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IAEA - The International Atomic Energy Agency

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IAEA logo International Atomic Energy Agency
Definition: The International Atomic Energy Agency, known as the IAEA, is a United Nations agency set up to promote the peaceful and safe use of nuclear technology. The IAEA is also the world's leading nuclear non-proliferation agency. The two missions are sometimes contradictory: while the IAEA encourages and fosters the use of nuclear technology for civilian uses, that mission can and has--as in the case of India and Pakistan, and possibly Iran--enabled nations to develop more offensive nuclear capabilities in contravention of IAEA intentions.

Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, the agency was headed by Hans Blix of Sweden from 1981 to 1997, and by Mohammed El Baradei of Egypt from 1997 to 2009. El Baradei won the Nobel peace prize in 2005 for his work at the IAEA. Since 2009, the agency has been headed by Yukiya Amano of Japan.

The agency's 2008 budget was $350 million.

The IAEA was established in 1957 as the world's "Atoms for Peace" organization. The United States joined the IAEA in July 1957, after the United States Senate ratified the treaty establishing the agency in June, effectively launching the IAEA. The agency was proposed by President Dwight Eisenhower in his atoms-for-peace speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1953.

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