Jul 26, 2017
Next month, the IAEA will launch a new web-based system streamlining the submission of safeguards declarations by States. These form the basis for the IAEA’s nuclear verification work, which provides assurances to the international community that nuclear material remains in peaceful use.
The new State Declaration Portal, which will run on a secure online network, will save both time and effort in information exchange with Member States, said Tero Varjoranta, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Safeguards. “We are very excited to launch the Portal, which will make the process of submitting declarations much more efficient and reduce the overall time needed for the IAEA to process them,” he said.
Safeguards declarations contain information about States’ nuclear material inventories and other related activities. The IAEA verifies the information in these declarations to determine if a State is fulfilling its safeguards obligations. Today these reports are delivered in a number of predominantly paper-based ways, such as post, fax, e-mail or in-person delivery to IAEA headquarters in Vienna. “This process is normally quite lengthy and labour intensive,” said Alain Rialhe, Head of the Declared Information Analysis Section at the IAEA. “After we finish processing these declarations, we provide comments and feedback to the State. And this could involve some back and forth.”
The Portal provides an avenue for quicker and more direct transfer of information between the IAEA and those national or regional authorities who choose to adopt this new method of communication.
Encryption for enhanced security
Considering the highly sensitive nature of the information exchanged between the IAEA and States, the Portal features the highest level of information security infrastructure. “Confidentiality is a legal obligation, and protecting that confidentiality has been a central part of the planning for the Portal,” said Rialhe. “Nothing will go through the Portal without being encrypted.”
The Portal is part of the IAEA’s Modernization of Safeguard Information Technology (MOSAIC) programme, launched in 2015. The programme involves the replacement of the old safeguards information system with a more modern and secure environment, enabling the IAEA to conduct safeguards activities in a more efficient and effective manner.
“States’ participation in this new initiative is completely voluntary but encouraged,” Varjoranta emphasized. “It is in everyone’s interest to find efficient ways to enable the IAEA to provide credible assurances that States are honouring their legal obligations.”