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War in Ukraine: what is the IAEA, at the center of global nuclear security?


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on Russia on Friday March 4, through its President Rafael Mariano Grossi, to “stop the use of force” on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant (Ukraine ). Unknown to the general public, this body has nevertheless played a major role in the peaceful use of nuclear technologies for more than 60 years.

Created by the United Nations in 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) now brings together 173 member countries since its establishment, for an estimated budget of 365.26 million euros in 2018. Its spectrum has widened over the years in order to put the atom at the service of peace and development, by acting on sensitive and fundamental areas.


Using nuclear science, it has helped countries develop high-yielding crops that can withstand extreme conditions, as well as raise healthier livestock and protect fruits and animals from harmful pests.


This agency has worked to preserve our oceans and coastlines by protecting the marine resources that millions of people depend on for a living.


The AEIA has promoted the use of nuclear technology to fight cancer and improve human health.


It has offered its assistance to States in matters of energy planning. While they have opted for nuclear power, it has put its skills at the service of the safety and security of the installations.


The AEIA has ensured the use of radioactive materials through its standards and assistance. It provided guidance on the management of waste resulting from the use of nuclear technologies. It has also helped countries prepare for and respond to incidents or emergencies.


This agency has prevented the proliferation of nuclear weapons by ensuring that nuclear materials remain in peaceful uses.

Argentinian Rafael Mariano Grossi, appointed Monday, December 2, at the head of the IAEA, during an interview with AFP on September 20, 2019 in Vienna [JOE KLAMAR / AFP/Archives]


It has always been at the heart of global cooperation in the field of nuclear security. She has advised countries on ways to protect themselves from nuclear terrorism and to prevent the theft and smuggling of nuclear materials.

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