International Atomic Energy Agency

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shared the 2005 Nobel Peace prize with its chief Muhamad ElBaradei. The Nobel Committee praised IAEA for the work done to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to new states and terrorists, and to ensure safe civilian use of nuclear energy. IAEA is an intergovernmental organization established in 1957 under the aegis of the United Nations to promote the peaceful uses of atomic energy. Its headquarters are in Vienna.

‘Atoms for Peace’ Organization

IAEA is the world’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ organization. Its mission is guided by the interests and needs of member states, strategic plans and the vision embodied in the IAEA Statute. It aims to promote the peaceful uses of atomic energy and to ensure that the assistance provided by it or at its request is not used in such way as to further any military purposes. It also assists in research and application of atomic power for peaceful uses such as the production of electric power in less developed countries. It promotes the exchange of scientific and technical information; provide technical aid and supplies material and equipment. It may inspect the arsenal of any nation to see if they comply with the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Three main pillars – or areas of work – underpin the IAEA’s mission: Safety and Security; Science and Technology; and Safeguards and Verification.

Structure and Functioning

IAEA has three organs – The General Conference, the Board of Governors and the Secretariat. The General Conference consists of representatives of all member states and it meets once a year and decides issues by a majority vote. The Secretariat is headed by the Director-General. The IAEA Secretariat is a team of 2200 multi-disciplinary professional and support staff from more than 90 countries. The Agency is led by a Director General and six Deputy Directors Generals who head the major departments. IAEA programmes and budgets are set through decisions of its policy making bodies – the 35-member Board of Governors and the General Conference of all Member States. Reports on IAEA activities are submitted periodically or as cases warrant to the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly.

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