RECOVER: A Potentially Useful Technology for Nuclear Safeguards, but Greater International Commitment Is Needed - GAO Report
|Date:||Jan. 25, 1983|
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Nuclear facility safety
Research and development
Arms control verification
Remote Continual Verification System
GAO reported on the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency's (ACDA) Remote Continual Verification (RECOVER) system which is being developed to help the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) better use its inspectors. The RECOVER system would remotely monitor the operational status of surveillance cameras and containment devices.
GAO stated that the potential benefits of RECOVER for international safeguards are still uncertain. Although it is intended to improve IAEA efficiency and effectiveness, how and to what degree these goals would be achieved has not been determined. An initial report indicated that RECOVER would be potentially cost effective at only a small percentage of installations. IAEA believes that RECOVER may enhance the credibility of safeguards but that it will not reduce routine inspections. At present, the involved parties do not have the basic information necessary to make an informed decision on RECOVER benefits. In addition, potential legal and political obstacles to its routine use remain unexamined. The RECOVER project is having difficulty making the transition from research and development to implementation. The program has fallen 2 to 3 years behind schedule, and milestones for the integration of RECOVER into international nuclear safeguards procedures have been missed. The delays are partially due to the ACDA lack of resources, including a shortage of technical staff. There is general agreement that no insurmountable technical barriers block the use of RECOVER, but significant additional technical development is necessary before RECOVER could be used routinely for international safeguards. Uncertainties also continue concerning the likely cost of implementing the system because the eventual size of such a system is unknown and existing cost estimates for components are outdated and incomplete.