United Arab Emirates

(Updated 2020)


This report provides information on the status and development of nuclear power programmes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including factors related to the effective planning, decision making and implementation of the nuclear power programme that together lead to safe and economical operations of nuclear power plants.

The Country Nuclear Power Profile (CNPP) summarizes organizational and industrial aspects of nuclear power programmes and provides information about the relevant legislative, regulatory and international framework in the UAE.

The UAE is in the final stages of developing its first nuclear power programme, with the celebration of Unit 1 construction completion on March 2018, and the successful completion of fuel load in March 2020. Overall completion of the four units of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) stands at 94% as of May 2020.



The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has the world’s seventh largest proven oil reserves(1) and the sixth(2) largest natural gas reserves, making the country a critical partner and responsible supplier in global energy markets. Although a mainstay in the economy, oil exports account for about 25% of the UAE’s gross domestic product, as a result of government policies designed to diversify the UAE economy. However, domestic energy consumption has continued to rise steadily with all electricity production and water desalination being generated by thermal plants, which has resulted in the UAE becoming a net importer of natural gas since 2008.

1.1.1. Energy Policy

Each Emirate controls its own oil production and resource development. The UAE’s proven oil reserves were 97.8 billion barrels in 2017(3). Abu Dhabi holds 94% of the UAE’s oil resources or about 92.2 billion barrels. Dubai contains an estimated 4 billion barrels, followed by Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, with 1.5 billion and 500 million barrels of oil, respectively.

The UAE is a net importer of natural gas, and gas exports are primarily to Japan, one of the world’s largest buyers of liquefied gas. 

Economic growth across the UAE has led to massive increases in the demand for electricity. Current estimates indicate that the domestic demand for power is growing by 9% annually. With limitations on how much and how fast conventional energy resources, like natural gas, can be brought to market, as well as concerns about climate change, in 2008, the UAE Government launched a study aimed at identifying alternative means for producing the power needed to fuel its economy.

As a result of this study, the UAE is pursuing a peaceful, civilian nuclear energy programme that upholds the highest standards of safety, security, non-proliferation and operational transparency. The programme can serve as a model for any country that wishes to develop a new peaceful nuclear energy programme.

The “Policy of the United Arab Emirates on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy” was released in April 2008 and outlined a series of commitments, including the decision to forgo domestic enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear fuels. Throughout the development of its nuclear energy programme, the UAE has worked closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Nuclear energy is also considered to be a critical driver for sustainable growth. Through the development of its peaceful nuclear energy programme, the UAE stands to gain from the considerable benefits this new energy source will bring: clean and abundant electricity to power new industries and provide energy security; direct economic growth from a new, high-technology industry; and the development of Emirati talent to ensure a highly skilled and indigenous workforce.(4)

In January 2017, the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, unveiled the UAE Energy Strategy for the next three decades. The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 aims to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50%, thus saving AED 700 billion by 2050. It also seeks to increase consumption efficiency of individuals and corporate entities by 40%. The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 targets 44% solar energy; 38% gas; 12% clean coal; and 6% nuclear energy in the electricity mix. The strategy also aims to reduce electricity and water consumption by 40%.

The new energy strategy will be implemented in three phases. The first phase aims to accelerate efficient consumption of energy, as well as to diversify and secure it. The second phase will find new solutions that integrate with energy and transportation solutions. The third phase will focus on research and development, in addition to innovation and creativity to supply sustainable energy.

1.1.2. Estimated Available Energy


UAE Energy Reserves (as of 2019)
  Fossil Fuels Nuclear Renewable
Solid Liquid Gas Uranium Hydro Solar PV Solar CSP Landfill
Unit Ton Billion Barrel Trillion Cubic Meter     Installed Capacity (MW) Installed Capacity (MW) Installed Capacity (MW)
Total amount in specific units 0 97.8 6.091 Sweihan Solar PV Plant, Abu Dhabi (1,177 MW);
Sheikh Rashid Solar Park, Dubai (413 MW); Masdar City (10 MW); Distributed Solar PV Estimated (50 MW)
Shams 1 (100 MW) 1 MW (Al Qusais Landfill)
Total amount in exajoules (EJ) 0 623.2 204.4
Liquid consists of crude only. It has been converted to energy at 44.2 GJ/tonne. Natural gas has been converted to energy at 950 GJ/million cubic feet.

Reference: UAE Ministry of Energy, May 2019

1.1.3. Energy Statistics


UAE Energy Consumption and Production
Energy Consumption 1971 1980 1990 2000 2005 2010 2015 Compound Annual Growth Rate (2015-1971)
Total 0.04 0.23 0.66 1.04 1.10 1.89 2.22 10%
Solids 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.07 21%
Liquids 0.01 0.12 0.24 0.28 0.35 0.53 0.63 10%
Gases 0.03 0.08 0.37 0.62 0.56 1.02 1.12 9%
Primary Electricity 0.00 0.02 0.05 0.13 0.19 0.30 0.40 9%
Energy Production                
Total 2.21 3.78 4.61 6.38 7.12 7.44 9.61 3%
Solids 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0%
Liquids 2.18 3.51 3.91 4.98 5.30 5.70 7.57 3%
Gases 0.03 0.27 0.70 1.40 1.82 1.74 2.04 10%
Primary Electricity 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0%
Net Import                
Total -2.17 -3.39 -3.40 -4.44 -4.46 -4.10 -5.56 2%
Solids 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.07 21%
Liquids -2.17 -3.30 -3.28 -4.19 -3.93 -4.46 -6.00 2%
Gases 0.00 -0.09 -0.12 -0.25 -0.53 0.33 0.36 -204%

* Energy values are in Exajoules

Reference: UAE Ministry of Energy, April 2019


1.2.1. Electricity System and Decision-Making Process

The electricity sector is controlled by each Emirate rather than at the central federal level (Figure 1).

Figure 1: UAE Electricity Grid

Source: Emirates Water and Electric Company (EWEC)

The Department of Energy – Abu Dhabi (DOE-AD) is responsible for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is responsible for Dubai, with the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) and the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA) providing power to Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah. The Department of Energy accounts for 53% of the federation’s total capacity, followed by DEWA with 29%, while SEWA and FEWA own 11% and 7%, respectively.

The power structure is different for Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and the four Northern Emirates. DEWA is the vertically integrated utility responsible for generation, transmission, system operations, and distribution in Dubai. Sharjah’s vertically integrated power sector is managed by the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority. In the Northern Emirates, a federal-level utility manages the power. Abu Dhabi is the only Emirate that operates on a single buyer model. DOE-AD, a wholly government-owned entity, owns the entities responsible for procuring generation, transmission, system operations, and distribution in Abu Dhabi.


DEWA was set up by a decree by the Ruler of Dubai in 1992. It is responsible for power and water generation, transmission, distribution and supply in the Emirate of Dubai. Figure 2 shows Dubai’s power and water sector structure and institutional framework.

FIG. 2. Power and water sector structure and institutional framework in Dubai.

The Dubai Supreme Council for Energy (DSCE) is responsible for developing policies and strategic planning for the sector. Aspects of strategic planning include securing supply, demand management, and energy efficiency. It was set up in 2009 by a decree of the Ruler of Dubai. Members include DEWA, Dubai Aluminum Company Ltd. (DUBAL), Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), Dubai Supply Authority (DUSUP), Dubai Petroleum Corp., Dubai Nuclear Energy Committee (DNEC), and Dubai Municipality.

Production and Delivery

Most of Dubai’s power generation is fueled by gas. DEWA owns and operates a generation fleet with 10,700 MW capacity, comprising largely both closed and open-cycle gas turbines, and a 413 MW solar park. DEWA buys fuel under a long-term contract with Dolphin Energy Limited, from Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC), and through an LNG import terminal. DEWA owns, operates, and maintains a transmission and distribution network of 34,910 km. It has a water generation fleet, with 470 MIGD capacity, comprising 445 MSF and 25 MIGD RO desalination plants. It plans to add about 280 MIGD RO between 2020 and 2030. DEWA supplies power and water to consumers and charges a tariff for its services.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s single buyer model was set up in 1998 by a decree of the Ruler of Abu Dhabi. The 1998 law established separate but wholly government-owned entities for generation, transmission, distribution, and supply functions. The law provided mechanisms for privatization of these entities. These entities have not been privatized yet; however, there is substantial private investment in new generation through independent power producers (IPPs) and independent water and power producers (IWPPs). In 2018, Abu the Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) and the Abu Dhabi Regulation and Supervision Bureau (RSB) were merged into a single entity called the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DOE-AD). Figure 3 shows Abu Dhabi’s power and water sector structure and institutional framework.

FIG. 3. Power and water sector structure and institutional framework in Abu Dhabi.


As of today, the DOE-AD is responsible for licenses for generation, transmission, distribution, and supply. The DOE-AD sets a maximum allowed revenue for the network businesses. This is based on a cost build-up: the return on their asset base, depreciation and operating expenses. This determines a revenue that the networks should be able to earn.

Production and Delivery

Emirates Electricity and Water Company (EWEC) is the newly formed single buyer with the responsibility to procure sufficient power generation capacity for Abu Dhabi and the four Northern Emirates of Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Umm al Quain. EWEC contracts with IPPs or IWPPs to supply energy and water. Most of the power generation in Abu Dhabi is fueled by gas. EWEC buys gas from Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Dolphin Energy Limited (DEL) under a long-term contract.

Abu Dhabi Transmission and Dispatch Company (TRANSCO) is responsible for owning, operating, planning, and managing Abu Dhabi’s 7,745 km transmission network. TRANSCO is 100 percent owned by DOE-AD. TRANSCO also dispatches power from the IPPs or IWPPs as per the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) signed between these entities and EWEC.

TRANSCO also owns and operates transmission lines and associated sub-stations in Sharjah and the Northern Emirates. It is connected to the northern system of the Gulf Cooperation Council through a double-circuit 400 kV interconnector between Al Silaa in the UAE and Salwa in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The TRANSCO network is also connected with Oman via a 200 kV interconnection capable of transmitting 400 MW.

The Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) and the Al Ain Distribution Company (AADC) are two distribution companies that supply power and water to final consumers in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain (i.e. household and commercial consumers supplied at distribution level). Major industries supplied at transmission level are also treated as being supplied by one of the two distribution companies.

AADC and ADDC own and operate their respective distribution networks and are owned by DOE-AD. AADC and ADDC buy power from EWEC at the bulk supply tariff (BST) determined by EWEC. Power drawn by distribution companies is metered at transmission supply points.


Sharjah’s power and water market are vertically integrated. The Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) is the vertically integrated utility responsible for generation, transmission, distribution, and supply. It was set up by an Emirati decree of 2014. The diagram below (Fig. 4) shows Sharjah’s power sector structure and institutional framework.

FIG. 4. Power sector structure and institutional framework in Sharjah.

The 2014 law empowers SEWA to formulate policies and propose regulations and tariffs for approval by the Executive Council of the Sharjah Emirate.

Most of Sharjah’s power generation comes from gas-fired plants. Sharjah owns a generation fleet with installed capacity 2,597 MW (2017). SEWA buys gas from Dolphin Energy Limited (DEL) under a contract. It also buys gas from the Sharjah National Oil Company (SNOC), a domestic producer in the UAE.

Sharjah’s existing domestic water supply capacity, about 79 MIGD in 2017, comes from desalination (70 MIGD)—RO (25), MSF (23), MED (22) — and well fields (7 MIGD).

The rest of Sharjah’s power and water needs are met through imports from Abu Dhabi. Since 2014, SEWA has been importing 700MW under letter agreements with DOE-AD. The arrangements provide for an additional 300 MW supply over and above the 700 MW limit. Abu Dhabi also supplies Sharjah 17 MIGD of water.

SEWA owns and operates 589 km of the total transmission network in Sharjah, comprising 220 kV and 132 kV lines and sub-stations. TRANSCO owns the rest of the network—specifically the 400 kV lines and sub-stations. SEWA connects to TRANSCO’s network at specified connection points.

SEWA is responsible for distribution and supply to all consumers in Sharjah. It charges a tariff for its services. These tariffs are subject to the Sharjah Emirate Executive Council’s approval.

Northern Emirates

The power and water sectors in the Northern Emirates region are vertically integrated. The Ministry of Electricity and Water set up the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA) under a federal law in 1999 to ensure that the power and water needs in the “Emirates under the Ministry’s domain” are met. In practice, FEWA is responsible for power supply in the Northern Emirates region comprising Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, and Umm Al Quwain. Figure 5 shows the power and water sector structure and the institutional framework in the Northern Emirates.

FIG. 5. Power and water sector structure and institutional framework in the Northern Emirates.

FEWA is empowered to make decisions on policies, tariffs, and regulation. FEWA is governed by a Board headed by the Federal Minister of Energy. However, in 2018, with the formation of EWEC, the planning of power and water infrastructure in the Northern Emirates shall be performed by EWEC. However, FEWA shall still be responsible for the distribution of power and water.

1.2.2. Structure of Electric Power Sector

The grids of the four utilities in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates are connected through the Emirates National Grid (ENG), which amalgamates the generation, transmission and distribution networks of the seven Emirates into a single national grid. The ENG grid is also connected to the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnector via the TRANSCO network.

1.2.3. Main Indicators

Table 3 shows installed capacity, electricity production and consumption in the UAE, and Table 4 contains energy related ratios.


UAE Electricity Production and Consumption (1971-2017)
                  Cumulative Annual Growth Rate
Electricity Production (TWh) 1971 1980 1990 2000 2005 2010 2015 2017 1971-2000 2000-2015
Total 0.20 6.31 17.08 39.94 60.70 93.90 127.39 134.55 20.04% 8.04%
Thermal 0.20 6.31 17.08 39.94 60.70 93.90 127.07 133.85 20.04% 8.02%
Nuclear 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00    
Solar 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.32 0.70    
Coal 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00    
Electricity Consumption (TWh) 1971 1980 1990 2000 2005 2010 2015 2017 1971-2000 2000-2015
Total (TWh) 0.19 5.87 15.54 38.59 56.26 89.59 126.58 129.53 20.11% 8.24%


Energy Related Ratios 1971 1980 1990 2000 2005 2010 2015 2017 1971-2000 2000-2015
Electricity Consumption Per GDP (kWh per kUSD) 172.73 134.64 306.42 369.86 311.52 309.05 353.63 338.35 2.66% -0.30%
Per Population (MWh per Capita) 0.81 5.63 8.35 12.23 13.70 10.83 13.83 13.78 9.83% 0.82%
Energy Consumption Per Capita (GJ/Capita) 169.85 220.65 354.84 329.64 267.87 228.45 242.91 NA 2.31% -2.01%
Electricity Consumption per capita (kWh/capita) 806.80 5631.32 8354.84 12231.67 13700.47 10831.87 13827.49 13779.79 9.83% 0.82%
Electricity Production per Energy Production (%) 0.03% 0.60% 1.33% 2.25% 3.07% 4.54% 4.77% NA 15.73% 5.13%
Nuclear/Total Electricity (%) 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Socio Economic Parameters 1971 1980 1990 2000 2005 2010 2015 2017 1971-2000 2000-2015
Population, total 235,499 1,042,384 1,860,000 3,154,925 4,106,427 8,270,684 9,154,302 9,400,000 9.36% 7.36%
GDP (current US$) 1,100,000,000 43,598,748,449 50,715,000,000 104,337,372,362 180,600,000,000 289,880,430,197 357,949,199,755 382,830,000,000 17.00% 8.57%
The GDP and Population numbers were obtained from UAE Federal Statistics Authority and World Data Bank.
The latest electricity production and consumption have been obtained from Ministry of Energy and Industry Annual Statistics Report.

Reference: UAE Ministry of Energy, May 2019


2.1. Historical Development and Current Organizational Structure

2.1.1. Overview

The decision to develop a peaceful civilian nuclear energy programme was based on an in-depth evaluation of the UAE’s future energy needs. An initial study determined that national annual peak demand for electricity was likely to rise to more than 40,000 megawatts by 2020, reflecting a cumulative annual growth rate of about 9%, starting from 2007. This was later revised to around 4% per annum. Even with these adjustments to account for the worldwide economic slowdown, the projected demand was beyond current capacity.

The UAE therefore conducted a thorough study in 2007 to assess the available technologies for electricity generation to meet this demand. The results were wide-ranging and determined that:

  • Natural gas that could be made available to the nation's electricity sector would be insufficient to meet future demand. 

  • The burning of liquids (crude oil and/or diesel) would be logistically viable but costly and environmentally harmful.

  • Coal-fired power generation, while potentially cheaper, would be environmentally unacceptable and potentially vulnerable from a security of supply standpoint.

  • And finally, deployment of renewable and other alternative energy supplies, while desirable, would be able to supply only 6 to 7% of the required electricity generation capacity by 2020.

As previously highlighted, in developing its nuclear energy policy, the UAE Government made its peaceful objectives unambiguous. A policy document entitledPolicy of the United Arab Emirates on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy, released in April 2008, outlined a series of strategies and commitments:

  • The UAE is committed to complete operational transparency.

  • The UAE is committed to pursuing the highest standards of non-proliferation.

  • The UAE is committed to the highest standards of safety and security.

  • The UAE will work directly with the IAEA and conform to its standards in evaluating and potentially establishing a peaceful nuclear energy programme.

  • The UAE hopes to develop any peaceful domestic nuclear energy capability in partnership with the governments and firms of responsible nations, as well as with the assistance of appropriate expert organizations.

  • The UAE will approach any peaceful domestic nuclear energy programme in a manner that best ensures long-term sustainability.

These policies are enshrined in a number of mechanisms, including the Federal Law by Decree No 6 of 2009, Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy?, otherwise known as the Nuclear Law.

The UAE Nuclear Law takes into account all obligations and commitments that stem from international instruments and obligations. The UAE views the application of a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, bolstered by the IAEA Additional Protocol, as an important component of its model for the adoption of peaceful nuclear energy, and as being consistent with its commitment to complete operational transparency and the highest standards of non-proliferation.

The UAE signed a number of agreements for cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear energy with numerous countries, including France, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Other cooperation agreements have been concluded with Argentina, Australia, Canada, Japan and the Russian Federation.

2.1.2. Current Organizational Structure

The key entities implementing the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme include:

Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR)
The independent federal regulatory authority charged with the regulation and licensing of all nuclear-related activities in the UAE, with public safety as its primary objective.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC)

A corporation, wholly-owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, charged with developing, building, financing, operating, managing and owning nuclear reactors for the peaceful purpose of energy generation. One of ENEC’s responsibilities – among others – has been to partner with a primary contractor for the construction of UAE nuclear power plants. A Joint Venture formed with KEPCO (as detailed below) resulted in the creation of two subsidiaries to manage the financing and operations of the Barakah NPP.
Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO)
Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) was appointed as a Prime Contractor in December 2009. In October 2016, ENEC established a joint venture partnership with KEPCO. ENEC and KEPCO also announced the establishment of Barakah One Company PJSC, an independent subsidiary owned by both companies, which represents the commercial and financial interests of the Barakah project. As part of the JV Agreement, Nawah Energy Company (Nawah) was formed to operate and maintain the Barakah NPP. Under the JV, KEPCO has an 18% stake in Barakah One Company, with ENEC as the majority owner of the remaining 82%. Under the agreement, KEPCO has an 18% stake in Nawah and ENEC remains the majority owner, with 82% ownership of the company.
Nawah Energy Company (Nawah)
Nawah was established in May 2016 as the entity mandated to operate and maintain Barakah Units 1 to 4. Nawah will generate 5,300 megawatts of energy in a phased approach from 2020 onwards, making up about 25% of the UAE’s electricity demand.
Barakah One Company
Barakah One Company was established in 2016 as the entity mandated to manage the commercial interests of the Barakah project, secure project finance from institutional and commercial lenders and receive funds for the electricity generated from Units 1 to 4 in Barakah.

2.2. Nuclear Power Plants: Overview

2.2.1. Status and Performance of Nuclear Power Plants

Table 5 shows the status of the UAE’s nuclear power plants.


Reactor Unit Type Net
Status Operator Reactor
First Grid
BARAKAH-1 PWR 1400 Construction Completed NAWAH KEPCO 19-07-2012 1 August 2020 Not Announced
BARAKAH-2 PWR 1400 Construction Completed NAWAH KEPCO 16-04-2013 Not Announced
BARAKAH-3 PWR 1400 Under Construction NAWAH KEPCO 24-09-2014 Not Announced
BARAKAH-4 PWR 1400 Under Construction NAWAH KEPCO 30-07-2015 Not Announced

As of May 2020, the Barakah NPP overall completion is 94% (Fig. 6). Individually, Unit 1 construction is now completed and the nuclear fuel is loaded inside the reactor; Unit 2 construction is completed; Unit 3 is at 92%; and Unit 4 is at 85%. On 1 August 2020, Unit 1 reached criticality and successfully started-up, symbolizing the first nuclear power plant to operate in the Arab world.

2.2.2. Plant Upgrading, Plant Life Management and License Renewals

The UAE was entering the third year of its development of a nuclear power programme when the accident at Fukushima Daiichi occurred in 2011, and in response, the country’s own nuclear entities took swift action to implement additional measures in light of the lessons that initially arose from the accident. These early lessons learned were incorporated into the UAE’s Construction License Application (CLA) for Units 1 and 2, which had been submitted in December 2010. To ensure that the Units would be constructed under the most robust safety framework, a team of over 60 FANR staff members and three international consulting firms reviewed the license application, taking into consideration the changes that resulted from the Fukushima accident.

As a supplement to the CLA, ENEC conducted a comprehensive safety assessment (requested by FANR) entitled “Safety Assessment Report for Barakah Nuclear Power Plants (Lessons Learned) from the Fukushima Accident”, which was submitted to FANR in December 2011. Resulting from its assessment, ENEC identified specific features that could be modified in order to increase the robustness of the UAE’s Barakah site and overall programme. The UAE was focused on preventing or otherwise being able to effectively handle possible consequences of hazardous natural consequences, and thus targeted the robustness of the units, particularly mitigating station blackout and loss of ultimate heat sink events. Particular measures that were pinpointed in this regard include:

? Provision of a diverse protection system to initiate scram and auxiliary feedwater

? Diverse, accurate and redundant instrumentation

? Design of shutdown cooling taking into account two independent and redundant suction lines and interchangeability of the containment spray pumps

? Steam generator nozzle dam integrity

? Alternative methods for water addition and decay heat removal

? Alternate AC diesel generator

? Two turbine-driven auxiliary feed-water pumps

? Physical separation of redundant systems and components required for safe reactor shutdown and decay heat removal

? Provision of fire protection features such as fire detection, automatic and manual fire suppression and fixed fire barriers

2.2.3. Permanent Shutdown and Decommissioning Process

Not applicable.

2.3. Future Development of Nuclear Power Sector

2.3.1. Nuclear Power Development Strategy

On 27 December 2009, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced that it had selected a team led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) to design, build and help operate civil nuclear energy plants for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme.

Currently, construction of the Barakah NPP is well underway in Al Dhafra Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, approximately 53 km west-southwest of the city of Ruwais. Barakah comprises four APR-1400 units under simultaneous construction. Construction of Unit 1 commenced in 2012. Once all four units are operational, they will deliver up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs from carbon-free nuclear energy.

In May 2017, ENEC and KEPCO completed the handover of Unit 1 systems to KHNP (Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of KEPCO) for commissioning, marking the end of the initial construction activities for the first of four units of the Barakah Project. Nawah received the Operating License for Unit 1 from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) in February 2020 and fuel load was successfully completed in March 2020.

ENEC’s four identical reactors are based on KEPCO’s APR1400, a Generation III+1400 Megawatt nuclear energy reactor with evolutionary improvements in safety, performance, and environmental impact. A certificate for the standard design approval was issued for the APR1400 by the Korean regulatory authority, the Korean Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS), in 2002. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the United States issued the design certification for the APR1400 in 2019.

The first of the APR1400 units are Shin-Kori Unit 3 (operational in December 2016) and Unit 4 (operational in August 2019) in the Republic of Korea, having obtained a Construction Permit KINS. The first UAE Nuclear Power Plant will be the fifth unit of the APR1400 reactor fleet in the world, and the Shin-Kori plants will serve as the “reference plants” for the UAE programme.

As a Generation III+ reactor, the APR1400 has been designed to meet heightened safety goals developed in accordance with the latest international safety standards. The APR1400 design incorporates more than 30 years of operational learning and features enhancements in safety, reliability and efficiency.

The contract with KEPCO calls for extensive training, human resource development and education programmes, as the UAE builds the capacity to eventually staff the majority of its nuclear energy programme with national talent, developing the industrial infrastructure.

The UAE’s policy surrounding front-end and back-end nuclear fuel cycle complies with the guidelines established by the IAEA. The UAE’s nuclear energy policy is committed to non-proliferation, and therefore outlines its decision to forgo domestic enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear fuel. The UAE furthermore capitalizes on adherence to nuclear safety and has become a member of relevant international conventions in this scope.


Reactor Unit/ Project Name Owner Type Capacity (MWe) Expected Construction Start Year Expected Commercial Year
BARAKAH 1-4 ENEC/Nawah PWR 5,600 Construction started in July 2012 Not announced

Given the growth in electricity demand projected for the United Arab Emirates, it is possible that additional units beyond the original four will be procured in the future as the UAE expands its fleet of civil nuclear power plants.

2.3.2. Project Management

Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR)

On 24 September 2009, FANR was established, following the Federal Law by Decree No. 6 of 2009, Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (the Nuclear Law). FANR is an independent federal regulatory authority, responsible for ensuring long-term safety, security and sustainability in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and ionizing radiation in the UAE. It does so through establishing world-class regulations and supervising their implementation.

For that purpose, FANR is responsible for developing and enforcing binding safety standards and regulations, guidelines and safeguards that ensure nuclear safety, nuclear security, non-proliferation and radiation protection.

The key tasks of the Authority are:

  1. Issuing regulations and guides for safety, security and safeguards

  2. Issuing licenses to conduct regulated activities

  3. Carrying out review and assessment of license applications against requirements for safety, security and safeguards

  4. Carrying out inspections and enforcement

  5. Establishing and maintaining the State system of accounting for and control of nuclear material

  6. Establishing frameworks for physical protection, emergency preparedness and response for nuclear facilities and activities

  7. Determining civil and criminal penalties for any violations of the Nuclear Law

  8. Implementing capacity-building strategies to ensure sustainability

  9. Carrying out appropriate oversight of the obligations under the international treaties, conventions and agreements in the nuclear sector entered into by the UAE.

Under UAE Nuclear Law, FANR is the body in charge of the issuance, revocation and suspension of licenses for regulated nuclear activities in the UAE. However, each licensee is accountable for taking all steps necessary to reduce the risk of an accident to a level that is as low as reasonably possible.

FANR is also responsible for inspection and control, investigating any breaches of the UAE Nuclear Law and imposing penalties in such cases. It operates with high standards of transparency and facilitates public access to information pertaining to its activities.

To achieve its goals of nuclear safety and security, FANR also cooperates with relevant government bodies and international organizations in the areas of: environmental protection, public and occupational health, emergency planning and preparedness, radioactive wastes, public liability, physical protection and safeguards, water and food consumption, land use and planning and safety in the transport of dangerous goods.

FANR is managed by a Board of Management comprised of seven members who are appointed by a resolution of the UAE Cabinet. It is chaired by H.E. Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi, with H.E. Ambassador Hamad Alkaabi as Deputy Chairman(5).

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC)

On 23 December 2009, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) was established by Abu Dhabi decree, issued by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. ENEC is the owner organization in charge of implementing the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme.

ENEC’s main responsibilities are:

  1. Contracting and constructing UAE nuclear power plants.

  2. Working with Abu Dhabi and the Federal Government to ensure that the nuclear energy programme is aligned with industrial and infrastructure plans for the UAE (community development, roads, utility, telecommunication projects, etc.).

  3. Building human resource capacity for the nuclear energy programme in parallel with the educational sector in the UAE (cooperation with other stakeholders including Khalifa University and the Institute of Applied Technology).

  4. Developing public communications and education programmes to ensure that UAE residents understand the nuclear energy programme.

ENEC is the majority owner of Barakah One Company, which manages the financial and commercial interests of the Barakah Power Energy Plant, and Nawah Energy Company which is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the plant.

ENEC’s work and activities are subject to the oversight and regulation of FANR, the independent nuclear regulator.(6)

Nawah Energy Company (Nawah)

Nawah Energy Company was established in 2016 with the purpose of operating and maintaining Units 1 to 4 at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. Nawah serves as the world’s newest nuclear operator and plans to generate 5,600 MW of energy once the four Barakah Units go into operation.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO)

The Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) is the largest public power electric utility in South Korea and was awarded the Prime Contract in 2009 to design, build and help operate the UAE’s nuclear power plants. The contract also covers extensive training, human resource development and education programmes as the UAE builds its national nuclear capacity.

2.3.3. Project Funding

In October 2016, ENEC and KEPCO announced the formal financial conclusion for the financing of the Barakah NPP project. The fund will be managed by the subsidiary Barakah One PJSC (Barakah One Company).(7) Barakah One Company is mandated to manage the commercial interests of the Barakah project, secure project finance from institutional and commercial lenders and receive funds for the electricity generated from the four units of the Barakah plant.

2.3.4. Electric Grid Development

In accordance with the UAE’s programme schedule for commissioning of its first nuclear power plant (NPP), all infrastructure related to the grid is complete ahead of commissioning of Unit 1. All four units now have the ability to be connected to the grid in advance of operation.

2.3.5. Sites

The initial evaluation selection of potential sites was among the first major milestones to be concluded. On 28 February 2010, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) approved and issued the Site Selection License to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC). At the same time, ENEC presented the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) with the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Non-Nuclear Environmental Impact Assessment (NN-EIA) to reinforce the undertakings outlined in the Site Preparation License.

The Selection Criteria included exclusionary measures such as proximity to population centre, access of cooling water, and the seismic activities. The criteria also took into consideration favourable measures such as proximity to electric grid and infrastructure availability including highways and ports.

Once the UAE-wide siting study was conducted and the final Candidate Sites determined, the UAE undertook site characterization studies to evaluate construction suitability and to pinpoint site-specific design criteria. In parallel, extensive environmental studies were undertaken to yield site-specific and regional data to assess environmental impacts.

As the selection process occurred early on in the UAE’s programme, the UAE sought IAEA guidance, and requested the IAEA to evaluate the country’s criteria of site selection, with the Agency’s review resulting in a positive conclusion.

2.3.6. Public Awareness

The UAE Government has been open with the public about its consideration to pursue nuclear energy from the very beginning, even before the decision to embark on a nuclear energy programme was taken. Ever since, numerous public forums and other events have been held by UAE nuclear stakeholders, through which important features of the UAE’s programme have been introduced and discussed with a wide range of stakeholders. These forums and other activities have been successful in building awareness and bolstering public confidence and acceptance of the national nuclear energy programme.

The UAE continues to enjoy positive public perception of the programme. A national poll on nuclear energy conducted in 2019 demonstrated the below:

  • 91% of residents believed nuclear energy is important for meeting the UAE’s future energy needs, while 90% agree that safety/security is the over-riding priority for the UAE Programme.

  • 82% believed the benefits of nuclear energy outweigh risks.

  • 87% of residents believed it will serve as a model to other countries and 82% believe it has strong international support.

  • 91% of the respondents believed that the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme is using the latest technology and will create jobs and boost the country’s economy.

2.4. Organizations Involved in Construction of NPPs

As Prime Contractor, KEPCO is supplying the full scope of works and services for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme, including engineering, procurement, construction, nuclear fuel and operations and maintenance support, with the assistance of other members of the KEPCO consortium, including Samsung, Hyundai, Doosan Heavy Industries and KEPCO subsidiaries:

  • Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co., Ltd. (KHNP), which will play a key role as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor and operator

  • KEPCO E&C, which will provide the NPP design and engineering service

  • Korea Nuclear Fuel Co., Ltd. (KNF), which will provide the initial load of nuclear fuel

  • Korea Plant Service and Engineering Co., Ltd. (KPS), which will be involved in plant maintenance.

2.5. Organizations Involved in Operation of NPPs

No nuclear power plants are currently in operation in the UAE. FANR granted the Operating License of Unit 1 on 16 February 2020. Fuel loading has been completed in Unit 1 and further testing is in progress. The first unit is scheduled to be operational in 2020.

In 2016, ENEC established Nawah Energy Company (Nawah) as its operating subsidiary. Nawah has been mandated to operate and maintain the UAE’s four Barakah Units, once they are operational. To support Nawah, ENEC and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) signed an Operating Support Services Agreement (OSSA) in July 2016, under which KHNP will provide experienced and qualified nuclear plant personnel to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. The majority of Nawah is owned by ENEC, with KEPCO holding a minority stake.

As part of the OSSA, the Korean company will dedicate over 300 experienced nuclear operators and engineers to the Barakah plant until 2030. This will ensure that ENEC and Nawah have the support of KHNP for the first 10 years of operation of the four units at the Barakah plant. ENEC and Nawah are focused on encouraging and training Emirati personnel in the nuclear field in order to preserve top local knowledge and expertise in the nuclear sector.

In 2019, Nawah signed a Long-Term Maintenance Services Agreement (LTMSA) with KHNP, supported by KEPCO Plant Service & Engineering (KPS). Under the scope of the signed LTMSA contract, KHNP and KPS provides maintenance services to support routine and outrage maintenance activities of the four APR1400 units of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, under the leadership of Nawah and in strict accordance with the UAE’s nuclear energy regulator’s quality and safety standards.

In the same year, Nawah signed a Maintenance Service Agreement (MSA) with Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction (DHIC), a subsidiary of the Doosan Group, for the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. Under the agreement, DHIC provides Nawah with a range of maintenance services and qualified manpower to support routine and outage maintenance activities across the four 1400 MW APR1400 Units at the Barakah NPP.

2.6. Organizations Involved in Decommissioning of NPPs

Not applicable.

2.7. Fuel Cycle Including Waste Management

With regard to nuclear fuel procurement, a portfolio of leading international nuclear fuel suppliers has been contracted to provide a series of nuclear fuel services to cover ENEC’s requirements.

The resulting fuel supply strategy guarantees security of supply, quality assurance of fuel-related materials and competitive commercial terms to protect the interests of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme by providing volume flexibilities and the ability to adapt to changing market conditions.

The following services have been contracted by ENEC:

• Purchase of natural uranium concentrates

• Conversion services (in which uranium concentrates are converted to material ready for enrichment)

• Enrichment services (in which the converted material is enriched to a level that is used in the fuel for NPPs)

• Purchase of enriched uranium product.

The enriched uranium will be supplied to KEPCO Nuclear Fuels (KNF), which will manufacture the fuel assemblies for use in the four planned Barakah units.

A total of six leading companies in the nuclear fuel supply industry participate in the ENEC fuel supply programme: ConverDyn (United States of America) to provide conversion services; Uranium One, Inc. (Canada) to provide natural uranium; URENCO (headquartered in the United Kingdom) to provide enrichment services; and Rio Tinto (headquartered in the United Kingdom) to provide natural uranium. Additionally, TENEX (Russian Federation) will supply uranium concentrates, conversion services and enrichment services, while AREVA (France) will provide uranium concentrates, conversion services and enrichment services.

The UAE is developing and implementing a strategy for the management of all nuclear fuel cycle activities, including the procurement, use, and short- and long-term management of nuclear fuel for its NPPs. The strategy conforms to guidelines established by the International Atomic Energy Agency and will be continuously updated, taking into account new information and technological advances from the nuclear industry during the next decades, before the long-term spent fuel management plan is implemented.

The UAE is establishing the basis for the safe and efficient processing, storage, and disposal of radioactive wastes that will be generated by future NPP operations.

As part of UAE’s nuclear energy policy, the country made the decision to forgo domestic enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear fuel; these are two key elements of the country’s commitment to non-proliferation.

2.8. Research and Development

2.8.1. R&D Organizations

The UAE Government is supportive of establishing a nuclear Research and Development (R&D) programme, especially through expanding partnerships with existing supplier nations.

Central to the UAE’s approach to developing a nuclear energy programme has been the importance of building a qualified workforce for the short- and long- term. ENEC joined the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, the Institute of Applied Technology, FANR and other institutions across the UAE education system, as well as with universities internationally, in order to ensure that there will be a reservoir of talent, both Emirati and expatriate, well into the future. In January 2020, Emirates Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC) was formed as a Collaboration between Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), Khalifa University (KU) and External JV Stakeholders. The main objectives and goals of ENTC is to:

1) Maintain and enhance the national nuclear and radiological technology programmes.

2) Continue to conduct technical analysis of the nuclear technology sector to meet stakeholders developing needs.

3) Developing nuclear technology capabilities in the UAE in order to become an internationally recognized innovator.

4) Scientific research of new nuclear technology approaches and applications which can be incorporated into the national R&D and innovation system.

2.8.2. Development of Advanced Nuclear Power Technologies

Although the UAE anticipates future cooperation to develop advanced nuclear generation systems, no specific programmes are yet underway.

2.8.3. International Co-operation and Initiatives

As a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 1976, the UAE has committed itself to various IAEA strategies on operational transparency, non-proliferation and nuclear safety. The UAE also seeks IAEA technical assistance in the areas of safeguards, physical protection, nuclear safety and liability, as well as in the assessment of potential technology options and appropriate managerial approaches.

Additionally, the UAE has concluded multiple bilateral agreements with other governments for cooperation in the nuclear field, including agreements with France (2008), the United States of America (2009), the Republic of Korea (2009), the United Kingdom (2010), the Russian Federation (2012), Australia (2012), Argentina (2013), and Japan (2013).

The UAE is working through multiple initiatives which aim at deterring terrorists from using the world’s seaports to ship illicit materials. It also focuses on detecting nuclear or radioactive materials if shipped via sea cargo and interdicting harmful shipments. Furthermore, the UAE is a member of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which is aimed at stopping shipments of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials worldwide. The UAE is also a member of the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC), as well as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

FANR continues to cooperate with nuclear regulatory bodies and expert organisations in operating countries (United States of America, France, United Kingdom, Canada, Republic of Korea, Australia, Finland, Spain, China and Belgium). The cooperation covers the exchange of technical information on safety, security and safeguards matters as well as facilitating the exchange of personnel for training purposes.

FANR has sought to cooperate not only bilaterally, but also with international institutions, namely the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). With the IAEA, FANR has either invited or participated in peer review missions that assess the UAE’s adherence to the IAEA’s international standards. FANR has so far received 11 review missions conducted by the IAEA:

  • Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission (INIR) in 2011

  • Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission in 2011

  • Safeguards Advisory Service (ISSAS) Mission in 2014

  • IRRS follow-up review in 2015

  • Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) mission in 2015

  • Occupational Radiation Protection Appraisal Service (ORPAS) in 2015

  • International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) in 2016

  • (pre-) Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) in 2017

  • Education and Appraisal Mission (EduTA) in 2017

  • INIR Phase 3 mission in 2018

  • Emergency Preparedness Review Follow-up Mission (EPREV) in 2019

In conformance with the UAE commitment on nuclear safety and radiation protection, FANR has taken part since 2009 in IAEA Review Meetings on the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.

Furthermore, in November 2015, an Administrative Arrangement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE and the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office was concluded, pursuant to the bilateral agreement between the two Governments previously signed in 2012. This agreement allows for Australian uranium exports to the UAE for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme.

2.9. Human Resources Development (HRD)

The UAE has taken an incremental approach to rapidly building the capabilities needed to successfully execute a nuclear energy programme based on a mix of advisors, support companies and indigenous staff.

Initially, a relatively small group of advisors were engaged to assist in the early planning and development of the HRD programme. Particularly with the establishment of the UAE nuclear regulator (FANR) and the owner/operator (ENEC and subsidiary Nawah), the Government saw the need for enhanced capacity building and human resource development, and thus dedicated funds were allocated and planned for in the early stages of the NPP programme.

Due to the UAE’s small native population, international experts were brought on board to ensure that the project would develop and maintain a professional nuclear cadre. At the national level, a base of technical expertise was brought in from other sectors as fundamental support for the programme. Additionally, extensive efforts were put into launching educational programmes to qualify a large set of young engineers and nuclear-related experts. Following this strategy, FANR, ENEC, and Khalifa University began implementing various steps in order to meet the needs related to their human resource development plans.

The FANR Knowledge Management Programme began in 2011, with the ambition of becoming one of the Nuclear Knowledge Management modules to be followed. The objective of the programme is thus to pool the collective knowledge and experience of FANR in a manner for employees to constantly learn, have a sense of belonging, and contribute to the overall mission of FANR: maintaining the highest standards of nuclear safety, radiation safety, nuclear security, safeguards and human capacity. FANR also identified the following objectives for the Knowledge Management programme:

• Minimize the risk of knowledge loss due to employee mobility.

• Develop harmonized approaches for building the experience that will lead to better nuclear regulations for safe and secure operations.

• Increase the effectiveness and efficiency through availability of knowledge that enhances quality of collaboration and minimizes the impact of rework and repeatable errors.

• Assure sustainability of the UAE nuclear programme through effective nuclear knowledge transfer from one generation to another.

FANR has become a multi-cultural organization which collectively has more than 29 different nationalities distributed across the various departments. Each individual in the organization possesses knowledge that is integral to day-to-day work. As an organization, FANR requests consultant organizations to provide consultations to assist in the implementation of projects and programmes, or to implement them on the basis of the skills and expertise that they can offer.

FANR is adopting an HR strategy that has two tracks: 1) staffing the organisation with senior expatriate to deal with short-medium term needs and 2) development and capacity building to ensure long-term sustainability. Currently FANR has a strong cadre of senior and professionals in nuclear safety and radiation protection. As of January 2019, 67% of the staff is Emirati. Women made up 40% of the total workforce.

A Developee Programme, launched in 2016, is in place and targets Emirati engineers, and physics graduates with the fundamental knowledge necessary to understand technical aspects of nuclear engineering, nuclear regulation and radiation protection. FANR also adopts another career development tools including on-job-training with other nuclear regulators in advanced countries, in-house-training, as well as knowledge management programmes which consist of multiple tools, including the Library and Learning Center, Experts Debriefing Interviews, the creation of the Knowledge Management Department Representatives Group, Integrating Knowledge Management methodologies and activities in FANR processes and procedures, and many others. ENEC has selected a nuclear-experienced managing agent to support its development and solicitation of bids for the nuclear energy programme. Key positions within the organization were filled with experienced nuclear contractors, while other key positions have been supported by nuclear experts. In addition, ENEC was able to tap into the experienced professionals from the UAE’s long-established oil and gas, energy and mega-project industries to build its management ranks. Focusing on national capacity building, ENEC maintained an Emiratization rate of around 60% in 2019 for its employees.

The UAE recognizes the importance of developing indigenous capabilities for the long-term success of its nuclear energy programme. To foster a local nuclear cadre, the UAE has established a nuclear scholarships programme, which will produce engineers to support the staff of the nuclear plant, regulatory staff and educational infrastructure. To date, over a hundred students have studied through ENEC and Nawah scholarships; with over 350 students graduated from an ENEC-sponsored programme.

In keeping with this effort, an extensive relationship between ENEC and the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (KU) in the UAE has been established. KU supports a bachelor’s degree programme in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree programme in nuclear engineering.

Recognizing the near-term need for qualified engineers, relationships with universities with strong nuclear engineering programmes located in the United States of America and the Republic of Korea have also been established to support UAE nuclear scholarships. In June 2014, the UAE’s first group of Local Operators graduated after successfully completing specialized training programmes in the UAE and Republic of Korea, designed to equip the operators with the expertise necessary to oversee safe operations at the UAE’s first NPP.

The UAE has also cooperated with the IAEA in developing its human resource capacity. Since 2010, projects focusing on this area have constituted one of the largest parts of the UAE Technical Cooperation programme with the Agency, both in terms of funding and number of activities.

Additionally, Khalifa University hosted the Nuclear Energy Management (NEM) School, which provides training courses delivered by the IAEA and organized in cooperation with FANR, for students and young professionals from the Asia and Pacific region. Offered in 2012, 2015, and 2017, the courses provided relevant knowledge to ensure a solid nuclear expert foundation, through building leadership skills to manage nuclear energy programmes. Khalifa University, which is an IAEA Collaborating Center since 2018, provides support to activities on nuclear infrastructure development in newcomer countries.

With a further Emirati focus in this area, FANR also participates in the IAEA Steering Committee on Competence of Human Resources for Regulatory Bodies. The UAE has also welcomed and participated in high-level open discussions on the HRD issue, through the hosting of the first of its kind international conference on Human Resources Development in 2010 in Abu Dhabi, and later sharing its experience at the follow-up international conference on HRD in 2014.

In 2019, the UAE reached a major milestone with the certification and licensing of its first Senior Reactor Operators (SROs), Reactor Operators (ROs) and Local Operators (LOs). These individuals have completed a comprehensive training programme, which lasted for three-years and was developed by ENEC and Nawah, according to the regulations set out by FANR. The training programme combines hands-on experience from some of the industry’s leading engineering and nuclear energy experts with a discipline-focused curriculum, to ensure the students enter the UAE’s nuclear energy industry with world-class training. The first group of SROs and ROs had the opportunity to train in the Republic of Korea, the United States of America, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. The total number of certified SROs and ROs is 75, of which three are UAE nationals, and three are females. These first operators will soon be joined by many more qualified individuals to provide a sustainable pipeline of talent for the decades of operations ahead.

2.10. Stakeholder Involvement

In line with the UAE’s policy commitment to complete operational transparency in the development of a peaceful nuclear energy programme, ENEC has developed a comprehensive awareness programme to ensure that the UAE community and the wide range of other stakeholders gain greater understanding of nuclear energy and the aims of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme.

ENEC’s communication programme provides multiple sources for accurate and up-to-date information about the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme and offers multiple channels for stakeholders to put forward any questions or concerns they may have regarding nuclear energy in the UAE.

ENEC’s current activities in this area include:

  1. Nuclear Energy mini-Forums – those forums focus on educating focused groups about nuclear energy and the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme. Forums address common myths surrounding nuclear energy technology. ENEC discusses human resource development and job opportunities. They also feature open question and answer sessions, where the community can have their questions answered by a member of the ENEC senior management team.

  2. Student outreach programmes – which aims to provide students from government and public schools with detailed knowledge about nuclear energy, the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program, and how NPPs work. The programme is tailored to cater for all students of different levels and brought many interesting activities to engage them in those sessions.

  3. Regular interactions with IAEA through UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the IAEA), the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO).

  4. ENEC provides regular briefings for Government officials and departments and runs specialized nuclear energy forums for UAE Government departments.

  5. ENEC regularly participates in career fairs for UAE students and runs frequent advertising campaigns related to human capacity development for the UAE nuclear energy industry, specifically regarding the Student Scholarship Programme.

  6. ENEC has developed a comprehensive website that includes key information on nuclear energy, nuclear energy in the UAE and the country’s programme. This content is provided in Arabic and in English. ENEC is also active on all major social media channels, regularly posting corporate and nuclear-specific information.

  7. In 2011, ENEC launched a comprehensive stakeholder research programme to monitor stakeholder and general public engagement on nuclear energy and awareness of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme. Initial findings indicated strong support for the programme. ENEC conducts third party opinion polls on nuclear energy acceptance across the UAE to understand the level of awareness and acceptability of the UAE population towards nuclear energy and the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme.

  8. ENEC has been praised by the communication industry for its communication work and has received multiple awards from the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA), including Best Government Communications.

  9. ENEC established the Middle East’s first Women in Nuclear (WiN) Chapter, part of the global network of WiN Chapters established by the World Nuclear Association. ENEC hosted the first WiN Global Annual Conference in the Middle East in November 2016.

In addition to ENEC’s efforts, FANR also uses various methods of engagement with stakeholders and the public, including:

  • Annual sessions for licensees (Meet Your Regulator) to help licensees understand FANR regulations and guides. These sessions clarify FANR’s comprehensive understanding of safety, security and safeguards, and how this would be applied in licensing and inspection activities. Those sessions attract annually over 800 representatives from the industrial and medical sectors in the UAE.

  • Public information sessions across the UAE for multiple stakeholders such as students, licensees, public, and government officials, while catering specific information for each target audience depending on their level of knowledge and interest.

  • Annual Reports highlighting FANR’s yearly activities and accomplishments. The annual report is disseminated to key stakeholders nationally and internationally to promote FANR regulatory programme.

  • FANR corporate website, with content covering FANR’s mission, vision and core values, in addition to corporate information about its key business, as well as Board of Management decisions and resolutions. The website also provides information for licensees including up to date regulations and regulatory guides, latest activities and news

  • FANR social media channels, namely: YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – where FANR is actively posting up-to-date information/news covering organization-wide activities and campaigns targeting multiple stakeholders.

Domestically, FANR has formalized its partnership with several competent authorities by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with other entities, such as National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCMEA), Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA), National Center of Meteorology (NCMS), Khalifa University (KU), the National Transport Authority, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), Department of Civil Aviation in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety and Health Center, National Center of Meteorology, General Command of the Armed Forces, Zayed University, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Department of Economic Development of Abu Dhabi and the Federal Authority for Identity & Citizenship, among others.

2.11. Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR)

The National Emergency Management System is documented in the General Framework on National Response (all hazards) under the leadership of the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA). This framework describes the system and structure that addresses the functions of all response organizations for national emergencies, crisis and disasters in the UAE. It provides a framework to coordinate efforts at national level to adopt a strategy at national, federal and local levels.

The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) is the UAE’s nuclear regulator as defined by the Federal Law by Decree No. 6 of 2009. This Law includes provisions governing off-Site emergency plans and mentions that regulatory requirements are to be established by the applicable regulations. Among these regulations two are focused exclusively on emergency arrangements: FANR Regulation for Emergency Preparedness for Nuclear Facilities (FANR-REG-12) and FANR Regulation on Requirements for Off-Site Emergency Plans for Nuclear Facilities (FANR-REG-15).

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) is the UAE’s coordination entity for all national emergencies as stated by the Federal Law by Decree No. 2 of 2011. This Federal Law outlines the main functions and responsibilities assigned to NCEMA in order to carry out the UAE policy regarding necessary procedures to be used for managing emergencies, crisis and disasters. NCEMA coordinates with national entities such as FANR, ENEC, the Ministry of the Interior, Health Authorities, Police departments, and others to ensure that the UAE can respond appropriately to any nuclear or radiological emergency.

Nawah Energy Company’s on-site emergency response management system is documented in Barakah On-site Emergency Plan. The Barakah On-Site Emergency Plan describes the Emergency Response Organization as well as the methodologies and processes that support the emergency response. This Plan details the emergency response facilities as well as the equipment needed to face an emergency situation. Emergency facilities such as Technical Support Centre (TSC), Operational Support Centre (OSC) and Emergency Operations Facility (EOF) are equipped with necessary equipment, radiological instruments, etc.

For emergencies that may happen at Barakah NPP, a National Off-Site Nuclear Emergency Response Plan was approved by the Ministry of Interior. This plan was developed in coordination with a number of entities and it defines the participating organizations in the emergency response system at Barakah NPP off-site area. It outlines the responsibilities of main and supporting entities.

Complementing the National Off-Site Nuclear Emergency Response Plan several documents were developed. Among them are to be highlighted: Mass Media & Communication Plan for Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies at Barakah NPP, National Mechanism for Requesting Assistance from the IAEA (NMRAI), Joint Emergency Radiation Monitoring and Assessment Team (JERMAT) Plan. In addition, every entity part of those plans is expected to have its own plans, procedures, standard operating procedures and/or instructions in line with the responsibilities assigned in the said documents.

At the national level, there is a National Operations Centre under NCEMA. For the off-site emergency response organization, there is an Emergency Operation Centre in Al Ruwais where the incident commanded is located. This centre is at the same building as the licensee’s Emergency Operations Facility. This co-location was considered as a good practice by the IAEA. Other response organizations have their own logistics to respond to nuclear and radiological emergencies integrated when applicable to an all-hazards approach. The entities that may have a major role during emergencies have their own Emergency Operations Centres which is the case of FANR’s Emergency Operations Centre equipped with state-of-the-art arrangements. FANR’s emergency operation centre is fully operational and is talking part in drills and exercises conducted nationally and internationally, in particular those conducted in the framework of IAEA (e.g. ConvEx).

In line with UAE approach towards transparency and cooperation with the IAEA, an Emergency Preparedness Review Mission (EPREV) was implemented in 2015. Conclusions from the EPREV mission identified that the UAE has a strong national infrastructure for crisis and emergency management, particularly for having a clear definition of roles and responsibilities. The recommendations and suggestions were considered by relevant entities to improve UAE arrangements. A follow-up EPREV mission was implemented in September 2019. During this mission, the IAEA team considered that all recommendations made in 2015 were closed. Similarly, most of the suggestions were closed. The additional findings during the follow-up mission are leading to further UAE efforts for improvement which are led by FANR.

The UAE works closely with the IAEA to build up its emergency preparedness and response (EPR) capabilities to the highest standards. Through dedicated Technical Cooperation projects, as well as the UAE Integrated Work Plan, stakeholders involved in nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and response work with IAEA and international experts to strengthen the national EPR strategy both in terms of infrastructure and capacity building.


3.1. Regulatory Framework

3.1.1. Regulatory Authority(s)

In September 2009, the UAE President, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, approved Federal Law by Decree No. (6) of 2009, Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. This law established the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) as the UAE’s nuclear regulatory body.

FANR is the independent Government body charged with regulating and licensing nuclear activities in the UAE, which, in addition to the nuclear energy programme, includes radioactive material and radiation sources used in medicine, research, oil exploration and other industries.

FANR determines all matters relating to the control and supervision of the nuclear sector in the UAE, in particular nuclear safety and security, radiation and environmental protection and safeguards. All obligations under the relevant international treaties, conventions or agreements entered into by the UAE are carried out by FANR.

The FANR Board of Management (BoM) is composed of seven members, including a Chairman and Deputy Chairman. All members are appointed by the Minister’s Cabinet Resolution and must be citizens of the United Arab Emirates. The Board of Management appoints the Director General and is responsible for managing the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

3.1.2. Licensing Process

The National Law provides requirements for the granting, revocation, and suspension of licenses. The law prohibits any person from conducting any ‘Regulated Activity’ in the UAE unless licensed to do so by FANR. Regulated Activity includes the siting, construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear facilities.

The law provides requirements for inspection and control of licensee activities, requiring FANR to establish a planned and systematic inspections programme and to conduct inspections covering all areas of regulatory responsibility to ensure that the operator is in compliance with the law, regulations and license conditions. In undertaking inspections, FANR has the power to undertake enforcement actions, which are defined by the law as including corrective actions, written warnings, revocation of a license, and administrative penalties and fines. The law includes provisions for civil liabilities and criminal penalties for various offences related to the requirements of the Nuclear Law.

FANR has issued a number of licenses to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), which remain current:

• Site Selection License – Approved 28 February 2010

• Site Preparation License – Approved 8 July 2010

• Construction License for Barakah Units 1 and 2 – 17 July 2012

• Construction Licence for Barakah Units 3 and 4 – September 2015

• Application for Operating License for Barakah Units 1 and 2 – March 2015

• Import, transportation, and storage of fresh fuel for Barakah Unit 1 – May 2017

• Operating License for Barakah Unit 1 – February 2020

• Import, transportation, and storage of fresh fuel for Barakah Unit 2 – February 2020

3.2. National Laws and Regulations in Nuclear Power

The legislative framework includes three types of instruments: laws adopted within the UAE, multilateral instruments to which the UAE has become a party or is taking steps to join, and bilateral agreements with States that will be participating in the UAE programme. The following list of instruments include:

Laws of the United Arab Emirates:

  • Federal Law by Decree No. (6) of 2009 Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, which came into effect on 24 September 2009 (referred to as the Nuclear Law).

  • Law No. (21) of 2009 Establishing the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, issued on 20 December 2009.

  • Federal Law No. (24) of 1999 for the Protection and Development of the Environment, issued 17 October 1999.

  • Law No. (14) of 2007 Concerning the Establishment of the Critical National Infrastructure Authority and Law No. (1) of 2012 transferring its functions and responsibilities to the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA).


The Federal Law by Decree No. 6 of 2009 Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy
  • Affirms UAE commitment to develop and control the Nuclear Sector towards peaceful purposes only and in accordance with the Policy and international treaties and agreements
    Highest priority given to Safety, Nuclear Safety, Radiation Protection and Safeguards
    Enrichment and reprocessing forbidden in the UAE

  • Establishes and empowers the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation as an independent regulator to determine all matters relating to the regulation, inspection, and oversight of the Nuclear Sector with respect to Safety, Nuclear Safety, Nuclear Security, Radiation Protection and Safeguards

  • Includes
    Licensing, inspection and control regime
    Power to set up and operate national system of accounting for and control of Nuclear Material
    Arrangements for radioactive waste and decommissioning
    The frameworks for physical protection and emergency preparedness and response

  • Determines civil and criminal penalties, including penalties consistent with the convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material

The relevant IAEA safety standards and security guidance that have served as the basis for many of the regulations related to nuclear installations which FANR has issued are listed below:

  • FANR REG-01, Management Systems for Nuclear Facilities;

  • FANR REG-02, Siting of Nuclear Facilities;

  • FANR REG-03, Design of Nuclear Power Plants;

  • FANR REG-04, Radiation Dose Limits and Optimisation of Radiation Protection for Nuclear Facilities;

  • FANR REG-05, Application of Probabilistic Risk Assessment at Nuclear Facilities;

  • FANR REG-06, Application for a License to Construct a Nuclear Facility;

  • FANR REG-08 Version 1, Physical Protection for Nuclear Materials and Nuclear Facilities;

  • FANR REG-09, Export and Import Control of Nuclear Material, Nuclear Related Items and Nuclear Related Dual-Use Items;

  • FANR REG-10, System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material and Application of Additional Protocol;

  • FANR REG-11, Radiation Protection and Predisposal Radioactive Waste Management in Nuclear Facilities;

  • FANR REG-12, Emergency Preparedness for Nuclear Facilities;

  • FANR REG-13, Safe Transport of Radioactive Materials;

  • FANR REG-14, Application for a Licence to Operate a Nuclear Facility;

  • FANR REG-15, Requirements for Off-Site Emergency Plans for Nuclear Facilities;

  • FANR REG-16, Operational Safety Including Commissioning;

  • FANR REG-17, Certification of Operating Personnel at Nuclear Facilities;

  • FANR REG-19, Existing Exposure Situations;

  • FANR REG-21, Decommissioning of Facilities;

  • FANR REG-23, Security of Radioactive Sources;

  • FANR REG-24, Basic Safety Standards for Facilities and Activities Involving Ionising Radiation Other Than in Nuclear Facilities;

  • FANR REG-26, Pre-disposal Management of Radioactive Waste;

  • FANR-REG-27, Disposal of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste.


ADNOC, http://www.adnoc.ae/content.aspx?newid=306&mid=306

British Petroleum Global, http://www.bp.com/

CIA Factbook, www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, www.ENEC.gov.ae

Emirates National Grid, www.ENG.ae

Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, www.fanr.gov.ae

Federation of American Scientists, http://fas.org/

Geohive – Population Statistics, http://www.geohive.com/

Index Mundi, http://www.indexmundi.com/

International Energy Agency, IEA Energy Database, http://data.iea.org

International Monetary Fund, http://www.imf.org/external/index.htm

Irena, http://www.irena.org/home/index.aspx?PriMenuID=12&mnu=Pri

Masdar, http://masdar.ae/

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/

The Official Portal of the United Arab Emirates, www.government.ae

Trading Economics, http://www.tradingeconomics.com/countries

UAE Embassy to the USA, www.uae-embassy.org

UAE Interact, www.uaeinteract.com

UAE Ministry of Economy, www.economy.ae

UAE Ministry of Interior, http://www.moi.gov.ae/en/Menu/Index.aspx?MenuID=49&mnu=Pri

UAE Statistics, http://www.uaestatistics.gov.ae/ReportPDF/Population%20Estimates%202006%20-%202010.pdf

UAE Yearbook 2010, http://yearbook.uaeinteract.com

US Energy Information Administration, www.eia.doe.gov

UN Energy Balances & Electricity Profiles

UNICEF Statistics, http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/uae_statistics.html

United Nations, Energy Balances and Electricity Profiles, 2007

World Bank, World Development Indicators, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD


Multilateral Instruments Adopted by the UAE

  • Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, 1987

  • Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, 1987

  • Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), 1995

  • Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), 2000

  • Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement between the United Arab Emirates and the International Atomic Energy Agency, 2003

  • Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, 2004

  • United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, 2005

  • Ratification of the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement between the United Arab Emirates and the International Atomic Energy Agency, 2009

  • Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, 2009

  • Convention on Nuclear Safety, 2009

  • Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, 2009

  • Protocol to Amend the 1963 Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, 2012

  • Joint Protocol on the Application of the Vienna Convention and Paris Convention, 2012

  • Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), 2014

Bilateral Cooperation Agreements concluded by the UAE

  • Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of the Republic of France in the Development of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, 15 January 2008.

  • Memorandum of Understanding between the United Kingdom Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United Arab Emirates for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, 15 May 2008

  • Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of the United States of America Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, 21 May 2009.

  • Agreement between the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of the Republic of Korea for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, 22 June 2009.

  • Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the United Arab Emirates for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, 25 November 2010.

  • Agreement between the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of Australia on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, 31 July 2012.

  • Agreement between the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of Canada for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, 18 September 2012.

  • Agreement between the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of the Russian Federation on Cooperation in the Field of the Use of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes, 17 December 2012.

  • Agreement on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy between the United Arab Emirates and the Argentine Republic, 14 January 2013.

  • Agreement between the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of Japan for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, 2 May 2013.


Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA)

PO Box: 62220

Airport Road Al Bateen Air Base Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+971 2 655 5555


Dubai Health Authority (DHA)

PO Box: 4545

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

+971 4 337 0031


Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC)

ENEC headquarters

PO Box: 112010

Masdar City

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+ 971 2 313 0555


Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD)

PO Box: 45553 Al Mamoura Building, Muroor Road

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+971 2 445 4777      


Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR)

PO Box: 112021

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+971 2 651 6666


Department of Health (DOH)

PO Box: 5674

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+971 2 449 333


Khalifa University (KU)

PO Box: 127788

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+971 2 401 8000


Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future (MOCAF)

PO Box: 899

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+917 2 403 9999


Ministry of Climate Change & Environment (MOCCAE)

PO Box: 1509

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+917 2 444 4747


Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation (MOFAIC)

PO Box: 1

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates



National Centre for Meteorology (NCM)

PO Box: 4815

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+971 2 222 7777


National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA)

PO Box: 113811

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+917 2 417 7000


Permanent Mission of the UAE to IAEA

Chimanistrasse 36, 1190, Vienna – Austria


Coordinator Information:

His Excellency Ambassador Hamad Alkaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA and Special Representative for International Nuclear Cooperation, is the Focal Point, contributing to the CNPP, via the Permanent Mission of the UAE to IAEA, established in Vienna, Austria.

Name of report coordinator:

Ambassador Hamad Alkaabi


Permanent Mission of the UAE to IAEA, Vienna


Tel: +43 1 715 0028

Fax: +43 1 715 0028 – 5555

Email: UAEpm.Vienna@mofaic.gov.ae

(1) World Atlas: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-world-s-largest-oil-reserves-by-country.html

(2) Source: CIA World Fact Book. https://photius.com/rankings/2019/energy/natural_gas_proved_reserves_2019_0.html

(3) https://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/data_graphs/330.htm

(4) https://enec.gov.ae/overview/sustainability/

(5) For more information about FANR please visit: www.fanr.gov.ae


(7) https://www.enec.gov.ae/news/latest-news/enec-and-kepco-announce-financial-close-for-barakah-nuclear-energy-plant/