Aim of the Guidelines

The aim of the NSG Guidelines is to ensure that nuclear trade for peaceful purposes does not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, and that international trade and cooperation in the nuclear field is not hindered unjustly in the process. The NSG Guidelines facilitate the development of trade in this area by providing the means whereby obligations to facilitate peaceful nuclear cooperation can be implemented in a manner consistent with international nuclear non-proliferation norms.

Guidelines for nuclear Transfers (INFCIRC/254, Part 1)

The fundamental principles for safeguards and export controls should apply to nuclear transfers for peaceful purposes to any non-nuclear-weapon state and, in the case of controls on retransfers, to transfers to any State. In this connection, suppliers have defined the so-called trigger list. This list includes guidelines for nuclear transfers such as physical protection, safeguards, special controls on sensitive exports, special arrangements for export of enrichment facilities, controls on material usable for nuclear weapons, controls on retransfers as well as supporting activities. Annexes of the guidelines govern the export of items that are especially designed or prepared for nuclear use. These include in the first annex (Annex A) material and equipment as well as technology associated with each of the items on the trigger list.

The second annex (Annex B) includes clarification of items on the trigger list:

        – nuclear reactors and equipment therefor;
        – non-nuclear material for reactors;
        – plants and equipment for reprocessing;
        – plants and equipment for fabrication of nuclear fuel elements;
        – plants and equipment for separation of isotopes;
        – plants for heavy water production; and
        – plants and equipment for conversion.

A further annex (Annex C) describes criteria for levels of physical protection.

Guidelines for transfers of nuclear-related dual-use equipment, materials, software, and related technology (INFCIRC/254, Part 2)

With the objective of averting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and preventing acts of nuclear terrorism, suppliers have considered procedures in relation to the transfer of certain equipment, materials, software, and related technology that could make a major contribution to a “nuclear explosive activity,” an “unsafeguarded nuclear fuel-cycle activity” or acts of nuclear terrorism. In this connection, suppliers have agreed on the following principles, common definitions, and an export control list of equipment, materials, software, and related technology.

This second set of NSG Guidelines governs the export of nuclear related dual-use items and technologies, that is, items that can make a major contribution to an unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle or nuclear explosive activity, but which have non-nuclear uses as well, for example in industry. The list includes Guidelines for the transfer of dual-use goods which are listed in the annex. The annex lists the following categories:

        - industrial equipment;
        - materials;
        - uranium isotope separation equipment and components (other than trigger list items);
        - heavy water production plant related equipment (other than trigger list items);
        - test and measurement equipment for the development of nuclear explosive devices;
        - components for nuclear explosive devices.      

Explanation of the Process for updating the NSG Guidelines and Control Lists

The Nuclear Suppliers Group generally updates its Guidelines and Control Lists every year following its Plenary Meeting and informs of agreed changes to the Guidelines and Control Lists via its website for information purposes. This annual update has (only) a preliminary character.

Every three years, the NSG forwards consolidated changes (three Plenary Meeting decisions) to the IAEA for official publication as part of the INFCIRC series (INFCIRC/254 Part 1 and Part 2). 

States decide whether they implement changes to the Guidelines and Control Lists based on the annual publication of agreed changes to the Guidelines and Control Lists on the NSG website or wait for the IAEA publication.

The timing of implementation may vary across PGs according to national practice though all are encouraged to adopt changes in a timely manner.

At the 2023 NSG Plenary Meeting, the NSG maintained its focus on technical issues important to the implementation of the Control Lists, by exchanging views and agreeing on a number of proposals to clarify and update the NSG Trigger List and Dual-Use List.

The updated NSG Part 1 Trigger List and NSG Part 2 Dual-Use List as agreed by the 2023 NSG Plenary in Buenos Aires, Argentina (July 2023).

Two documents explaining the rationale behind the latest changes to the Part 1 and Part 2 Control Lists can be found below: