The IAEA is the world's center of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world´s "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.
The IAEA Secretariat is headquartered at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria. Operational liaison and regional offices are located in Geneva, Switzerland; New York, USA; Toronto, Canada; and Tokyo, Japan. The IAEA runs or supports research centers and scientific laboratories in Vienna and Seibersdorf, Austria; Monaco; and Trieste, Italy.
The IAEA's mission is guided by the interests and needs of Member States, strategic plans and the vision embodied in the IAEA Statute. Three main pillars - or areas of work - underpin the IAEA's mission: Safety and Security; Science and Technology; and Safeguards and Verification.
ESARDA, the European Safeguards Research and Development Association, is comprised of European organisations actively involved in the Research and Development of Nuclear Safeguards.
Nuclear Safeguards can be described as a verification system that works within the framework of international nuclear material control and non-proliferation. It is applied to maintain the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The objective is to make sure that civil nuclear material, which could otherwise be used in the fabrication of nuclear weapons, is exclusively used for peaceful applications.
The control of civil nuclear material is mandatory within the EU territory in line with the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (“Euratom Treaty”) which entered into force in 1958. The Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in 1970, provides for Nuclear Safeguards on a world-wide basis.
The 1960s were a period of intense R&D activity in safeguards, due to the rapid expansion of nuclear energy production. ESARDA was created in 1969.