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3/14/2015

UnitedNationsGlobalIssues

UnitedNationsGlobalIssues

Atomic Energy
TheUNandthenuclearagewerebornalmostsimultaneously.ThehorroroftheSecondWorldWar,
culminatinginthenuclearblastsatHiroshimaandNagasaki,broughthometheneedtoaddressthe
nuclearissue.Byitsfirstresolution,theGeneralAssemblyestablishedtheUNAtomicEnergy
Commissiontodealwiththeproblemsraisedbythediscoveryofatomicenergy.Andalandmark
addressbyUnitedStatesPresidentDwightD.Eisenhowerin1953,AtomsforPeace,ledtothe
establishmentin1957oftheInternationalAtomicEnergyAgency(IAEA).

Today,439nuclearpowerreactorsproduceapproximately16percentoftheworldselectricity.Innine
countries,over40percentofenergyproductioncomesfromnuclearpower.TheIAEA,an
internationalorganizationintheUNfamily,fostersthesafe,secureandpeacefulusesofatomicenergy
andhelpsensuretheuseofnucleartechnologyforsustainabledevelopment.
Underthe1968TreatyontheNonProliferationofNuclearWeapons(NPT),theIAEAconductson
siteinspectionstoensurethatnuclearmaterialsareusedonlyusedforpeacefulpurposes.Priortothe
2003Iraqwar,itsinspectorsplayedakeyroleinuncoveringandeliminatingIraqsbannedweapons
programmesandcapabilities.In2005,theAgencyanditsDirectorGeneral,MohamedElBaradeiwere
awardedtheNobelPeacePrizefortheireffortstopreventnuclearenergyfrombeingusedformilitary
purposesandtoensurethatnuclearenergyforpeacefulpurposesisusedinthesafestpossibleway.
TheUNConferenceonDisarmament,thesolemultilateralnegotiatingforumondisarmament,
producedtheComprehensiveNuclearTestBanTreaty,whichwasadoptedin1996.TheOfficefor
DisarmamentAffairspromotesnucleardisarmamentandnonproliferation.TheCommitteeonthe
PeacefulUsesofOuterSpaceproducedthe1992Principlesontheuseofnuclearpowersourcesin
outerspace.TheUNScientificCommitteeontheEffectsofAtomicRadiationreportsonthelevels
andeffectsofexposuretoionizingradiation,providingthescientificbasisforprotectionandsafety
standardsworldwide.
Addressingthedangerofnuclearterrorism,theUNhasalsoproducedtheConventiononthePhysical
http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/atomicenergy/

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3/14/2015

UnitedNationsGlobalIssues

ProtectionofNuclearMaterial(Vienna,1980),andtheInternationalConventionfortheSuppressionof
ActsofNuclearTerrorism(2005).
Multilateralandbilateralnucleardisarmamentandarmsregulationagreements

Therearealsoconcernsthatanuclearrenaissancecouldsoontakeplace,withnuclear
energybeingseenasaclean,emissionfreealternativeatatimeofintensifyingeffortsto
combatclimatechange.Themainworryisthatthiswillleadtotheproductionanduseof
morenuclearmaterialsthatmustbeprotectedagainstproliferationandterroristthreats."
SecretaryGeneralBanKimoon
AddresstotheEastWestInstitute
"TheUnitedNationsandsecurityinanuclearweaponfreeworld"
(24October2008)

http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/atomicenergy/

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