International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
The IAEA flag
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 IAEA Statute, the IAEA reports to both the UN General Assembly and Security Council.
The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. The IAEA has two “Regional Safeguards Offices” which are located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and in Tokyo, Japan. The IAEA also has two liaison offices which are located in New York City, New York, and in Geneva, Switzerland. In addition, the IAEA has three laboratories located in Vienna and Seibersdorf, Austria, and in Monaco.
The IAEA 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 IAEA 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.
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. In September 1954, the United States proposed to the General Assembly the creation of an international agency to take control of fissile material, which could be used either for nuclear power or for nuclear weapons. This agency would establish a kind of “nuclear bank.”
The United States also called for an international scientific conference on all of the peaceful aspects of nuclear power. By November 1954, it had become clear that the Soviet Union would reject any international custody of fissile material, but that a clearing house for nuclear transactions might be possible. From August 8 to August 20, 1955, the United Nations held the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva, Switzerland. During 1956, an IAEA Statute Conference was held to draft the founding documents for the IAEA, and the IAEA Statute was completed at a conference in 1957.
Former U.S. Congressman W. Sterling Cole served as the IAEA’s first Director General from 1957 to 1961. Mr. Cole served only one term, after which the IAEA was headed by two Swedes for nearly four decades: the scientist Sigvard Eklund held the job from 1961 to 1981, followed by former Swedish Foreign Minister Hans Blix, who served from 1981 to 1997. Mr. Blix was succeeded as Director General by Mohamed ElBaradei of Egypt, who served until November 2009.
Both the IAEA and its former Director General, Mr. ElBaradei, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. In ElBaradei’s acceptance speech in Stockholm, he stated that only one percent of the money spent on developing new weapons would be enough to feed the entire world, and that, if we hope to escape self-destruction, then nuclear weapons should have no place in our collective conscience, and no role in our security.
On July 2, 2009, Mr. Yukiya Amano of Japan was elected as the Director General for the IAEA , defeating Abdul Samad Minty of South Africa and Luis E. Echávarri of Spain. On 3 July 2009, the Board of Governors voted to appoint Yukiya Amano “by acclamation,” and IAEA General Conference in September 2009 approved. He took office on 1 December 2009.  
 Structure and function
The IAEA’s mission is guided by the interests and needs of Member States, strategic plans and the vision embodied in the IAEA Statute (see below). Three main pillars – or areas of work – underpin the IAEA’s mission: Safety and Security; Science and Technology; and Safeguards and Verification
The IAEA as an autonomous organization is not under direct control of the UN, but the IAEA does report to both the UN General Assembly and Security Council. Unlike most other specialized international agencies, the IAEA does much of its work with the Security Council, and not with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The structure and functions of the IAEA are defined by its founding document, the IAEA Statute (see below). The IAEA has three main bodies: the Board of Governors, the General Conference, and the Secretariat.
In 2004, the IAEA developed a Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT). PACT responds to the needs of developing countries to establish, to improve, or to expand radiotherapy treatment programs. The IAEA is raising money to help efforts by its Member States to save lives and to reduce suffering of cancer victims.
The IAEA exists to pursue the “safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear sciences and technology” (Pillars 2005). The IAEA executes this mission with three main functions: the inspection of existing nuclear facilities to ensure their peaceful use, providing information and developing standards to ensure the safety and security of nuclear facilities, and as a hub for the various fields of science involved in the peaceful applications of nuclear technology.
To enhance the sharing of information and experience among IAEA Member States concerning the seismic safety of nuclear facilities, in 2008 the IAEA established the International Seismic Safety Center. This center is establishing safety standards and providing for their application in relation to site selection, site evaluation and seismic design.
 Board of Governors
The Board of Governors is one of two policy making bodies of the IAEA. The Board consists of 13 members designated by the outgoing Board and 22 members elected by the General Conference. The outgoing Board designates the ten members who are the most advanced in atomic energy technology and the remaining three most advanced members from any of the following areas that are not represented by the first ten: North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East and South Asia, South East Asia, the Pacific, and the Far East. These members are designated for one year terms. The General Conference elects 22 members from the remaining nations to two year terms. Eleven are elected each year. The 22 elected members must also represent a stipulated geographic diversity (Statute). The current Board members are: Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela (IAEA Board of Governors 2009–2010).
The Board, in its five yearly meetings, is responsible for making most of the policy of the IAEA. The Board makes recommendations to the General Conference on IAEA activities and budget, is responsible for publishing IAEA standards and appoints the Director General subject to General Conference approval (IAEA Fundamentals 2005). Board members each receive one vote. Budget matters require a two-thirds majority. All other matters require only a simple majority. The simple majority also has the power to stipulate issues that will thereafter require a two-thirds majority. Two-thirds of all Board members must be present to call a vote (IAEA Board of Governors 1989).
 General Conference
The General Conference is made up of all 151 member states. It meets once a year, typically in September, to approve the actions and budgets passed on from the Board of Governors. The GC also approves the nominee for Director General and requests reports from the Board on issues in question (Statute). Each member receives one vote. Issues of budget, Statute amendment and suspension of a member’s privileges require a two- thirds majority and all other issues require a simple majority. Similar to the Board, the GC can, by simple majority, designate issues to require a two- thirds majority. The GC elects a President at each annual in order to facilitate an effective meeting. The President only serves for the duration of the session (Statute).
The main function of the GC is to serve as a forum for debate on current issues and policies. Any of the other IAEA organs, the Director General, the Board and member states can table issues to be discussed by the GC (IAEA Primer). This function of the GC is almost identical to the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The Secretariat is the professional and general service staff of the IAEA. The Secretariat is headed by the Director General. The Director General is responsible for enforcement of the actions passed by the Board of Governors and the GC. The Director General is selected by the Board and approved by the GC for renewable four year terms. The Director General oversees six departments that do the actual work in carrying out the policies of the IAEA: Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Safety and Security, Nuclear Sciences and Applications, Safeguards, Technical Cooperation, and Management.
The IAEA budget is two-part. The regular budget funds most activities of the IAEA and is assessed to each member nation (€296 million in 2009). The Technical Cooperation Fund is funded by voluntary contributions with a general target in the $85 million range.
The process of joining the IAEA is fairly simple. Normally, a State would notify the Director General of its desire to join, and the Director would submit the application to the Board for consideration. If the Board recommends approval, and the General Conference approves the application for membership, the State must then submit its instrument of acceptance of the IAEA Statute to the United States, which functions as the depositary Government for the IAEA Statute. The State is considered a member when its acceptance letter is deposited. The United States then informs the IAEA, which notifies other IAEA Member States.
Non-Member States are:
Of these, the Cook Islands and Niue are not UN members, and have limited sovereignty due to their free association with New Zealand. In addition, most of the states with limited recognition (i.e., those that are not UN members) are not Member States of the IAEA. Cape Verde, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, and Togo as non-member states, have been approved for membership, and will each become a Member State once it deposits the necessary legal instrument.
Two states have withdrawn from the IAEA. North Korea was a Member State from 1974-1994, but withdrew after the Board of Governors found it in non-compliance with its safeguards agreement and suspended most technical cooperation. Cambodia became a member in 1958, withdrew its membership in 2003, and rejoined 2009.
 List of Directors General
|W. Sterling Cole||United States||1957–1961|
|Mohamed ElBaradei||Egypt||1997 – Nov 2009|
|Yukiya Amano||Japan||Dec 2009–present|