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Nuclear Safeguards Education Portal


Photo related to the term with caption below

Metal seals like these are used by Agency inspectors to monitor a country's nuclear facilities. They can show evidence of any unauthorised attempt to gain access to secured material or equipment.

(Source: Dean Calma/IAEA)

A tamper indicating device used to join movable segments of a containment in a manner such that access to its contents without opening the seal or breaking of the containment is difficult. A sealing system comprises the containment enclosing the material to be safeguarded, the means of applying the seal (e.g. a metal wire) and the seal itself. All three components must be examined in order to verify that the sealing system has fulfilled its function of ensuring continuity of knowledge of the identity and integrity of the material concerned. Seals in use by the IAEA include metal cap seals with tamper indicating features, as well as ultrasonic and electronic seals with fiber optic loops, and, for short time applications, tamper indicating paper tape seals. Sealing systems may be applied:

  • On safeguarded material or equipment to maintain the continuity of knowledge of the sealed contents between inventory verifications, and during shipment from one facility to another
  • On the operator's equipment (e.g. a crane) to monitor any use that would make possible the undeclared removal of nuclear material
  • On IAEA property (equipment, samples, standards, data, etc.) to prevent undetected tampering with it