International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

About 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 organisation 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 United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
  • The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
  • Widely known as the world’s “Atoms for Peace and Development” organization within the United Nations family, the IAEA is the international centre for cooperation in the nuclear field. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

Aims & Objectives

  • The IAEA serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation 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 energy, science and 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.

Key Details

  • 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 organisation 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 specialised international agencies, the IAEA does much of its work with the Security Council, and not with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Key Facts

  • The structure and functions of the IAEA are defined by its founding document, the IAEA Statute.
  • 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 is generally described as having three main 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, and
  • Nuclear safety: Promoting high standards for nuclear safety


  • The IAEA has 171 member states. Most UN members and the Holy See are Member States of the IAEA.
  • Non-member states Cape Verde (2007), Tonga (2011), Comoros (2014) and Gambia (2016) have been approved for membership and will become a Member State if they deposit the necessary legal instruments.
  • Four states have withdrawn from the IAEA: North Korea, Nicaragua, Honduras & Cambodia.
  • India is a member state.

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