International Atomic Energy Agency | IAS Target IAS Target

International Atomic Energy Agency

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 organisation on 29 July 1957. The IAEA serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology and nuclear power worldwide.

Headquarter Vienna, Austria
Regional Offices
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Toronto, Canada,
  • Technical cooperation report
  • Nuclear technology review
Nobel Peace Prize The IAEA and its former Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

The programs of the IAEA

  • Promote nuclear safety and nuclear security standards and their implementation.
  • Foster the development of the peaceful applications of nuclear energy, science and technology,
  • 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.
  • Provide international safeguards against misuse of nuclear technology and nuclear materials, and
  • 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 Centre.
The IAEA exists to pursue the "safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear sciences and technology".

The IAEA executes this mission with three main functions:

  • Providing information and developing standards to ensure the safety and security of nuclear facilities, and
  • The inspection of existing nuclear facilities to ensure their peaceful use,
  • As a hub for the various fields of science involved in the peaceful applications of nuclear technology.


The process of joining the IAEA is fairly simple. Normally, a State would inform 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 United States then inform the IAEA, which notifies other IAEA Member States. Signature and ratification of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are not preconditions for membership in the IAEA.
The IAEA consists of 171 member states. Most UN members and the Holy See are Member States of the IAEA. Four states have withdrawn from the IAEA. These are North Korea, Nicaragua, Cambodia, and Honduras


The IAEA has three main bodies: the Board of Governors, the General Conference, and the Secretariat.
  • Board of Governors
    The Board of Governors is one of two policy-making bodies of the IAEA. The Board consists of 22 member states elected by the General Conference, and at least 10 member states nominated by the outgoing Board. These members are appointed for only 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 have to represent a stipulated geographic diversity.
    The Board, in its five-yearly meetings, is responsible for making most of the policies 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. Board members each receive one vote. Budget matters need 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. The Board elects its own chairman.

  • General Conference
    The General Conference is made up of all 171 member states. It meets once a year, typically in September, to approve the actions and budgets passed on by the Board of Governors. 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 General Conference can, by simple majority, designate issues to require a two- thirds majority. The General Conference elects a President at each annual meeting to facilitate an effective meeting. The President only serves for the duration of the session (Statute).
    The main function of the General Conference 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 handle issues to be discussed by the General Conference (IAEA Primer). This function of the General Conference is almost identical to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

  • Secretariat
    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 General Conference. The Director General is elected by the Board and approved by the General Conference for renewable four-year terms.