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Main article: "Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency
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. The outgoing Board designates the ten members who are the most advanced in atomic energy technology, plus the most advanced members from any of the following "areas that are not represented by the first ten: North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East and South Asia, South East Asia, the Pacific, and the Far East. These members are designated for 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 also represent a stipulated geographic diversity. The 35 Board members for the 2016-2017 period are: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Namibia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and Uruguay.
The Board, in its five yearly meetings, is responsible for making most of the policy 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 require 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.
The "General Conference is made up of all 168 member states. It meets once a year, typically in September, to approve the actions and budgets passed on from the Board of Governors. The General Conference also approves the nominee for Director General and requests reports from the Board on issues in question (Statute). 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 table 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.
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 selected by the Board and approved by the General Conference for renewable four-year terms. The Director General oversees six departments that do the actual work in carrying out the policies of the IAEA: Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Safety and Security, Nuclear Sciences and Applications, Safeguards, Technical Cooperation, and Management.
The IAEA budget is in two parts. The regular budget funds most activities of the IAEA and is assessed to each member nation (€344 million in 2014). The Technical Cooperation Fund is funded by voluntary contributions with a general target in the US$90 million range.
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.
According to Article II of the IAEA Statute, the objective of the IAEA is "to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world." Its primary functions in this area, according to Article III, are to encourage research and development, to secure or provide materials, services, equipment and facilities for Member States, to foster exchange of scientific and technical information and training.
Three of the IAEA's six Departments are principally charged with promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The Department of Nuclear Energy focuses on providing advice and services to Member States on nuclear power and the nuclear fuel cycle. The Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications focuses on the use of non-power nuclear and isotope techniques to help IAEA Member States in the areas of water, energy, health, biodiversity, and agriculture. The Department of Technical Cooperation provides direct assistance to IAEA Member States, through national, regional, and inter-regional projects through training, expert missions, scientific exchanges, and provision of equipment.
Article II of the IAEA Statute defines the Agency's twin objectives as promoting peaceful uses of atomic energy and "ensur[ing], so far as it is able, that assistance provided by it or at its request or under its supervision or control is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose." To do this, the IAEA is authorized in Article III.A.5 of the Statute "to establish and administer safeguards designed to ensure that special fissionable and other materials, services, equipment, facilities, and information made available by the Agency or at its request or under its supervision or control are not used in such a way as to further any military purpose; and to apply safeguards, at the request of the parties, to any bilateral or multilateral arrangement, or at the request of a State, to any of that State's activities in the field of atomic energy."
The Department of Safeguards is responsible for carrying out this mission, through technical measures designed to verify the correctness and completeness of states' nuclear declarations.
International policy relationships in radiological protection
The IAEA classifies safety as one of its top three priorities. It spends 8.9 percent of its 352 million-euro ($469 million) regular budget in 2011 on making plants secure from accidents. Its resources are used on the other two priorities: technical cooperation and preventing nuclear weapons proliferation.
The IAEA itself says that, beginning in 1986, in response to the "nuclear reactor explosion and disaster near "Chernobyl, Ukraine, the IAEA redoubled its efforts in the field of "nuclear safety. The IAEA says that the same happened after the Fukushima disaster in Fukushima, Japan.
In June 2011, the IAEA chief said he had "broad support for his plan to strengthen international safety checks on nuclear power plants to help avoid any repeat of Japan's Fukushima crisis". Peer-reviewed safety checks on reactors worldwide, organized by the IAEA, have been proposed.
Russian nuclear accident specialist Iouli Andreev is critical of the response to Fukushima, and says that the IAEA did not learn from the 1986 "Chernobyl disaster. He has accused the IAEA and corporations of "wilfully ignoring lessons from the world's worst nuclear accident 25 years ago to protect the industry's expansion". The IAEA's role "as an advocate for nuclear power has made it a target for protests".
The journal Nature has reported that the IAEA response to the "Fukushima I nuclear accidents in Japan was "sluggish and sometimes confusing", drawing calls for the agency to "take a more proactive role in nuclear safety". But nuclear experts say that the agency's complicated mandate and the constraints imposed by its member states mean that reforms will not happen quickly or easily, although its INES "emergency scale is very likely to be revisited" given the confusing way in which it was used in Japan.
Some scientists say that the "2011 Japanese nuclear accidents have revealed that the nuclear industry lacks sufficient oversight, leading to renewed calls to redefine the mandate of the IAEA so that it can better police nuclear power plants worldwide. There are several problems with the IAEA says Najmedin Meshkati of "University of Southern California:
It recommends safety standards, but member states are not required to comply; it promotes nuclear energy, but it also monitors nuclear use; it is the sole global organization overseeing the nuclear energy industry, yet it is also weighed down by checking compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The journal Nature has reported that "the world must strengthen the ability of the International Atomic Energy Agency to make independent assessments of nuclear safety" and that "the public would be better served by an IAEA more able to deliver frank and independent assessments of nuclear crises as they unfold".
Member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency
The process of joining the IAEA is fairly simple. Normally, a State would notify 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 State is considered a member when its acceptance letter is deposited. The United States then informs 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 has 168 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), "Gambia (2016), "Saint Lucia (2016) and "Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (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 was a Member State from 1974–1994, but withdrew after the Board of Governors found it in non-compliance with its safeguards agreement and suspended most technical cooperation. Nicaragua became a member in 1957, withdrew its membership in 1970, and rejoined in 1977, Honduras joined in 1957, withdrew in 1967, and rejoined in 2003, while Cambodia joined in 1958, withdrew in 2003, and rejoined in 2009.
List of Directors General
|"W. Sterling Cole
||1 December 1957 – 30 November 1961
||1 December 1961 – 30 November 1981
||1 December 1981 – 30 November 1997
||1 December 1997 – 30 November 2009
||1 December 2009 – present
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The Three Mile Island accident and especially the Chernobyl disaster persuaded governments to strengthen the IAEA's role in enhancing nuclear safety.
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