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South Africa – Verification Lessons Learned from the Dismantled Nuclear Weapons Programme. Olli Heinonen Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Harvard Kennedy School 18 October, 2013. N uclear weapons programs took place parallel to civilian programs .
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Harvard Kennedy School
18 October, 2013
Nuclear power alone is not a stepping stone to weapon capability, but mastering of sensitive technologies is:
- Uranium enrichment
(South Africa considered both, but opted for the uranium enrichment)
Nuclear know-how ; technologies cannot be un-invented and special skills fade away slowly.Path to Nuclear Weapon Capability
Under INFCIRC/66 safeguards before September 1991:
- SAFARI-1 research reactor, Pelindaba.
- Hot cell complex, Pelindaba.
- Koebergnuclear power reactor units 1 and 2.
Note: These installations had not contributed to the weapons program.
Additional installations from September 1991 under a INFCIRC/153-type agreement
- Uranium conversion plant (UF6).
- Pilot enrichment plant (HEU).
- HEU metal/alloy production plant.
- HEU fuel fabrication.
- Semi-commercial enrichment plant (LEU).
- MLIS laser enrichment R&D facility.
- LEU fuel fabrication plant.
- Natural uranium/depleted uranium metal plants.
- Decontamination plants and waste storages.
Note: Also R&D on centrifuge enrichment, but without using nuclear material.
Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.
Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in Africa.
The Treaty requires the dismantlement of nuclear weapons programs in a verifiable manner.
Resolution of the IAEA General Conference
NPT model safeguards agreement (INFCIRC/153 Corrected):
-Purpose: verifying that nuclear material is not diverted.
-Verify that State declarations about their nuclear material holdings are correct and complete.
–Technical objective: timely detection and deterrence of diversion of significant quantities of nuclear material.
–Focus on declared facilities and material.
–Fundamental safeguards measure is nuclear material accountancy, with containment and surveillance as complementary measures.
Taking into account the past weapons program, the objectives of the IAEA inspections were to:
- Gain assurance that all nuclear material used in the program has been placed under IAEA safeguards and is in peaceful use.
- Assess that all non-nuclear weapons specific components of the devices had been destroyed, all laboratory and engineering facilities had been fully decommissioned and abandoned or converted to non-nuclear or peaceful nuclear usage, all weapons-specific equipment had been destroyed and that all other equipment had been converted to non-nuclear usage or peaceful nuclear usage.
Assessment of the completeness of the declared nuclear inventory:
-The inventory was first evaluated with respect to production, imports, and usage of uranium, and then the isotopic balance of the inventory was calculated and compared with the use ofnatural uranium.
- Entire operating history of the enrichment plants was assessed by analyzing of data from several thousand operating records including detailed the plant status, on a daily basis.
- All nuclear wastes were characterized, repacked and verified.
The overlap between the equipment, knowledge and materials required to develop nuclear weapons and to conduct civilian nuclear research or develop nuclear defense limits the effectiveness of verification measures and complicates information acquisition and analysis .