Atomic Mysteries Essay

1360 words - 5 pages

Nuclear technology: a mysterious frontier in scientific advancement that has enraptured spectators worldwide. As the influence of nuclear technology expanded, nations implemented policies to address its usage. The Atoms for Peace program contributed significantly to the conception of these policies. This program’s inception represented a turning point in international cooperation. From Atoms for Peace arose the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the spread of nuclear energy, the technology’s risky dual use, and the rise of conflicts over Iran’s highly controversial nuclear program. The effects of the Atoms for Peace program play roles even in international affairs of the present.
Allowing a fundamental reversal in the world’s cooperation framework, Atoms for Peace originated in the midst of America’s dogged resistance from sharing nuclear technology. During this time President Truman urged citizens to “constitute [Americans] trustees of this new force” to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. With its 1946 Atomic Energy Act, the United States shut off its nuclear knowledge from the rest of the world; however, other countries began gaining the ability to establish nuclear facilities. In particular the Soviet Union’s rising nuclear influence loomed as a massive threat to American interests. This risk pressured the United States into promoting, as President Eisenhower emphasized, “the peaceful...efficient and economic usage” of nuclear technology. This would necessitate assistance in the initiation of nuclear programs for other countries to prevent highly destructive nuclear warfare against which no nation could defend. On December 8, 1953, President Eisenhower delivered his monumental “Atoms for Peace” speech to United Nations leaders, launching the Atoms for Peace program with the purposes of eliminating hostile usage of atomic technology and reasserting American intentions for peace (Lavoy). Thus Atoms for Peace introduced a new era of nuclear cooperation.
For the sake of this new cooperation, governments were encouraged in Eisenhower’s speech to “make…contributions…to an international atomic energy agency” to promote peace. The IAEA was established as a transnational nuclear management system that would regulate the secure distribution of nuclear materials (Lavoy). This United Nations-affiliated agency has evolved into an organization with defined responsibilities and powers to address this end while continuing to maintain its original objective of solidifying worldwide collaboration. Today the IAEA primarily promotes nuclear technologies as valuable energy opportunities that must be used properly and, most importantly, safely. The agency delineates nuclear safety standards in order to shield both humans and the environment from the dangers of nuclear energy exploitation. The IAEA ensures that states can access nuclear energy assistance. Simultaneously, it inspects various nuclear programs to ensure that all...

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