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An appropriate song
(Big Bill Bronzy's)
"Boom Boom Boom!"


The International Atomic Energy Agency

I. Function

The IAEA serves as the world’s foremost intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology. It was established as an autonomous organization under the UN in 1957. The IAEA represent the culmination of international efforts to make a reality of US President Eisenhower’s proposal in his Atoms for Peace speech before the UN General Assembly in 1953. He envisioned the creation of an international body to control and develop the use of atomic energy. Today, the Agency’s broad spectrum of services, programs, and activities is based on the needs of its 130 member states. The IAEA maintains its headquarters at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, along the famous Danube River.


II. History

US President Eisenhower in his speech to the UN General Assembly first proposed the creation of the IAEA in 1953. By 29 July 1957 18 states had ratified the IAEA statute bringing the statute into force. It is interesting to note that the original 18 states that ratified the statute in 1957 include the world’s present nuclear powers such as the US, Russian Federation, Pakistan, India, Israel, France, and the UK. Iran joined the IAEA in 1958 and Iraq became a member the next year, in 1959. China only just joined in 1984 and is the last nuclear power to join.


III. Strengths and Weaknesses

The IAEA is like a nuclear guild. The member states share research and technology in the nuclear field through a formal convention that prevents the illegal sale and distribution of nuclear technology and possibly nuclear arms. In this respect it is a useful agency but not a very successful one. You would imagine that the states that ratified the IAEA statute would also take some conservative actions in the nuclear area such as cutting down on nuclear warhead production and any other nuclear weapons of mass destruction research.

In fact the opposite is occurring. The very states that ratified the statute are the same ones that continue to develop nuclear arms or are trying very hard to attain the "nuclear state" status. An example of this is India and Pakistan who both ratified the IAEA statute in 1957 but just in 1999 conducted nuclear testing and began stockpiling their warheads. The IAEA doesn’t have a very strong prohibition policy in the nuclear weapons field and this is a great disadvantage because that is at least half of what that agency was intended for in Eisenhower’s speech in 1953.

(However, it does try to keep the tech. from spreading. Has this worked? Yes, it’s like an exclusive, snotty club.)


IV. Budget

At the end of 1999, the number of staff members in the Secretariat was 2,212; 944 in the Professional and higher categories and 1,268 in the General Service category. These figures represent 1,652 regular, 296 temporary assistance and 174 extra budgetary staff, as well as 58 cost-free experts and 32 consultants. Among the 682 staff members in posts subject to geographical distribution, 92 nationalities were represented. IAEA financial resources fall into two categories: the regular budget and voluntary contributions. The Regular Budget for 1999 amounts to US$ 224.3 million. The target for voluntary contributions to the Technical Co-operation Fund for 199 was established at US$ 73 million.


V. Key Political Allies

The IAEA’s main political allies are the ones who truly disapprove of the use of nuclear weapons and who only do research in the nuclear field for peaceful technological and power related purposes, namely Japan. Most of the other major member nations still research nuclear weapons and therefore can’t really be considered "allies" of the IAEA. The UK and US support the IAEA and help enforce its mandates, but exclude themselves in the process for the most part. Smaller non-nuclear neutral nations such as Jamaica, Costa Rica, etc. are probably the IAEA’s most successful supporters for nuclear peace and non-proliferation.