could be accomplished if greater resources were available.
To sum up: the IAEA, which has a statutory duty to promote the peaceful applications of nuclear energy and to help prevent its military use, serves as a vital instrument for the implementation of the NPT.
The Agency must be enabled, through adequate resources, and strengthened and streamlined safeguards, effectively to verify that non-proliferation pledges are respected and, thereby, to create confidence among the parties.
The Agency's verification capacity can be employed in the implementation of nuclear disarmament agreements which are to be reached in pursuance of Article VI of the NPT.
The Agency can serve as a principal intergovernmental channel for the transfer of peaceful nuclear technology among NPT parties and of assistance to developing countries.
I trust this Conference will ensure that there is no interruption in these services of the IAEA under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
NOTE: The address by the Director General of the IAEA, Dr. Hans Blix, is also in the Summary Records, document No. NPT/CONF.1995/SR.1.