Nuclear Energy Agency

Nuclear Energy Agency
Map of members

The Nuclear Energy Agency is an intergovernmental multinational agency that is organized under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Originally formed on 1 February 1958 with the name European Nuclear Energy Agency (ENEA) (the United States participated as an Associate Member), the name was changed on 20 April 1972 to its current name after Japan became a member.

The mission of the NEA is to "assist its Member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co-operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for the safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." [1]



There are currently 29 members of the NEA:

Together they account for approximately 85% of the world’s installed nuclear capacity. Nuclear power accounts for almost a quarter of the electricity produced in NEA Member countries. The NEA works closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna – a specialised agency of the United Nations – and with the European Commission in Brussels.

Within the OECD, there is close co-ordination with the International Energy Agency and the Environment Directorate, as well as contacts with other directorates, as appropriate.

NEA areas of work

NEA strengths

  • The NEA is the only intergovernmental nuclear energy organisation which brings together developed countries of North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in a small, non-political forum with a relatively narrow, technical focus.
  • NEA membership represents much of the world’s best nuclear expertise.
  • By pooling this expertise, the NEA provides each Member access to the substantial experience of others and an opportunity to substantially leverage its resources in this field.
  • Homogeneity of NEA membership makes possible a like-minded approach to problems, a climate of mutual trust and collaboration, the full exchange of experience, and a frank assessment of issues.
  • The NEA is relatively unfettered by political and bureaucratic constraints, and is able to focus effectively on the specific needs of its Members.
  • NEA scientific and technical work is in the forefront of knowledge and is known for its depth.
  • The NEA publishes consensus positions on key issues, providing Member countries with credible references.
  • The NEA is cost-effective. It operates with a small staff, relying on Member country experts, and provides significant added value.
  • The NEA’s system of standing technical committees enables the Agency to be flexible and responsive.
  • NEA joint projects and information exchange programmes enable interested Members and non-members to join forces in carrying out research or scientific intercomparison exercises on a cost-sharing basis.
  • The NEA, as part of a larger multi-disciplinary organisation, is uniquely placed to address nuclear energy in the context of broader cross-cutting issues such as sustainable development.


The Director-General of the NEA is Luis Echávarri. The NEA Secretariat serves seven specialized standing technical committees under the leadership of the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy - the governing body of the NEA - which reports directly to the OECD Council.

The standing technical committees, representing each of the seven major areas of the Agency's programme, are composed of member country experts who are both contributors to the programme of work and beneficiaries of its results. The approach is highly cost-efficient as it enables the Agency to pursue an ambitious programme with a relatively small staff that co-ordinates the work. The substantive value of the standing technical committees arises from the numerous important functions they perform, including: providing a forum for in-depth exchanges of technical and programmatic information; stimulating development of useful information by initiating and carrying out co-operation/research on key problems; developing common positions, including "consensus opinions", on technical and policy issues; identifying areas where further work is needed and ensuring that NEA activities respond to real needs; organising joint projects to enable interested countries to carry out research on particular issues on a cost-sharing basis.

See also

External links

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