Nuclear Techniques for Development and Environmental Protection

A most diverse department, the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications cuts across a number of important socio-economic sectors, from health, food and agriculture to the environment, water resources and industry. In each thematic area, the IAEA scientists work together with experts in Member States to help meet their development needs through nuclear science, technology and innovation. The IAEA provides Member States with scientific advice, education and training, technical documents, access to key nuclear data as well as meetings, conferences and symposia. The department works with Member States to advance nuclear science and technology, and improve awareness about its wide range of applications.

The services are delivered through various mechanisms, such as technical cooperation projects and coordinated research activities. To further the R&D and capacity building, the department works together with scientific institutions such as laboratories, universities and research facilities around the world through its Collaborating Centre scheme, as well as networks, like ALMERA (Analytical Laboratories for the Monitoring of Environmental Radioactivity). Cooperation with important partners such as Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) is paramount to expanding capabilities in the nuclear field.

A unique feature in the United Nations system, the department manages a group of twelve nuclear applications laboratories in Vienna, Seibersdorf, and Monaco. The laboratories provide Member States with applied R&D, training and capacity building, technical and analytical services, reference materials, quality control and quality assurance services, as well as set international standards in the respective areas.

“2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the IAEA nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, which contribute to pioneering work related to human and animal health, food security and safety, agriculture, industry and environmental monitoring. After five decades, the laboratories have become somewhat outdated with limited space. A modernization plan is underway to bring the laboratories up to the latest modern standards so they can offer even better services to our Member States. In addition, the IAEA Director General wishes to establish a Cancer Training Centre at the laboratory complex in Seibersdorf, within the next few years. This would be based on the existing Dosimetry Laboratory.” (Daud Mohamad, Deputy Director General, Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications)