Candidate for the position of the Director
General of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA Yukiya Amano
of Japan attends a board of Governors meeting at Vienna's UN headquarters
June 15, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)
VIENNA, July 2 (Xinhua) -- 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
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
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
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.
In 1986, the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power
plant in the Soviet Union had a tremendous impact on the world's nuclear power
development. In more than 20 years afterwards, the United States did not
construct any new nuclear power plant, and Germany's new plant failed to be put
into operation due to strong anti-nuclear forces in Europe. Some countries
including Austria still refused to develop nuclear power at all.
Now many countries begin to re-consider utilizing the
nuclear power. The United States has planned to build a new nuclear power
station, while some European countries including Britain, Italy and France also
have intentions to expand the use of the clean energy.
Meanwhile, more and more developing countries, such
as Indonesia, Malaysia, even Vietnam and the Philippines begin to show interest
in the nuclear power. The nuclear power has become increasingly popular in the
With this trend, the risk of abusing nuclear
materials and nuclear technology and in turn the risk of nuclear proliferation
is also on the rise.
Therefore, the IAEA is facing the task of how to
guarantee nuclear security and effectively prevent nuclear proliferation while
actively promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
However, on this issue, developed and developing
countries have their own different focuses. Developed countries requested the
IAEA to assume the tasks of non-proliferation and safe keeping, emphasizing the
responsibility and strict restrictions of developing and utilizing nuclear
power, while developing countries claimed the IAEA should, besides advocating
non-proliferation, also focus on assisting developing countries in the
development and peaceful use of nuclear energy under equal conditions.
On the future budget of the IAEA, developed countries
such as the United States and Britain required the agency to achieve a
zero-growth budget, while developing countries demanded the agency's budget
should actually guarantee the need especially in the areas of development
On the surface, the election of the new director
general seems to be a race between Japanese Amano and South African Abdul Minty,
but actually it reflected the absence of mutual trust between developed and
developing countries, as both sides each were seeking a "spokesperson" for their
Therefore, how to not only promote the peaceful use
of nuclear energy but also comprehensively and effectively prevent nuclear
proliferation on a fair and equal basis will be the core issue to be solved by
the IAEA in the future.