Title: Methodological Aspects of the IAEA State Level Concept and Acquisition Path Analysis: A State’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Related Capabilities, and the Quantification of Acquisition Paths
Publisher: ESARDA and Joint Research Centre
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC97880
ISSN: 0392-3029
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC97880
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Within its State Level Concept (SLC), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) envisions a State Level Approach (SLA) for safeguards implementation that considers, inter alia, a State’s nuclear and nuclear-related activities and capabilities as a whole when developing an annual implementation plan. Based on the assessed nuclear fuel cycle and related capabilities of a State, Acquisition Path Analysis (APA) identifies, characterizes, and prioritizes plausible routes for acquiring weapons-usable material to aid in safeguards implementation planning. A review of proposed APA methods and historical evidence indicates that assessments of pathway completion time can be fraught with uncertainty and subject to bias, potentially undermining safeguards effectiveness and efficiency. Based on considerations of theory and evidence, a number of methodological insights are identified to support consistent implementation and ongoing APA development. The use of algorithms to support APA and SLA processes in lieu of human judgement is a contentious issue requiring an evidence-based assessment and is also briefly discussed. This paper captures concepts derived primarily from open sources of information, including publications, presentations, and workshops on on-going APA development by the IAEA and various Member States Support Programs (MSSP) as well as relevant work found in the open literature. While implementation of the SLA has begun for a number of States, these SLAs are being updated and developed for other States. In light of these ongoing developments, the topics covered here should be considered a snapshot in time that does not reflect finished products and does not necessarily reflect official views.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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