Transforming Nuclear Safeguards Culture: The IAEA, Iraq, and the Future of Non-Proliferation, Trevor Findlay

Reviewed by Tristan A. Volpe

This book explores how organizational culture shapes the effectiveness of international institutions in world politics. The motivating puzzle for Trevor Findlay's study is the failure of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to detect Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapons program before the Gulf War in 1991. The IAEA has long been tasked with inspecting nuclear energy infrastructure around the globe to verify compliance with the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The agency often relies on intrusive inspections to ensure that civil nuclear programs have not been converted into atomic bomb-making enterprises. Yet these inspectors had missed clear signs that Iraq was marching toward the bomb, including multiyear construction of large facilities. The exposure of this secret effort after the war raised deep questions about the viability of the IAEA inspection regime. Much has been written about this notable failure. Findlay reviews this literature in chapter two, giving much credit to explanations that privilege political and institutional factors. He recognizes that politics played a key role in limiting the IAEA inspection system. In particular, states wanted to manage the espionage risks associated with letting foreign inspectors collect information about their commercial nuclear facilities, so they pushed the agency to focus narrowly on detecting the

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