International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
an organization that promotes international cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy. Established on Dec. 3, 1955, by a UN resolution, the IAEA is associated with the UN by a special agreement and presents an annual report on its activity to the General Assembly. The agency’s charter was ratified at an international conference held in New York in October 1956 and went into effect on July 29, 1957.
The IAEA convenes international conferences and other meetings to discuss questions relating to the development of atomic energy, sends specialists to various countries (primarily the developing nations) to assist in research, and acts as an intermediary in international transfers of nuclear equipment and materials. One of its chief supervisory functions is to ensure that aid given by the agency directly or with its assistance is not used for military purposes. Under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the IAEA was assigned to monitor the performance of obligations by the signatories. By Jan. 1, 1976, the IAEA had 109 members including all the nuclear powers except China. The agency’s organs are the General Conference, consisting of all the member countries, which meets annually; the 34-member Board of Governors; and the Secretariat, headed by the director general, which carries out the agency’s functions. The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna.