Safeguards Computer System in Need of Urgent Upgrade - IAEA
Seeks Extrabudgetary Contributions to Cover Shortfall in
IAEA Staff Report
22 October 2004
Information gathered by IAEA nuclear
inspectors is processed in a confidential IT system to
monitor countries nuclear activities.
The computer system
that IAEA inspectors use to track, analyse and verify a country´s
nuclear activities badly needs an overhaul. Built in the
late 1970s, the aging system is hampering
inspectors from efficiently doing their jobs.
Calling on its Member
States for extra budgetary contributions to upgrade the system,
the Agency said, "Failure to replace
the hardware and software, and to integrate fully all the information
system components will carry large risks".
The current database
systems stores confidential and exceptionally detailed information
about past inspections conducted in over
900 facilities around the world. This includes countries´ declarations
of nuclear material, reports and analyses from inspections,
and an expanse of other data. It is a powerful system that
IAEA inspectors use to build a clearer picture of whether a
country is using safeguarded nuclear material for military
But the outdated
system is making work increasingly cumbersome for inspectors
in the field and back at the Agency's Vienna
headquarters. A senior IAEA inspector described the current
system as inflexible, with data spread across a "patchwork" of
"Extracting information can take hours and days, making
timely analysis of relevant safeguards data difficult and expensive," says
the manager of the Project in the Safeguard´s Information
Technology (IT) Division, Mr. Livio Costantini. "We need
to prepare for new data to be included when drawing safeguards
conclusions, such as open source, imagery and import and export
information." Additionally, growing IT requirements and
demands by the new strengthened safeguards systems is further
stretching aging resources.
"A major overhaul of the system is needed to allow inspectors
immediate, secure online access to safeguards information," Mr.
Costantini said. To date the US and UK have contributed over
$12 million, respectively, to finance the IT overhaul but a
$10 million shortfall remains.
"Our work load is increasing faster than available resources," Mr.
Costantini said. "We need to integrate our IT systems
to enhance our analytic capabilities so we can better help
our inspectors do their job," he said.