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The CTE: the national authority for international controls in the nuclear field

Published on 29 March 2024

According to the decree No 2011-60​7 of May 30, 2011, the CTE is the French Safeguards Authority. It is a Prime Minister’s entity in charge of ensuring the implementation of the IAEA VOA and AP (declarations, inspections) and of the chapter VII of the Euratom Treaty, as well as of monitoring the implementation of France's international commitments in the nuclear field, in cooperation with other ministries (Energy, Foreign Affairs, etc.). It follows up the implementation of international safeguards in the French facilities and for the civil nuclear material. CTE has a direct contact with the IAEA and the European Commission, as well as with any French nuclear operator to help him understand and implement the international requirements.

With regard to safeguards, the French internati​​onal commitments are of key importance:

►                    With the IAEA and due to France's status as a Nuclear Weapon State: Voluntary Offer Agreement (VOA) between France, Euratom and the IAEA of July 27, 1978 (INFCIRC/290) in force since September 12, 1981; Additional Protocol (AP) of September 22, 1998 (INFCIRC/290/Add.1) in force since April 30, 2004; Safeguards Agreement for the Caribbean French territories of March 21, 2000 (INFCIRC/718) in force since October 26, 2007, together with the modifications on the Small Quantities Protocol of September 17, 2017, in force since February 25, 2019 ;
►                    With Euratom: mainly the Euratom Treaty with the provisions of its chapter VII on safeguards and the regulation No 302-2005 of February 8, 2005 on the application of Euratom safeguards ;
►                    With third countries: 9 bilateral Euratom nuclear cooperation agreements and 24 French cooperation agreements in the field of pacific use of nuclear energy.​

The legal and regulatory French texts are mostly the consequence of the national enforcement of these commitments. 

Regarding the AP, the French provisions are for instance framed by the law No 2016-113 of February 5, 2016 implementing the AP, the implementing decree No 2018-885 of October 12, 2018 and finally the order of March 13, 2020 setting out the content and terms of the required declarations and information.
Since the decree No 2021-713 of June 3, 2021, the Defence Code specifies the contribution of centralised nuclear material accounting to the monitoring of international commitments.
Furthermore, France has demonstrated its continued support for strengthening the Agency's safeguards system by adhering on a voluntary basis to other IAEA initiatives to strengthen safeguards, such as:
►                    INFCIRC/207/Add.1 (1984) on imports and exports of nuclear materials;
►                    INFCIRC/415 (1992) on production and imports and exports of mining concentrates;
►                    INFCIRC/549 (1998), a transparency exercise to declare annually the stocks of civilian plutonium held in France (as well as those of highly enriched uranium).