The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957. Though established independently of the United Nations through its own international treaty, the International Atomic Energy Agency Statute, the IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. The International Atomic Energy Agency has two “Regional Safeguards Offices” which are located in Toronto, Canada, and in Tokyo, Japan. The IAEA also has two liaison offices which are located in New York City, United States, and in Geneva, Switzerland. In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency has three laboratories located in Vienna and Seibersdorf, Austria, and in Monaco.

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The International Atomic Energy Agency serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology and nuclear power worldwide. The programs of the International Atomic Energy Agency encourage the development of the peaceful applications of nuclear technology, provide international safeguards against misuse of nuclear technology and nuclear materials, and promote nuclear safety (including radiation protection) and nuclear security standards and their implementation.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and its former Director General, Mohamed El Baradei, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 7 October 2005. The IAEA’s current Director General is Yukiya Amano.

In 1953, the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, proposed the creation of an international body to both regulate and promote the peaceful use of atomic power (nuclear power), in his Atoms for Peace address to the UN General Assembly.

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Three main pillars or areas of work underpin the IAEA’s mission:

  • Safety and Security;
  • Science and Technology; and
  • Safeguards and Verification.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is generally described as having three missions:

  • Peaceful uses: Promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy by its member states,
  • Safeguards: Implementing safeguards to verify that nuclear energy is not used for military purposes,
  • Nuclear safety: Promoting high standards for nuclear safety.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has 162 member states. International Atomic Energy Agency programmes and budgets are set through decisions of its policymaking bodies – the 35-member Board of Governors and the General Conference of all Member States. Reports on International Atomic Energy Agency activities are submitted periodically or as cases warrant to the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly.

The IAEA reports annually to the UN General Assembly and, when appropriate, to the Security Council regarding non-compliance by States with their safeguards obligations as well as on matters relating to international peace and security.

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