Monday 28 November 2022 - 9:16:04 am

UAE, IAEA cooperation a cornerstone in ensuring sustainability of UAE Nuclear Energy Programme

ABU DHABI, 16th December, 2021 (WAM) -- The UAE is hosting, this week, the official visit of the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, who is touring the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant among other sites in his planned schedule.

Being a newcomer nuclear country, the UAE has in 2020 become the first Arab country to operate a nuclear power plant, under the visionary direction of the UAE leadership. It currently has four units at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. The first unit is commercially operated and delivers electricity to the national grid. The second unit is undergoing a testing phase. The third unit construction is complete, and the fourth unit construction rate is 91 percent.

Since 1976, the UAE has had a robust collaboration with the IAEA in nuclear and non-nuclear power aspects. In 2008, the UAE-IAEA relationship was strengthened further when the UAE launched its Policy on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy (known as Nuclear Policy).

The IAEA has guided the development of the national nuclear infrastructure where the UAE received 12 IAEA-led missions covering nuclear safety, nuclear security, radiation protection, emergency preparedness, capacity building, legal and regulatory systems, and nuclear non-proliferation.

"It was very impressive to visit Barakah and see first-hand what the UAE has achieved over the past decade in becoming the first Arab country to build and operate a nuclear power plant. The UAE’s 100 percent commitment to introducing a peaceful nuclear power programme safely and securely can serve as a model for other countries considering this clean energy source to help ensure sustainable prosperity for their people. As with other member states introducing or expanding their existing nuclear energy programmes, the IAEA has worked closely with the UAE to help it turn this vision into reality," said Rafael Grossi, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"The visit of the IAEA’s Director-General to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant and other key institutions is an important endorsement for the UAE being a role model country for nuclear newcomers in building and operating a nuclear power plant," said Hamad Al Kaabi, Ambassador and Resident Representative of the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the IAEA.

Accompanied by Al Kaabi, Grossi visited the headquarters of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) where he toured the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and was briefed about the UAE’s emergency preparedness and response system to address nuclear or radiological emergencies. During his visit, he met with FANR’s young Emirati engineers, with whom he shared his career insights. In addition, he saw the latest innovative regulatory inspection practices at FANR.

The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) employs over 245 employees, with the emiratisation rate at 72 percent. FANR has supported the UAE government goals to be among the top 25 countries achieving gender balance by 2021. It achieved significant strides in empowering women by adopting its Gender Balance Strategy, and currently, women represent 42 percent of the workforce and hold 50 percent of leadership positions. In addition, 39 female engineers and young people represent 44 percent of the total workforce.

Following the UAE’s National Agenda goals, FANR’s Research and Development contributed significantly to building and maintaining high levels of nuclear and radiation safety knowledge. FANR’s R&D Policy helped attract and support Emiratis in scientific research, leading to publishing 79 papers by its employees in conferences and sponsoring 24 employees in specialised nuclear-related research.

This month, the UAE and IAEA have signed the UAE’s Country Programme Framework (CPF) for the period 2021 to 2027. A CPF is the frame of reference for the medium-term planning of technical cooperation between a Member State and the IAEA. It identifies priority areas where the transfer of nuclear technology and technical cooperation resources will be directed to support national development goals. The 2021-2027 CPF identifies four priority areas: nuclear energy and infrastructure; nuclear and radiation safety and security; human health; and, finally, food and agriculture.


WAM/Esraa Ismail/Amjad Saleh