Nuclear Science

Nuclear science and technologies contribute in many ways to the health, development and security in countries worldwide. Through its Nuclear Science Programme the IAEA carries out activities to assist and advise the IAEA Member States in assessing their needs for capacity building, research and development in the nuclear sciences, as well as in supporting the Member States’ activities for deriving benefits in specific fields, such as:

- Nuclear, atomic and molecular data;
- Research reactors and their effective management;
- Accelerators, nuclear spectrometry and allied instrumentation;
- Nuclear fusion and plasma physics;
- Coordination of cooperation with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and ITER.

The effective development of new technologies and their applications, as well as the safe and economical maintenance of existing technologies, rely on a thorough understanding of the underlying nuclear science principles, related physico-chemical processes and nuclear data.

The IAEA Nuclear Science Programme is part of the IAEA’s Major Programme 1, managed by the Department of Nuclear Energy, while the Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences, located within the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications is responsible for implementing most parts of the Programme.

There are five sub-programmes, and the work is carried out by a staff of approximately 40 persons distributed among three sections, namely, Nuclear Data Section and Physics Section within the Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences in the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications; and Research Reactor Section in the Department of Nuclear Energy.

The tasks under the Nuclear Science Programme include supporting Member States’ needs-based development efforts through Coordinated Research Projects, advisory missions, laboratory training and analytical services, publication of the state-of-the-art reports on specific topics and issues, preparation and provision of materials for human resources development, and assistance to the Department of Technical Cooperation on scientific and technical aspects of a large number of technical cooperation projects.

The activities address the requirements of both nuclear energy systems and non-power nuclear applications. These include inter alia provision of high quality atomic and nuclear database services to Member States in support of nuclear applications (NDS web link), contributions to the international efforts in the minimization of HEU use in research reactors, as well as laboratory-based services by the Nuclear Science and Instrumentation Laboratory located in Seibersdorf.