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Published by IAEAInformation

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Published by: IAEAInformation on Apr 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The IAEA is responsible for verifying that nuclearmaterial held by Member States is not diverted frompeaceful purposes. The Safeguards AnalyticalLaboratory (SAL) at Seibersdorf, near Vienna, hasplayed a key role in the Agency’s verification activitiessince 1976.SAL provides accurate and timely analysis of
 nuclear  material
environmental samples
. It is part of aNetwork of Analytical Laboratories (NWAL), which atpresent consists of 14 laboratories in eight IAEAMember States.SAL provides extremely accurate and independentmeasurements of the samples it receives from theIAEA’s safeguards inspectors. Strict confidentiality ismaintained. Findings are reported promptly to helpthe Agency to determine whether States are complyingwith their responsibility to ensure that nuclear materialis not diverted.SAL consists of two main parts — the
Nuclear Laboratory 
and the
Clean Laboratory 
. The NuclearLaboratory analyses nuclear material samples andradioactive environmental samples. The CleanLaboratory screens all environmental samplesprovided by IAEA safeguards inspectors and analysesapproximately 20% of them by highly sophisticatedtechniques.The SAL complex at Seibersdorf is organizedphysically into three areas:
 nuclear material samples;environmental samples; and non-routine samples. Analytical chemistry 
 mass spectro- metric
are used to determine the elementaland isotopic composition of nuclear material andenvironmental samples.Strict quality assurance and quality control areessential for maintaining confidence in the results.External quality control is attained through SAL’sparticipation in numerous interlaboratory comparisonprogrammes.SAL aims to keep pace with technological develop-ments, and the use of sophisticated instruments,including robots, is one area of special achievement.
electronic workshops
, equipped withstate-of-the-art computer hardware and software,assist the analysts in their work.SAL staff provide comprehensive training for IAEAsafeguards inspectors in taking samples of nuclearmaterial and shipping them carefully back to SAL.Inspectors are briefed on the precautions they musttake in handling nuclear samples. Training is alsoprovided for inspectors in taking environmentalsamples, most of which are obtained from swipes ofequipment surfaces and building structures.In partnership with the Japanese authorities, theIAEA has established an on-site laboratory at theRokkasho-mura reprocessing facility.
world class facility for the analysis of nuclear materialand environmental samples
The IAEA SafeguardsAnalytical Laboratory

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