ESARDA, the European Safeguards Research and Development Association, is comprised of European organisations actively involved in the Research and Development of Nuclear Safeguards.

Nuclear Safeguards can be described as a verification system that works within the framework of international nuclear material control and non-proliferation. It is applied to maintain the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The objective is to make sure that civil nuclear material, which could otherwise be used in the fabrication of nuclear weapons, is exclusively used for peaceful applications.

The control of civil nuclear material is mandatory within the EU territory in line with the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (“Euratom Treaty”) which entered into force in 1958. The Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in 1970, provides for Nuclear Safeguards on a world-wide basis.

The 1960s were a period of intense R&D activity in safeguards, due to the rapid expansion of nuclear energy production. ESARDA was created in 1969.