A report titled URENCO Conference on GCEP Safeguards, held in December 2009, refers to the lack of safeguards on uranium enrichment plants in NWS. The fact is obvious, but operator-expressed concern about the situation’s unfairness was sufficient to warrant inclusion in the report.
There is unfairness due to a lack of a level playing field. Most of the uranium enrichment plants in nuclear weapons states are not subject to international safeguards – either because the state concerned has not made them available for safeguards verification under their voluntary offer safeguards agreement, or because IAEA has chosen not to safeguard them. As these plants constitute around three-quarters of the enrichment capacity in the world, some felt that this was rather unfair on those operators whose plants are safeguarded. A few thought that the whole concept of safeguards was undermined when so much of the world capacity for uranium enrichment was outside the scheme.