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Basic understanding of Transparency

Definition of Transparency

There are different definitions for the term "Transparency". These definitions vary depending on the field in which the term is used and within the context of its usage. JAEA has conducted transparency-relevant studies and activities based on the definition proposed by the Cooperative Monitoring Center (CMC) at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) that transparency in the context of peaceful uses of nuclear energy is:

"A cooperative process of providing information to all interested parties so that they can independently assess the safety, security, and legitimate management of nuclear materials" [1]

Benefits of regional transparency

Promotes confidence building

In the area of international safeguards and nonproliferation, implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) assures information sharing between the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) and the member states: the member states provide information to the IAEA so that the IAEA can independently assess the peaceful nature of nuclear programs in the states, and the states receive the IAEA’s conclusions (left part of Fig. 1). However; it does not provide any structures or mechanisms for the states to directly exchange such information.
Voluntary efforts to share relevant information among the states (regional transparency, right part of Figure 1) can provide additional assurance in the region that the existing nuclear programs are of a peaceful nature and do not pose any threat, which will foster confidence building. It is essential, especially where the use of nuclear energy is increasing. [2].

Fig.1 Bilateral between IAEA and each member state/ multilateral among member states [3]
- Fig. 1 Bilateral communication between IAEA and each member state/ multilateral communication among member states [3] -

Complements and reinforces IAEA safeguards

Regional transparency is also beneficial by complementing and reinforcing IAEA safeguards [3]. When meaningful information, e.g. good practice of safeguards implementation or experiences of R&D technologies, is appropriately shared among the states in the region, State and/or Regional System of Accounting for and Control of nuclear material (SSAC/ RSAC) capability is expected to be elevated. By promoting IAEA cooperation with SSAC/RSAC, regional transparency contributes to reinforcing the IAEA’s credibility and reducing its safeguards burden [4]. From this viewpoint, voluntary information sharing has been promoted recently through non-institutionalized regional networks such as the Asia-Pacific Safeguards Network (APSN).


In the context of transparency, there exist various stakeholders, in other words, information providers/receivers. Stakeholders include individuals and organizations such as facility operators, inspectors, research institutions, academic institutions, and the public as well as the IAEA and the state governments [5]. In order to facilitate and simplify the discussion of transparency, it was proposed to categorize these stakeholders (see Fig. 2) into Track I (governmental organizations), Track II (non-governmental, professions) and others (public, media, others) [6] from the viewpoint of the security level of information that they can receive [7].

Fig.2 Stakeholders
- Fig. 2 Stakeholders -

[1] C. D. Harmon et al. “Nuclear Facility Transparency: Definition and Concepts”, Cooperative Monitoring Center, Sandia National Laboratories, 2000

[2] Y. Kawakubo et al. “Information Sharing Framework among Experts for Facilitating Development of Fast Reactors and Fuel Cycles”, Proceedings of FR 13, France 2013

[3] B. Hoffheins et al. “JAEA’s Efforts for Regional Transparency in the Area of Nuclear Nonproliferation”, JAEA-Review 2013-006, 2013

[4] A. Raffo-Caidao and J. Johnson, “Cooperation between SSACs/RSACs and the IAEA under the State-Level Concept: An Evolving Process”, Proceedings of the 53rd INMM Annual Meeting, USA 2012

[5] R. Mongiello, et al. “Development of an Information Sharing Framework: Efforts at Regional Transparency in the Asia Pacific,” Proceedings of the 53rd INMM Annual Meeting, USA 2012

[6] N. Inoue et al. “Transparency of Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy in East Asia”, Proceedings of 47th INMM Annual Meeting, USA, 2006

[7] Y. Kawakubo et al. “Development of Information Sharing Requirements for Regional Nuclear Transparency”, Proceedings of the 54th INMM Annual Meeting, USA 2013