EME 444
Global Energy Enterprise

International Agencies


Many regional government agencies and regulatory bodies have oversight authority for nuclear energy activities within their borders. Additionally, numerous international agencies also work to advance the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy. Several of the more prominent ones are described below.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

  • Set up as the world's "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family, the IAEA currently has 170 member countries.
  • The IAEA Secretariat, a team of over 2500 multi-disciplinary professional and support staff from more than 100 countries, is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. Regional offices are located in Geneva, Switzerland; New York, USA; Toronto, Canada; and Tokyo, Japan.
  • IAEA financial resources include the regular budget and voluntary contributions.
  • Three main areas of work underpin the IAEA´s mission: Safety and Security; Science and Technology; and Safeguards and Verification. To fulfill this mission, it "serves as the global focal point for nuclear cooperation;...assists its Member States...in planning for and using nuclear science and technology for various peaceful purposes...and facilitates the transfer of such technology and knowledge in a sustainable manner to developing Member States;...develops nuclear safety standards, and...promotes the achievement and maintenance of high levels of safety...(and) verifies through its inspection system that States comply with their commitments, under ...non-proliferation agreements."
  • The IAEA reports annually to the UN General Assembly and, when appropriate, to the UN Security Council regarding non-compliance by States with their safeguards obligations as well as on matters relating to international peace and security.
  • The Agency's iNFCIS web site  is designed as a "one stop" resource for technical and statistical information about nuclear fuel cycle activities worldwide.

Nuclear Energy Agency

  • The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is a specialized agency within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries, based in Paris, France.
  • The mission of the NEA is "to assist its Member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co-operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for the safe, environmentally sound and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It strives to provide authoritative assessments and to forge common understandings on key issues as input to government decisions on nuclear energy policy and to broader OECD analyses in areas such as energy and the sustainable development of low-carbon economies."
  • The NEA's current membership consists of 33 countries, in Europe, North America the Asia-Pacific region. Together they account for approximately 82% of the world's installed nuclear capacity.
  • The NEA works closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna - a specialized agency of the United Nations - and with the European Commission in Brussels. Within the OECD, there is close coordination with the International Energy Agency and the Environment Directorate, as well as contacts with other directorates, as appropriate.

World Nuclear Association (WNA)

  • The World Nuclear Association is an International organization that promotes nuclear energy and supports the many companies that comprise the global nuclear industry. Note the difference between the WNA and the organizations above. The WNA is an industry organization, and thus promotes the nuclear industry, while the IAEA and NEA are focused primarily on international safety and management.
  • WNA membership includes (i) "virtually all of the world's uranium mining, conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication companies;" (ii) "all major reactor vendors;" (iii) "nuclear utilities providing 70 of world nuclear generation;" (iv) "major nuclear engineering, construction, and waste management companies; and research and development organizations;" and (v) "companies providing international services in nuclear transport, law, insurance, brokerage, industry analysis and finance."
  • The WNA focus their activities on three strategic areas:
    • "Nuclear Industry Cooperation"
    • "Nuclear Information Management"
    • "Nuclear Energy Communication"
  • Coordinated action through WNA yields both greater efficiency and stronger impact in:
    • IAEA and NEA advisory committees on transport and all aspects of nuclear safety
    • United Nations policy forums focused on sustainable development and climate change
    • CRP and Ospar deliberations on radiological protection.
  • The WNA's information library contains an abundance of information about nuclear technology, generation statistics, safety, and more, including country-level data.
  • WNA publishes the online news service, World Nuclear News (WNN)
  • WNA activities support the global nuclear industry by providing direct benefit to individual member-companies and collective benefit to the industry as a whole.