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The UAE’s main objective in embarking on a nuclear programme is to use nuclear power for electricity production s and ensure that it is implemented in a safe and secure manner. To this end, the UAE is laying the foundation for a sustainable national infrastructure to render governmental, legal, regulatory, managerial, technological, human and industrial support for the nuclear programme throughout its life cycle. The UAE recognizes compliance with international obligations, internationally accepted nuclear safety standards, and security guidelines and safeguards requirements, which are essential for establishing a responsible nuclear power programme. The UAE has concluded all major international agreements in the areas of nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear safety and security.
UAE formally established an independent nuclear safety regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) in September 2009. In December of that year, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) was established as a commercial entity responsible for deployment and operation of nuclear power plants in the UAE.
In September 2009, Federal Law Decree No.6 of 2009, the “Nuclear Law” was issued providing for the development of a comprehensive system for licensing and control of nuclear material, as well as the official establishment of FANR to oversee the UAE’s nuclear energy sector in the area of safety, security, and safeguards.
Nuclear Power Plant Project
ENEC has since selected a construction site for its first nuclear power plant, and has chosen a prime contractor to design, construct, and jointly operate future nuclear plants.
On 27 December 2009, ENEC announced that it had selected a team led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) to design, build, and jointly operate civil nuclear power plants for the UAE’s nuclear energy programme. Through this consortium with KEPCO, the team will design, build, and jointly operate four 1,400 megawatts civil nuclear power units. The first of the four units is scheduled, pending regulatory approvals, to begin providing electricity to the grid in 2017, with the three later units to be completed by 2020.
Nuclear Infrastructure Programme Developments
UAE is progressing rapidly in the establishment of its required nuclear infrastructure and in accordance with IAEA guidance and international best practices in the areas of nuclear safety, nuclear security, non-proliferation, safeguards and nuclear liability. Consistent with the UAE’s transparent approach, and upon UAE request, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducts peer review missions to assess the development of required nuclear infrastructure. The outcomes of the missions concluded thus far have been positive and demonstrated the UAE’s responsible approach in following IAEA guidance. The following are examples of IAEA peer review missions conducted in the UAE in relation to infrastructure development.
IAEA Peer Review Missions to the UAE
The UAE follows recommendations of the IAEA in the development of its required nuclear infrastructure. To evaluate and strengthen its national infrastructure, the UAE has made extensive use of international peer review services offered by the IAEA. Since the deployment of it nuclear energy programme, the UAE has benefited from a number of the Agency’s peer review missions, including the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission, the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, the Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) Service, the IAEA Safeguards Advisory Service (ISSAS) mission, the International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) and the Education and Training Appraisal (EduTA), which assessed the nuclear infrastructure in the country.
International Advisory Board
Another step toward ensuring transparency and adequacy of nuclear infrastructure development was to establish a mechanism for independent evaluation of UAE progress across the nuclear sector. In this regard, the UAE has established an International Advisory Board (IAB), which meets twice a year to review the overall programme progress. The IAB is the advisory body composed of internationally recognized experts. IAB’s mission is to review the progress toward achieving and maintaining the highest standards of safety, security, non-proliferation, transparency, and sustainability in the UAE's programme. IAB publishes its reports twice a year and makes them public.
"The UAE has been cooperating closely with the IAEA on developing a national nuclear power programme and has generally followed IAEA guidance, as documented in the IAEA publication "Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power".
~ Anne Starz, Acting Section Head for Nuclear Infrastructure Development of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy
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IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission to UAE, Abu Dhabi, January 2011
IAEA International Regulatory Review Services Mission to UAE, Abu Dhabi, December 2011
In 2011, UAE hosted INIR mission to review the country’s progress in developing an appropriate national infrastructure for nuclear power
In 2011, the IAEA reviewed UAE’s regulatory framework for nuclear safety, as implemented by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) >> Read more