In this video, we follow an IAEA safeguards inspector at a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in the Netherlands. Uranium enrichment, a process in which the proportion of fissile U-235 isotopes is increased from 0.71% to up to 6% for industrial use, is an essential step in the preparation of nuclear fuel. However, the nuclear material and technology at enrichment plants can also be used to manufacture weapons grade uranium (over 85%). The IAEA verifies that all nuclear material and activities are declared by the State, and that no nuclear material is diverted from peaceful purposes.
In the film, the inspector explains and demonstrates how she collects samples, checks inventories, and verifies enrichment levels through destructive essays – all to ensure that material is not being diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Inspectors, equipment, techniques and technologies are critical components of IAEA safeguards.