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Nuclear Safeguards Education Portal


Nuclear material safeguard systems use measurements and inspection activities to help meet the two IAEA objectives:

  1. Objective 1: timely detection of the diversion of significant quantities of nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities to the manufacture of nuclear weapons or of other nuclear explosive devices or for purposes unknown, and deterrence of such diversion by the risk of early detection.
  2. Objective 2: the detection of undeclared nuclear material and activities in a State.

The nondestructive analysis (NDA) and destructive analysis (DA) measurements give us signals related to the mass and characteristics of nuclear material in a declared facility or in/around an undeclared facility. We use statistics to determine:

  1. How good those measurements are
  2. How many measurements we have to take
  3. Whether or not to alarm the system (that is if we believe the signals indicate that a diversion has occurred or there is an undeclared activity)

Statistics is an integral part of acquiring an answer from the many signals available in a safeguards system.In this module we will cover some of the basic concepts in statistics applied to measurements and derived quantities.

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