Gulf nuclear energy infrastructure institute launched

4 March 2011

The US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the US State Department have announced the creation of a new Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute (GNEII) at the Khalifa University of Science, Technology, and Research in Abu Dhabi. The Institute will strengthen nuclear energy security, safeguards, and safety infrastructure development throughout the Persian Gulf.

The announcement comes after US President Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget request, which includes $53 million to support nuclear safeguards and security and the development of infrastructure, like GNEII, to sustain and strengthen the international safeguards system.

"Creating strong international partnerships that promote a culture of safety, security and safeguards and provide future decision-makers with expert training in nonproliferation is an important part of implementing the President's nuclear security agenda,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington.

NNSA, along with the U.S. Department of State, Sandia National Laboratories, Texas A&M University, Khalifa University, and local partners in the United Arab Emirates launched GNEII in response to the Gulf region’s growing interest and investment in nuclear power.

The United States and United Arab Emirates formalized this initiative by signing a letter of intent on March 17, 2010, to develop the GNEII curriculum, training facilities, and plans for achieving self-sufficiency within five years.

GNEII initially will be open to participants from three Emirati nuclear-related organizations but will expand to the other five Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia) next year. It will provide both classroom instruction and hands-on experience to strengthen regional nuclear energy security, safeguards, and safety infrastructure.

GNEII was developed with NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security (NIS) which works to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by strengthening the nonproliferation, nuclear security and arms control regimes. NIS provides leadership in the formulation and implementation of U.S. nonproliferation, nuclear security, and arms control strategies. NIS draws on and contributes to a wide range of technical resources within the U.S. National Laboratory complex, working in concert with international organizations and more than 70 countries.

President Obama requested $161.8 million for NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security, an increase of 3.8 percent over the FY 2011 budget request.

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