IAEA: History of Creation, Areas of Activity, Structure, Management
russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine, which was accompanied by numerous acts of nuclear terrorism, set the reconditions for a review of the main areas of international cooperation in the nuclear field. The issue of securing mankind from the reckless actions of the aggressor, by combining forces and finding a single correct solution to contain nuclear terrorism, has now become the key one.
The IAEA plays an important role in this cooperation, but will the Agency be able to influence the suppression of the imperialist ambitions of the aggressor, or will deterrence mechanisms be effective? To understand this, the Editorial Board of the Uatom.org website explains who and why created the organization, is the agency really managed by russians, what is the IAEA’s area of responsibility and what belongs to its competences.
Who and why created the IAEA?
The official creation date of the International Atomic Energy Agency should be considered July 29, 1957, when US President Dwight Eisenhower ratified the IAEA Statute, adopted a year before, on October 23, 1956, by 81 states during the Conference on the Creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency Statute. The creation of the Agency was preceded by the speech of US President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 at the 470th plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly, and ideas declared at the Conference formed the basis of the IAEA Statute.
According to Dwight Eisenhower’s speech, the Atomic Energy Agency was to be responsible for the confiscation, storage, and protection of provided nuclear materials. In addition, it should have been entrusted with the development of new methods by which nuclear material would be used for peaceful purposes. So the creation of an organization that would control the use of nuclear materials and ensure the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons was a necessity at that time.
Ukraine and the IAEA
From the day of its foundation, Ukraine is not only a member country of the International Atomic Energy Agency, but it was also a co-founder of this organization.
On December 4, 1954, Resolution No. 810 of the IX UN General Assembly “On International Co-operation in Developing the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy” was adopted. Accordingly, an international technical conference of government representatives was organized under the auspices of the United Nations with the aim of researching ways to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes through international cooperation. Governments of UN member-states or specialized agencies were invited to participate. The Ukrainian SSR was represented by the President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR V. Palladin, member of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR R. Kavetskyi, Director of the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR M. Pasichnyk, Doctor of Technical Sciences G. Karpenko, Doctor of Chemical Sciences Yu. Delymarskyi. At the Conference, the issues of “the world needs in energy, the construction of enterprises operating on nuclear energy, the factors of using this energy and its future role” were raised. It was at this Conference that descriptions of the first experimental nuclear power plants were presented according to O. Kulchytska’s Article “Cooperation between Ukraine and the IAEA in the Context of Environmental Safety”.
It is important to note that Ukraine joined the discussion of the draft IAEA Statute and generally supported it with an amendment: to use the IAEA for international cooperation only in the field of peaceful atomic uses.
Since 1995, the IAEA safeguards have been applied in Ukraine in accordance with the Safeguards Agreement, as well as the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement since 2006, which have been ratified by the relevant Laws of Ukraine.
Before the full-scale invasion of the russian federation in Ukraine, the priority in cooperation between Ukraine and the IAEA was to overcome the consequences of the Chornobyl disaster. Thus, since 1990, 15 technical assistance projects worth more than 16 million USD have been implemented. However, Ukraine does not only receive technical assistance from the IAEA. With the participation of Ukrainian specialists and scientists, the main methodological documents in the field of nuclear energy use were developed, and experts from Ukraine participate in scientific conferences, meetings of technical committees and groups, working meetings on the experience exchange, and IAEA missions.
The SNRIU Report on the nuclear and radiation safety state in Ukraine in 2021 outlines the main areas of Ukraine’s cooperation with the IAEA. In particular, it is stated that the IAEA provided support in the implementation of three national projects of the Technical Cooperation Program for Ukraine. Verification activities of IAEA inspectors were carried out at Ukrainian facilities, as well as discussions on the application of IAEA safeguards in Ukraine.
Specialists of state authorities, enterprises, scientific institutes, and medical institutions participated in seminars, courses, and internships organized by the IAEA both online and in-person.
Activities on improving national legislation, taking into account the IAEA Safety Standards, continued. Ukrainian specialists took an active part in the work of the Nuclear Safety Standards Committee (NUSSC), the Radiation Safety Standards Committee (RASSC), and the Committee for the Development of Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC).
In 2021, Ukraine joined the information and educational activities of the IAEA for the first time. The SNRIU jointly with the SSTC NRS translated the IAEA posters on radiation protection of patients and doctors into Ukrainian.
What does the IAEA deal with?
The objective of the IAEA’s activity is set out in Article II of the Statute:
“The Agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world. It shall ensure, 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”.
It is a mistake to believe that the IAEA controls only the use and non-proliferation of nuclear materials through the application of a safeguards system and conducting inspections to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material, because the scope of the Agency’s activities includes the introduction and use of nuclear technologies, the development of the nuclear safety and physical protection system.
Implementation and application of nuclear technologies
The IAEA assists Member States to apply nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes and promotes the implementation of existing and creation of new projects for the efficient and safe use of nuclear energy. In particular, the Agency supports development of innovations, thermonuclear fusion and building human potential in the nuclear industry. In addition, the IAEA provides technical support for all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mining to spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management. In addition to nuclear power, application of nuclear technologies can be found in various fields, including medicine, environmental protection, industry and agriculture.
In the healthcare field, the IAEA started its activities more than 50 years ago and currently implements 387 technical cooperation projects and 32 coordinated research projects. At the beginning of 2022, the IAEA launched a new initiative “Rays of Hope” with the aim of reducing the death rate from cancer in poor countries, because, for example, more than 20 countries in Africa do not have any equipment for cancer diagnosis and radiation therapy. First of all, the initiative will be implemented in seven countries: Benin, Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal and Chad.
Another important initiative of the IAEA, which has been implemented since 2020, is the “ZODIAC” program “Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action”, which is aimed at preventing the emergence of pandemics caused by bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses, the carriers of which there are animals and which can be transmitted to humans. The basis of this program is research, development and creation of innovative methods for implementing preventive and anti-epidemic measures and timely diagnosis of diseases.
Projects in the field of environmental protection are also being implemented. In particular, the IAEA works to increase the level of awareness of the world public about the role of nuclear research and atomic energy in the fight against climate change. Agency experts use nuclear methods to study and assess the state of water resources, soils, and the state of ecology in general. So, in 2021, the NUTEC initiative was founded: NUclear TEChnology for Controlling Plastic Pollution. Using tracing methods based on isotopic indicators, the IAEA aims to help solving the problem of plastic pollution for more efficient disposal of its waste in the future and to monitor the marine environment for the retention of microplastics.
Together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the IAEA helps countries apply nuclear technologies to trace the origin of products and test them for contaminants. So, isotopic analysis allows determining the composition of food and compliance of the contents with the ingredients declared on the label, to detect falsifications in the food industry and to prevent them.
Development of the nuclear safety and physical protection system
First of all, the IAEA establishes nuclear safety and physical protection standards. In particular, 12 international conventions in the fields of nuclear safety, physical protection and nuclear liability were developed and approved under the auspices of the Agency.
In the field of nuclear safety and physical protection, the IAEA implements 376 technical cooperation projects and 14 coordinated research projects.
In addition, the IAEA provides Member States with expertise services, within which the Agency’s experts compare the existing work practices at the facilities with the provisions of approved rules and standards.
Today, there are more than 30 advisory missions of IAEA experts to assist States in radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management, decommissioning and remediation measures (ARTEMIS), emergency preparedness (EPREV), safety of research reactors (INSARR) and operation, maintenance of research reactors (OMARR), assessment of radiation protection of employees (ORPAS), safety of fuel cycle installations during operation (SEDO), nuclear infrastructure review (INIR) and readiness for construction of new nuclear facilities (CORR), etc.
Also in 1985, the IAEA Director General established the International Nuclear Safety Group (INSAG), which is a group of experts with a high level of professional competence in the field of safety who work in regulatory organizations, technical support organizations, research and academic institutions, and the nuclear industry. INSAG is convened under the IAEA auspices to provide advice or guidance on nuclear safety approaches, policies and principles.
Application of the safeguards system and conducting nuclear inspections
Safeguards are a set of IAEA technical measures that apply to nuclear installations and material.
Using these technical measures, the IAEA verifies that states fulfill their legal obligations in accordance with safeguards agreements with the IAEA, namely, whether nuclear installations and nuclear material are used for peaceful purposes.
Implementation of IAEA safeguards takes place on an annual cycle and consists of four stages:
- Collection and assessment of information on safeguards
The IAEA collects, processes and analyzes all available information on a state’s safeguards to verify its compliance with the state’s statements on the nuclear program.
- Development of state-level approach to the application of safeguards
The approach to the application of safeguards at the state level includes applying such measures that allow achieving technical goals of verifying the state’s statements.
- Planning, implementation and evaluation of activities under safeguards
The IAEA develops a plan of measures that will be implemented both at the sites of the nuclear facilities and at the Agency’s Headquarters. Upon completion, the IAEA assesses the extent to which the technical objectives within a certain measure have been achieved and identifies any inconsistencies for further activities.
- Formation of conclusions in connection with implementation of safeguards
The IAEA draws up conclusions in connection with implementation of safeguards based on its independent verification results and obtained data. It is the end result of the annual safeguards implementation cycle, which ensures confidence of the international community that states are meeting their safeguards obligations. Implementation of technical measures by the IAEA is regulated by concluding Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols.
The IAEA structure. Who governs the Agency?
The IAEA’s governing bodies include the General Conference and the Board of Governors.
In accordance with the IAEA Statute, the General Conference consists of representatives of all Agency members and is held annually in September at the Central Offices of the IAEA in Vienna, but may be convened at the request of the Board of Governors or the majority of the Agency members in case of the need for holding special sessions.
The functions entrusted to the General Conference include:
- election of members of the Board of Governors;
- approval of admission of states as member countries;
- review of the Annual Report of the Board of Governors;
- approval of the Agency’s budget;
- ratification of Agreements concluded between the Agency and the United Nations and other organizations;
- approval of the Director General appointment.
The IAEA Board of Governors deals with the reviews of IAEA financial statements, programs, budget and elaboration of recommendations for the General Conference. They also review applications for membership in the Agency, adoption of Safeguards Agreements and establishment of IAEA safety standards. The Board of Governors appoints the IAEA Director General, who is approved by the General Conference. The meeting of the Board of Governors is held five times a year: in March and June, twice in September (before and after the General Conference session) and in November.
In 2021-2022, the Board of Governors included 35 Member States: Australia, Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Burundi, Vietnam, Guatemala, Egypt, India, Ireland, Spain, Canada, China, Colombia, Korea, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Germany, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Slovenia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Japan.
Since 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency has been headed by seven Directors General. According to Article VII of the IAEA Statute: “The Director General shall be appointed by the Board of Governors with the approval of the General Conference for a term of four years. He shall be the chief administrative officer of the Agency”.
The first Director General of the IAEA, who headed the Agency in 1957-1961, the years of its establishment, was the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy of the US Congress, William Sterling Cole. He visited more than 30 Member States of the organization to generate interest and support for the Agency. During four years of work, the Director General planned, initiated and adjusted the main areas of the Agency’s activities.
His successor elected in 1961, was the Swedish scientist Sigvard Eklund, who served as Director General of the IAEA for twenty consecutive years and became its Honorary Director General. He was re-elected four times in 1965, 1969, 1974 and 1977. During his tenure as the Director General, the main scientific and technical programs, research and analytical laboratories were created and developed. Among his main achievements are the conclusion of an Agreement with the IAEA laboratories in Monaco, the expansion of the scope of research to study the effects of radioactivity on marine life, as well as the growth of the number of IAEA laboratories in Seibersdorf.
Hans Blix, who headed the Agency in 1981-1997, became the third IAEA Director General. His tenure was marked by events such as the Chornobyl disaster in 1986, the revelation of Iraq’s secret nuclear weapons program in the early 1990s, and the revelation of North Korea’s undeclared nuclear activities. During the management of the Agency, the first new legal document in 27 years on enhanced safeguards was adopted: the Model Additional Protocol.
The Model Additional Protocol excludes the possibility of conducting any undeclared activities through the expansion of the IAEA’s powers to conduct inspections on the peaceful use of nuclear material in states that have Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements, and also stipulates strengthening of the international legal regime for the nuclear energy use.
In 1997-2009, the Agency was headed by Mr. Mohamed ElBaradei, who had worked at the IAEA since 1984 as a Legal Adviser and Assistant Director General for external relations. During his first term as Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei established a nuclear security program to combat the risk of nuclear terrorism by helping Member States strengthen the protection of their nuclear and radioactive materials and facilities. After leading the agency for the second time, ElBaradei focused his attention on conducting IAEA inspections in Iraq, because he denied the arguments of the United States for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. While in the position of Director General, he also focused on the development of nuclear technologies and nuclear medicine. In particular, in 2004, ElBaradei sponsored a global initiative in the fight against cancer: the Cancer Action Program.
In October 2005, Mr. ElBaradei and the IAEA were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts aimed at preventing the use of nuclear energy for military purposes and to ensure the safest use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”.
In 2009, Yukiya Amano, who headed the agency for ten years, was elected as the IAEA Director General. Prior to that, in 2005-2006, he served as Chairman of the IAEA Board of Governors and was the Permanent Representative of Japan until his election as Director General in July 2009. The main aspect of the work in this position was “the search for a diplomatic solution to the problem of Iran’s nuclear program”, although negotiations regarding conducting IAEA inspections at Iran’s military facilities turned out to be fruitless.
An accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant occurred during Yukiya Amano’s leadership. At his request, the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety was convened, during which Director General Yukiya Amano was asked to develop a draft Nuclear Safety Action Plan. It was unanimously adopted by the Board of Governors and endorsed by all Member States at the 55th session of the IAEA General Conference in September 2011.
Following the death of Yukiya Amano, the post of the IAEA Director General in 2019 is still held by Rafael Mariano Grossi, who has more than 35 years of experience in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament. Having entered the diplomatic service in 1985, he worked in various positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, in particular, headed the diplomatic mission in Belgium and Luxembourg, was the representative of Argentina to NATO and the deputy representative of Argentina at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. In 2010-2013, he held the positions of Assistant Director General for Policy and Chief of the IAEA Office, and then he was appointed as Ambassador of Argentina to Austria and Representative of Argentina to the IAEA and other international organizations in Vienna. In 2015, during the conference on the Convention on Nuclear Safety, Rafael Mariano Grossi achieved unanimous approval of the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety. Before heading the IAEA, he was the Acting Chairman of the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.
Six Deputies are subordinate to him:
- Margaret Doane, Head of the Department of Management. Her responsibilities include ensuring the implementation of financial, personnel, management, administrative, information technology and general services for the successful functioning of the IAEA.
Margaret Doane started her career at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1991, working first as a special legal assistant before becoming Director of the Office of International Programs. From 2012 to 2018, Margaret served as General Advisor and later as Executive Director for Operations at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Margaret Doane became the Head of the IAEA Department of Management in 2021.
- Najat Mokhtar, Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, who manages assistance to Member States for the development of nuclear science, technology and innovations.
She acquired her PhD in Nutrition and Endocrinology from Université Laval in Canada and her PhD in Food Sciences from the University of Dijon in France. Studied as a postdoctoral student under the Fulbright program at the University named after John Hopkins in the USA. For more than twenty years, she worked as a professor and research supervisor at Ibn Tofayl University in Morocco. In 2001-2007, Ms. Mokhtar held the position of specialist curator at the IAEA, and then became the Director of Science and Technology at the Academy of Sciences and Technologies named after Hassan II in Morocco, where she coordinated the national strategy in the field of education and research. In 2012–2014, she was the Head of the Nutrition and Environment Research Section. She received the position of Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications in 2019, having previously worked in the Department of Technical Cooperation of the Asia-Pacific region.
- Hua Liu, Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, who ensures the transfer of nuclear technologies to Member States to solve challenges in various fields (health and nutrition, food and agriculture, water resources and environment, etc.).
Liu Hua holds a PhD in radiation protection and environmental protection, a master’s degree in radiation protection and nuclear safety from the China Institute of Atomic Energy, a master’s degree in business administration from Tsinghua University, and a bachelor’s degree in nuclear physics from the National University of Defense Technology in Changsha, China. He started his career at the National Nuclear Security Administration, and then worked as the second secretary for science and technology at the Chinese Embassy in Washington. Prior to working at the IAEA, he held the position of Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection in 2016-2018, as well as Deputy Minister of Ecology and Environment in 2018-2021. Having more than 30 years of experience as an engineer and scientist in the field of nuclear science and radiation protection, he became the Head of the Technical Cooperation Department in 2021.
- Massimo Aparo, Head of the Department of Safeguards, who monitors the application and implementation of safeguards by verifying fulfillment of obligations by Member States, in accordance with the signed Agreements with the IAEA.
Massimo Aparo has been with the IAEA’s Safeguards Department since 1997, currently serving as Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Safeguards, and previously served as Chief of the Technical and Scientific Services Division, Head of the Tokyo Regional Office in Operations Division A, and Chief of Operations groups of Iran. Before joining the IAEA, Massimo Aparo worked as CEO of an Italian radiation detection and monitoring company at the European Space Agency and at the former Italian National Committee for Nuclear Energy.
- Lydie Evrard, Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, who is engaged in ensuring the protection of the public and the environment from ionizing radiation.
Lydie Evrard started her career in engineering in 1995 as an engineer at the French Ministry of Energy, and for the past 25 years has held the positions of Head of Industry, Research and Environment at the French Ministry of the Environment (Paris Region); Deputy Head of the Department of the Paris Region of the Nuclear Safety Authority, Head of the Department for Nuclear Waste, Decommissioning, Fuel Cycle Installations, Research Installations and Contaminated Soil Remediation. At the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), she dealt with radiation protection and nuclear safety issues. In particular, together with colleagues from the French Ministry of Energy, she developed a national plan for management of radioactive materials and waste for 2013-2015 and coordinated stress-tests conducted at research and fuel cycle facilities after the accident at the “Fukushima Daiichi NPP”. She became the Head of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security in 2021.
- mikhail chudakov, Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, who controls the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
mikhail chudakov has been working at the russian “rosenergoatom” since 1995, in particular, he performed the duties of Deputy Director General of the enterprise and Director of the Bilibin NPP, and before that he held the position of WANO NPP adviser in moscow and London, in particular, he headed the moscow WANO NPP center until 2015. He worked in various positions, in particular as a senior reactor operator, at the Kalinin NPP. He was appointed Deputy Director General and Head of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy in 2015.
The IAEA structure is closely related to the organization’s activities. Thus, the Agency consists of the Office of the Director General and six departments: Department of Management, Department of Nuclear Energy, Department of Safeguards, Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, Department of Technical Cooperation, and Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications.
Five Offices report to the IAEA Director General. The Director General’s Office is responsible for maintaining and establishing external relations with Member States and stakeholders, planning and enforcing the organization’s policy and strategy, coordinating the activities of the offices in New York and Geneva that maintain contact with the United Nations and its institutions. The Secretariat of the Policy-Making Organs ensures performance of the functions of the IAEA’s governing bodies: the General Conference and the Board of Governors, as well as ensures the effective conduct of meetings of the Policy-Making Organs. The Office of Internal Oversight Services was established in 2001 at the initiative of the IAEA Director General to carry out internal audit functions, provide management consulting, evaluate program implementation, conduct official investigations, and coordinate the IAEA’s cooperation with the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit. The main task of the Office of Public Information and Communication is to provide timely information about the IAEA and nuclear developments, organize press briefings of the Director General, and coordinate the communication activities of other departments and divisions of the Agency. The Office of Legal Affairs ensures the work of the Director General, the Secretariat and Policy-Making Organs in accordance with legal standards, provides legal services to IAEA Member States in concluding international agreements and developing national nuclear regulatory framework, and is the depository for the agency’s multilateral treaties. Structurally, the Office is divided into three Departments: General Legal Department, Non-Proliferation and Policy-Making Department, Nuclear and Treaty Law Department.
In addition, on the initiative of the Office of Legal Affairs, the First International Conference on Nuclear Law was launched with the aim of sharing experience and discussing current issues in the field of nuclear law for its further development.
In general, the tasks of the Director General’s Office are to organize smooth operation of the Agency, taking into account the needs of the Secretariat and Member States.
The Department of Nuclear Safety and Security provides expert and consulting services in various areas of nuclear and physical security. In this way, the employees of the Departments help develop and implement safety standards for radiation protection, nuclear waste management and transportation, develop measures to increase safety of nuclear installations at the stages of design, construction and operation of nuclear facilities.
In addition, the Department has established the Incident and Emergency Center – a global coordination center for international emergency preparedness, interaction and response in the event of nuclear or radiation incidents and emergency situations, regardless of whether they occurred as a result of an accident, negligence or malicious actions.
The Department of Technical Cooperation is engaged in implementation of the Agency’s technical cooperation programs.
The Technical Cooperation Program is the main mechanism for transferring nuclear technologies to Member States and providing them with assistance in solving priority tasks in the fields of health and nutrition, food and agriculture, water resources and the environment, etc., as well as the accumulation and management of nuclear knowledge.
The Technical Cooperation Program is implemented in four geographical regions: Africa, Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. For each region, the available potential and working conditions are taken into account.
The Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications is engaged in solving socio-economic problems in the areas of health care, food and agriculture, environmental protection, water resources and industry through the use of nuclear science, technology and innovations.
A number of IAEA laboratories operate within the Department, including the Marine Environment, Nuclear Sciences and Instrumentation Laboratories and 8 laboratories located in Seibersdorf: Pest Control, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Soil and Water Resources and Plant Nutrition, Safety and Control of Food Products, Nuclear Science and Instruments, Earth Environment and Dosimetry Laboratory.
The Department of Safeguards performs functions related to the application of IAEA safeguards to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons by conducting inspections and providing technical assistance in accordance with concluded Agreements and arrangements.
The Department has a Bureau of Inspections in Iran and three Divisions of Operations – A, which covers the Australasia region (Australia, the islands of New Zealand, New Guinea and the adjacent Pacific islands), B – the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, non-European countries to the EU, North and South America, C – Europe, Central Asia and the russian federation.
The Department of Nuclear Energy, headed by the russian mikhail chudakov, should promote the safe use of nuclear energy by governments and operators of countries and provide support to existing and new nuclear programs around the world, in particular in matters of the nuclear fuel cycle, the life cycle of nuclear installations.
As you can see, russian representatives are still among the Agency’s governing officials. Moreover, the paradox is that the russian citizen mikhail chudakov is the Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, whose main area of responsibility is to help countries in the efficient and safe operation of nuclear power plants. That is, the Department, which is headed by a russian, coordinates activities in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy in the energy sector, while his state seizes Ukrainian nuclear power plants, attacks nuclear facilities, keeps under occupation and kidnaps Ukrainian nuclear employees.
After the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011, discussions on the IAEA’s passivity in the field of nuclear safety started. In particular, University of Southern California professor Najmedin Meshkati, who visited the Chornobyl nuclear power plant after the disaster and studied the experience of nuclear power plants responding to emergencies, said that the IAEA has neither a research plan nor resources for funding in the field of nuclear energy safety. That is, the IAEA, as an international organization that has significant resources and human potential and was created with the aim of ensuring the peaceful use of atomic energy, should take a proactive position to create new trends and research areas in the nuclear field, aimed at preventing accidents and effective response in the event of their occurrence
In connection with the full-scale invasion of the russian federation in Ukraine, the occupation and the growing risk of damage to nuclear and radiation facilities as a result of military operations, the IAEA was challenged to find mechanisms to prevent the occurrence of nuclear and radiation accidents at facilities of nuclear energy peaceful use, not designed to the effects of hostilities. Just as after the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the international organization did not have an action plan for maintaining nuclear safety and security under martial law. However, Ukraine gained the world’s first experience of seizing peaceful nuclear installations by a nuclear-weapon state, and remains a self-proclaimed IAEA Member State, taking over the legacy of the USSR. russian federation was neither not among the IAEA founding countries, nor was it among those who expressed a wish to join the authoritative international organization.
Since the beginning of the war, the IAEA Director General has outlined “seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security”, which must be fulfilled by “all parties” under any conditions, but are completely ignored by the russian occupiers. The IAEA’s first wartime mission in Ukraine took place at the end of March at the Pivdennoukrainsk NPP. Rafael Mariano Grossi paid a second visit to the Chornobyl nuclear power plant on 26 April after its de-occupation and started planning the next IAEA mission to the occupied Zaporizhzhia NPP, which took place on 1 September 2022.
Since that time, an IAEA permanent mission has been operating at the Zaporizhzhia NPP, in accordance with the Terms of Reference agreed between Ukraine and the IAEA through an exchange of Notes. Statements of the IAEA Director General and reports on the state of nuclear safety and security in Ukraine are available at the link. The IAEA states that the shelling poses a threat to nuclear safety and may lead to radiological consequences. That is why the IAEA Director General declared the need to stop any military actions near Ukrainian nuclear power plants and initiated establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone. However, today the situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP remains unchanged: the nuclear power plant is still occupied, shelling of the ZNPP site and adjacent territories continues, explosions are heard from accidental detonations of mines planted around the perimeter, nuclear workers are subjected to abuse, humiliation and coercion, representatives of “rosatom” interfere in the operation and construction of nuclear installations, the resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors are ignored by the russian aggressors, despite the permanent presence of the IAEA mission at the ZNPP.
The existing framework of international legal regimes of nuclear security has been destroyed by the aggression of a nuclear country and needs to be revised taking into account the realities that have developed in the war conditions. The state corporation “rosatom” actually acts as a consultant and sponsor of the policy of russian nuclear terrorism not only in Ukraine, but also in many other countries of the world, promoting russian nuclear technologies and “turnkey” projects as mechanisms of expansion and long-term political and technological dependence of potential “recipients”, the main of which are Iran, Belarus, China, India, as well as Turkey and Egypt, whose state policy takes into account the role of the russian federation in the development of their national nuclear programs.
The IAEA, which positions itself as an influential international organization, should work on finding new mechanisms for supporting safety and non-proliferation regimes to preserve its authority, since the consequences of the aggressive actions of a nuclear state may be the uncontrollable spread of nuclear technologies and the destruction of already established deterrence mechanisms.
IAEA Member Countries should understand that implementation of projects with the involvement of the state nuclear energy corporation “rosatom” not only brings significant financial risks and endangers successful implementation of these projects under the conditions of sanctions and military expenses, but is also a mechanism for the expansion of the russian federation and sponsorship of nuclear terror.
The Editorial Board of the Uatom.org website