The International Atomic Energy Agency and its head Mohamed ElBaradei have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The agency and ElBaradei were given the award for their efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to new states and terrorists, and to ensure safe civilian use of nuclear energy.
At the agency’s headquarters in Vienna, ElBaradei said: “I think the prize recognise the danger we are facing today and that is the threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons, the continuing existence of thousands of nuclear weapons, and the prospect of nuclear terrorism. The committee recognizes that these dangers and others will only be resolved through the broadest possible international cooporation.”
The prize committee described ElBaradei as an “unafraid advocate” of measures to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation.
The IAEA and its head had been favourites to win and were chosen from a record field of 199 candidates.
At the agency’s headquarters in Vienna staff were clearly delighted. The Nobel Committee said the world had achieved little to abolish nuclear weapons. It hoped the award would spur ban-the-bomb work on the 60th anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.