The issue of Ukraine’s attitude towards nuclear weapons located within its territory arose long before the formal proclamation of its independence. This was reflected in the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine and in the Statement of the Verkhovna Rada “On Non-Nuclear Status of Ukraine”, which confirmed intentions of our State to meet three non-nuclear principles: non-possession, non-production and non-use of nuclear weapons.

With Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada “On Additional Measures on Ensuring Ukraine’s Acquisition of Non-Nuclear Status” No. 2264-XII dated 9 April 1992, Agreement “On Procedure for Transfer of Nuclear Weapons from the Territory of Ukraine to Central Industrial Bases of the Russian Federation with the Objective to Dismantle Them and Destroy” was developed and signed by the Presidents of Ukraine and the Russian Federation on 11 April 1992. In May 1992 the transportation of tactical nuclear weapons from the territory of Ukraine was finished. On 14 January 1994 the Trilateral Statement of the Presidents of Ukraine, the USA and Russia was signed with the objective to accelerate entry of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) into force and Ukraine joining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). According to this document, the process of transportation of all strategic nuclear weapons from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation was started in March 1994 and finished on 1 June 1996.

According to the Law of Ukraine dated 16 November 1994 “On Ukraine’s Joining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”, Ukraine is a participant of the Treaty as a non-nuclear state. In this regard, after elimination of all the nuclear weapons, Ukraine was obliged not to receive nuclear weapons from any supplier, not to produce and not to purchase them. Ukraine is fully aware of a potential hazard with regard to acquisition of a nuclear status by at least one additional country and, hence, it upholds its position on the necessity to use all the possible political forces in order to prevent distribution of nuclear weapons in the world.

According to Article III of the NPT, “Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agency’s safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”. The second part of this Article envisages that each State Party to the Treaty “undertakes not to provide: a) source or special fissionable material, or equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material, to any non-nuclear-weapon State for peaceful purposes, unless the source or special fissionable material shall be subject to the safeguards”.

According to this Article, Ukraine signed and ratified an Agreement between Ukraine and the International Atomic Energy Agency on the Application of Safeguards in relation to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. This is a standard agreement which comes into force right after the Agency receives an official notification from the State on the performance of the relevant procedures. The standard agreement defines scientific and technical framework of all IAEA practices envisaged by NPT Article III.1. The main tasks are defined, and so is the procedure for implementation of the safeguards, including beginning and termination of control, exemption from safeguards and registration of results of the Agency’s activity related to control. Specific safeguards procedures and methods are developed, particularly procedure for the use of national systems for nuclear material accounting and control, procedures and scope of the IAEA inspections are defined. International transfers of nuclear materials within the Agency’s safeguards are regulated.

Development of IAEA safeguards was always aimed at searching for the most efficient system, which would comply with the requirements of time. During formation of the post bipolar system of international relations when non-proliferation regime was under significantly difficult conditions, the unauthorized activity related to uranium enrichment in Iraq was revealed. This case was the impetus to find the ways to improve the non-proliferation regime and increase the efficiency of the safeguards system. It resulted in development of “Program 93+2” and acceptance of Additional Protocol (INFCIRC/540) by the IAEA Board of Governors. According to this document, the possibility in performing any unauthorized activity in the state is excluded mainly due to the expansion of access for IAEA inspectors to facilities where nuclear materials are used. Along with this, the weakness of INFCIRC/540 should be also stated. Signing and ratification of the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement does not result from obligations under the NPT, and is exceptionally voluntary for the states, this reduces to some extent the effectiveness of this tool. The countries that signed and ratified this Protocol are the participants of the “System of Strengthened Safeguards”.

Ukraine with a high nuclear potential and active support of the policy for improving efficiency of the non-proliferation regime carefully behaved toward a new system of IAEA safeguards. It signed the Additional Protocol on 15 August 2000 and ratified it on 16 November 2005, thus confirming its intention to use nuclear material only for peaceful purposes. Taking into account Ukraine’s full compliance with the non-proliferation regime and its obligations under the Agreement, this document covers all nuclear activities of the state. Moreover, it was a consistent step for our state in the policy for support of the non-proliferation regime, which demonstrated exemplary fulfillment of obligations in accordance with the signed agreements.

The IAEA safeguards system constantly improves in response to the active policy of nuclear energy use by more and more countries, thus increasing the scope of using nuclear material and technologies. Such a number of inspections declared in the Agreement will further require huge economic costs. Despite the disastrous consequences of the accident at Fukushima-1 NPP, the nearest future of energy security will be closely tight with the development of nuclear energy.

According to the information presented by Yukiya Amano, IAEA Director General, during his speech at the fifty-sixth regular session the IAEA General Conference, there is envisaged stable increase in the number of nuclear power plants in the world in the next 20 years. Therefore, there is a high probability of overloading the Agency budget. This situation was the reason for finding optimal solution of the problem, which resulted in the development of the IAEA integrated safeguards system. This was another important step to optimize and improve functioning of the safeguards system. It is based on the optimal combination of traditional safeguards (INFCIRC/153) with requirements of advanced safeguards under the Additional Protocol (INFCIRC/540).

The objective of integrated safeguards is to ensure the creation of the most efficient mechanism for functioning of the advanced safeguards system. Therefore, new measures of control will be integrated into the already implemented procedures. Thanks to this, taking into account procedures used according to the Additional Protocol, on the one hand, it is possible to reduce the burden on the state, and on the other hand, to reduce the burden on the Agency, which will ensure maximum efficiency within available resources.

From 1 May 2012, the IAEA started to apply integrated safeguards in Ukraine, which will allow the IAEA to reach confidence in absence of unauthorized nuclear material and unauthorized nuclear activity in Ukraine, and to reduce a number of inspections.

The integrated safeguards system is characterized as one that expresses the highest level of confidence in the state, which exemplary met conditions of the Agreement on Safeguards and Additional Protocol.

Implementation of the Agreement on Safeguards in Ukraine is based on the use of data from the State System for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (SSAC). In order to ensure efficient functioning of SSAC in compliance with international obligations on the nuclear non-proliferation, a regulatory framework was developed and is constantly improved. The regulatory framework developed in Ukraine on the application of safeguards is as follows:

An information system is one of the most important components of SSAC. Specialists created and continue improving the state database of nuclear materials, which provides information on the quantity and composition of nuclear materials in any material balance area in order to prepare and present data on nuclear materials in accordance with international agreements of Ukraine, should such information be required by state authorities. The number of enterprises where nuclear materials are located and accounted for is 114. These enterprises and institutions are divided geographically by material balance areas: RKQ0 – 11 enterprises; RKQ1 – 23; RKQ2 – 17; RKQ3 – 27; RKQ4 – 36.

Structure of nuclear material balance areas

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) is in charge with coordination of measures on implementation of the Agreement between Ukraine and IAEA on the Application of Safeguards with regard to the NPT, Additional Protocol to the Agreement.

In order to ensure relevant state accounting of nuclear materials and create conditions for implementation of international agreements, the SNRIU is responsible for the following:

  • accounting, summary and submission of information to IAEA which is received from entities of the State System for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials in accordance with international agreements;
  • definition and coordination of nuclear material balance areas with IAEA, their state accounting and removal from accounting, maintaining of the state database on nuclear materials;
  • cooperation with IAEA on matters concerning international agreements, including resolution of controversial issues;
  • informing the entities of the State System for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials on receiving of IAEA information on organization of inspections at facilities or additional access in accordance with requirements of international agreements.

Implementation of requirements of the Agreement on Safeguards and Additional Protocol to this Agreement permits assuring the international community that Ukraine performs all its obligations on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and uses nuclear power only for peaceful purposes.

Reference:

  1. The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine