International Atomic Energy Agency
Preventing the military use of nuclear energy
The IAEA was established in 1957 for the purpose of promoting increased use of nuclear power for civil purposes without entailing the further spread of nuclear arms. When the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force in 1970, the IAEA became the most important instrument for controlling that the treaty was complied with.
All non-nuclear weapon states that have acceded to the NPT must accept monitoring by the IAEA of their nuclear power stations and other nuclear facilities. This control, carried out both by technical means and in local inspections, has grown increasingly efficient. The IAEA was for instance the first to show that North Korea was developing nuclear weapons. In the lead-up to the war with Iraq in 2003, the IAEA disagreed with the American claims that the country had resumed its nuclear arms program. In this case, too, the IAEA proved to be right.
In the view of the Nobel Committee, the threat of proliferation of nuclear arms must be met by the broadest possible international cooperation under the leadership of the IAEA and the UN Security Council.