IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme

Published: 28 March 2014

The IAEA's Technical Cooperation programme: Delivering results for peace and development. A key IAEA mandate is "to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity." The IAEA carries out this responsibility through research and development activities, coordinated research projects, and its Technical Cooperation (TC) programme. The TC programme draws on the expertise of the IAEA's technical Departments to help Member States use nuclear technology for socioeconomic development. <strong>Sustainable Agriculture</strong> <br>
Working in partnership with the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, the IAEA helps Member States to use nuclear technology to improve crop varieties and livestock production, to enhance soil and water management and to control animal and plant pests and diseases. Nuclear technology can also be used to increase food safety. <strong>Enhancing Crop Varieties</strong><br>
The IAEA's Technical Cooperation programme helps Member States learn how to implement modern and competitive plant breeding programmes using radiation induced mutation. Mutation breeding speeds up the natural evolutionary process in crops, triggering varieties that can resist plant diseases, or tolerate environmental stresses such as drought and salinity. <strong>Reducing Soil Erosion</strong><br>
Other projects help countries to apply nuclear techniques to evaluate soil degradation and soil losses from erosion and to assess the effectiveness of soil and water conservation strategies. <strong>Increasing Livestock Productivity</strong><br>
The IAEA also supports projects that help Member States to use nuclear and nuclear-related techniques to develop feeding strategies, adequate management practices and breeding programmes that improve the productivity and reproductive efficiency of livestock. <strong>Controlling and Eradicating Insect Pests</strong><br>
The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is an environmentally friendly alternative to insecticides, and helps suppress insect pests. IAEA Technical Cooperation activities focus on comprehensive approaches to pest suppression, containment and eradication. <strong>Food Safety</strong><br>
Irradiation can be used to destroy microbes in food that carry disease. This reduces foods safety risks and extends food shelf life. The IAEA helps countries use radioisotopes as tracers to investigate food contaminants, trace food origin, detect adulteration and prove the authenticity of food products. <strong>Optimizing Fertilizer and Water Use</strong><br>
Isotopes can be used to measure and monitor nutrients and water in soil-crop systems. Using environmentally friendly tracer elements, it is possible to determine the optimal placement and delivery of fertilizers and water to ensure that farmers are getting "more crop per drop". <strong>Supporting Soil and Agricultural Water Conservation</strong><br>
IAEA Technical Cooperation projects help Member States to improve soil fertility and increase crop yields, and build capacities for soil conservation, land use planning and decision-making. <strong>Water Resources</strong><br>
In water resource management, nuclear techniques are used to map and assess groundwater resources, supporting improved management strategies. Nuclear techniques are also used to enhance the efficiency of water use in agriculture. <strong>Managing Groundwater</strong><br>
IAEA projects promote the use of isotopic techniques to understand the source, extent and behaviour of groundwater resources, as well as their vulnerability to pollution. Isotope hydrology also helps to identify the origin and extent of pollution or saline water intrusion, and provides valuable inputs for sustainable water resource management. <strong>Monitoring and Protecting Oceans</strong><br>
Nuclear techniques provide researchers with tools to study the ocean's past and predict its future, and are used to monitor and assess the effects of climate change, such as ocean acidification. The IAEA helps Member States to establish or improve analytical laboratories that can measure environmental radioactivity and pollutants in the oceans. <strong>Identifying Harmful Algal Blooms</strong><br>
The IAEA's Environment Laboratories help countries to understand the impact of ocean acidification on marine species, including commercial fish stocks. Nuclear technology can also help fishing communities to identify harmful algal blooms early and accurately. <strong>Cleaner Environment</strong><br>
In environmental monitoring, nuclear techniques improve our understanding of sources and sinks of pollutants, their transport pathways and their ultimate fate. <strong>Managing Air Quality</strong><br>
The IAEA Technical Cooperation programme helps Member States to fight air pollution and to reduce health risks to the public by studying and identifying the main sources of pollution. <strong>Monitoring Agricultural Pollutants</strong><br>
With IAEA support, Member States can apply nuclear techniques to gather information on soil erosion rates and the source and distribution of agricultural pollutants. <strong>Safety and Security</strong><br>
The IAEA helps Member States build capacities in developing legislative frameworks, regulatory infrastructure, operational safety, safety assessment, management for safety, safety culture, radiation protection for nuclear and non-nuclear applications, waste management and emergency preparedness and response. <strong>Human Health</strong><br>
In health, IAEA Technical Cooperation projects help countries use nuclear techniques to diagnose and treat cancer, cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases, which are increasing rapidly in developing countries. Nuclear techniques are also used to monitor and improve national programmes to combat child malnutrition. <strong>Fighting Cancer</strong><br>
The IAEA works to improve cancer outcomes in low and middle income countries, helping to establish or modernize radiotherapy facilities, brachytherapy services and education programmes. In partnership with WHO, the IAEA's Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) helps countries to assess their cancer burden and develop comprehensive national cancer control programmes. <strong>Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)</strong><br>
The Technical Cooperation programme helps Member States to build capacity to design and evaluate programmes for the prevention and control of NCDs such as heart disease and diabetes - for example, interventions to promote physical activity in school children. <strong>Nutrition</strong><br>
Stable isotope techniques are used to develop and evaluate nutrition interventions that address childhood malnutrition. The IAEA supports the use of stable isotope techniques to monitor and evaluate breastfeeding programmes in support of WHO recommendations. <strong>Nuclear Medicine</strong><br>
The IAEA, through its Technical Cooperation projects, helps promote the introduction and strengthening of the clinical applications of nuclear medicine and diagnostic imaging techniques, for early and accurate diagnosis and treatment of diseases. <strong>Ensuring Quality in Nuclear Medicine</strong><br>
The IAEA supports quality audits in nuclear medicine, diagnostic radiology and radiation oncology through a combination of tools and guidance for self-auditing and also facilitates external audits when requested. <strong>Waste Management</strong><br>
The IAEA promotes the safe management of radioactive waste by fostering a global safety regime through the development of safety standards and by promoting the application of safe and proven technologies in radioactive waste management. <strong>Radiation Technology</strong><br>
Through the Technical Cooperation programme, the IAEA helps countries to apply radiation technology to address a wide range of development challenges. Radiation technology is used in radiopharmaceutical production, materials processing and analysis, as well as in non-destructive testing, flue gas scrubbing and effluent cleanup. <strong>Research Reactors</strong><br>
The IAEA supports the safe management and effective utilization of national research reactors. These important facilities offer numerous products and services for many sectors such as agriculture, environment, energy, industry, medicine and science, including education and training. <strong>Accelerator Applications</strong><br>
The IAEA helps Member States to set up ion accelerator research centres and laboratories and supports capacity-building. Accelerators can be applied in many fields, including art and archaeology, the environment, materials science and agriculture. <strong>Energy Planning</strong><br>
Access to affordable energy is essential for development. The IAEA helps countries to plan for their energy needs, independent from their interest in or the use of nuclear power in their energy mix. Its "3E analysis" connects the drivers for development: energy, economics, environment. <strong>Nuclear Power</strong><br>
For countries introducing or already using nuclear power, the IAEA helps them to do so safely, securely, economically and sustainably. It publishes standards and guidelines, and deploys review missions to help States prepare a sound infrastructure for nuclear power generation, or to look into their practices for increased safety and efficiency, if they are already using it. (Photo: CNNC)