The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) elected Japanese Ambassador to the organization Yukiya Amano as its new director general on Thursday afternoon
The election did not witness a smooth voting process. Due to apparent differences on who should head the agency, its board conducted long multilateral and bilateral consultations as well as two secret formal ballots before Amano was finally elected.
The IAEA General Assembly is scheduled to approve Amano’s appointment in September, and he will succeed the incumbent IAEA chief Mohamed El Baradei on Dec. 1.
The IAEA, founded in October 1957, has now 146 members with its headquarters based in Vienna, Austria.
Since its establishment, the agency has considered nuclear verification and safeguard, nuclear security, and nuclear technology transfer as the three pillars of its work.
El Baradei, from Egypt, first served as the agency’s chief in 1997, and was re-elected in 2001 and 2005. His third term would be due at the end of this year. Last year, El Baradei stated he would not serve a fourth term.
During El Baradei’s term, Iraqi, Korean and Iranian nuclear issues have been under international focus successively, while Libyan and Syrian nuclear-related issues have also aroused great concern in the international community.
A series of events have made El Baradei the most eye-catching director general ever. Due to his outstanding contribution to the prevention of nuclear proliferation, El Baradei and the agency shared the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.
With the development and changes of the international situation, how to deal with the contradiction between non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear power has become the biggest challenge facing the IAEA.
On non-proliferation, the IAEA is facing demanding tasks such as clarifying the outstanding issues concerning the Iranian nuclear program, completing the verification of the Syrian suspected facility, and bringing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) back to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
In addition, with the increasing security problem of the energy supply and the exacerbating global warming, the nuclear power, as one of the alternative energy sources, is receiving more and more attention.