UAE publishes nuclear progress report

9 February 2011

The UAE's nuclear programme is progressing well but must address nuclear fuel supply and disposal, and protection of facilities, a Government review board reported on 8 February.

The first six monthly report of the International Advisory Board (IAB) is a key milestone as Abu Dhabi works to develop the legal framework and to build the first of four reactors in the town of Braka 300km west of the capital on the Gulf coast.

The report follows extensive meetings conducted between the IAB members and UAE entities operating in the nuclear energy sectors including the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).

Chaired by Dr Hans Blix, the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and UN weapons inspector, the IAB’s report assesses the progress of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program and reflects the IAB’s views on the performance of the program in the five key areas of safety, security, non-proliferation, transparency and sustainability. It also provides recommendations for potential strategies to improve and strengthen the programme.

Highlights of the IAB findings include:

· An assessment that the UAE is committed to make nuclear safety the highest priority in the establishment of FANR and ENEC, including a clear division in the roles and responsibilities of these two entities.

· With regard to FANR, the IAB found strong evidence of commitment to regulatory independence and competence, including legal provision designed to insulate regulatory decision makers from outside pressure.

· In relation to ENEC, the IAB found a serious commitment to the establishment of a strong safety culture as well as indications that the ENEC management fully understands both the importance and the complexity of this undertaking.

· In relation to transparency, the IAB recognized the establishment of the IAB, as well as the decision to give the public access to the IAB’s reports as a particularly forward thinking step to assure transparency.

“I am very pleased that our report is made public in line with the policy of openness of the UAE Government. My colleagues and I wholeheartedly support the Government’s determination to use nuclear power on a large scale for a clean and sustainable generation of electricity. Our comments and recommendations are offered to assist the Government ensuring safety, non-proliferation and transparency.” Dr. Hans Blix, the IAB Chairman said in a statement.

The IAB urged the acceleration of ongoing efforts to put in place a comprehensive legislative framework to govern the import and export of nuclear materials, equipment and technology, as well as to develop and implement a nuclear liability regime consistent with existing standards embodied in arrangements such as the Vienna Convention on Nuclear Liability.

In January 2010 a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) beat GE Hitachi and Areva to win a USD20 billion tender to build four APR1400 nuclear power reactors in the United Arab Emirates. The first of the four 1,400MW units is scheduled to begin providing electricity to the grid in 2017, with the three later units being completed by 2020. No sites have yet been named for the reactors. ENEC filed the construction license application for Braka Units 1 and 2 with the United Arab Emirates Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation in January 2011.The UAE's nuclear programme is progressing well but must address nuclear fuel supply and disposal, and protection of facilities, a Government review board reported on 8 February.

The first six montjy report of the International Advisory Board (IAB) is a key milestone as Abu Dhabi works to develop the legal framework and to build the first of four reactors in the town of Braka, about 300km south of the capital on the Gulf coast.

The report follows extensive meetings conducted between the IAB members and UAE entities operating in the nuclear energy sectors, such as the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).

Chaired by Dr Hans Blix, the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and UN weapons inspector, the IAB’s report assesses the progress of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program and reflects the IAB’s views on the performance of the program in the five key areas of safety, security, non-proliferation, transparency and sustainability. It also provides recommendations for potential strategies to improve and strengthen the programme.

Highlights of the IAB findings include:

· An assessment that the UAE was committed to make nuclear safety the highest priority in the establishment of FANR and ENEC, including a clear division in the roles and responsibilities of these two entities.

· With regard to FANR, the IAB found strong evidence of commitment to regulatory independence and competence, including legal provision designed to insulate regulatory decision makers from outside pressure.

· In relation to ENEC, the IAB found a serious commitment to the establishment of a strong safety culture as well as indications that the ENEC management fully understands both the importance and the complexity of this undertaking.

· In relation to transparency, the IAB recognized the establishment of the IAB, as well as the decision to give the public access to the IAB’s reports as a particularly forward thinking step to assure transparency.

“I am very pleased that our report is made public in line with the policy of openness of the UAE Government. My colleagues and I wholeheartedly support the Government’s determination to use nuclear power on a large scale for a clean and sustainable generation of electricity. Our comments and recommendations are offered to assist the Government ensuring safety, non-proliferation and transparency.” Dr. Hans Blix, the IAB Chairman said in a statement.

The IAB urged the acceleration of ongoing efforts to put in place a comprehensive legislative framework to govern the import and export of nuclear materials, equipment and technology, as well as to develop and implement a nuclear liability regime consistent with existing standards embodied in arrangements such as the Vienna Convention on Nuclear Liability.

In January 2010 a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) beat GE Hitachi and Areva to win a USD20 billion tender for four APR1400 nuclear power reactors in the United Arab Emirates. The first of the four 1,400MW units is scheduled to begin providing electricity to the grid in 2017, with the three later units being completed by 2020. No sites have yet been named for the reactors. ENEC filed the construction license application for Braka Units 1 and 2 with the United Arab Emirates Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation in January 2011.




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