International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei

Nobel Peace Prize 2005

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.

Mohamed ElBaradei


Proliferation of nuclear arms must be stopped

Mohamed ElBaradei took up the post of Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in December 1997, and had managed the Agency's affairs outstandingly for two four-year periods when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2005. Just before the award was announced, ElBaradei was re-elected for a third period.

In the reasons it gave for the award, the Nobel Committee pointed to the important work ElBaradei and the IAEA had done to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that civil use of nuclear power takes place under reliable international control. The Committee also noted how much ElBaradei had done to strengthen the IAEA as an organization and to increase accession to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Mohamed ElBaradei was born in Cairo in 1942. He read law in Egypt, and took a doctorate in international law at the New York University School of Law in 1974. Before becoming head of the IAEA he had worked for a number of years as an Egyptian diplomat and in the United Nations.