UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
PREAMBLE AND SUMMARY
The Country Nuclear Power Profile (CNPP) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) described in this document summarizes organizational and industrial aspects of nuclear power programme and provides information about the relevant legislative, regulatory and international framework in the UAE. This report highlights the UAE’s accomplishments in the development and regulation of its peaceful nuclear programme, including an overview of its strategy and specific targets that made the country the first newcomer to build a nuclear power plant in 27 years.
Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, the UAE’s first power station, consists of four APR-1400 nuclear reactors. Barakah Unit 1 entered commercial operation on April 2021, and Unit 2 in March 2022. By November 2021, Unit 3 construction was completed and Unit 4 is in the final stages of construction. As of May 2022, the development of the Barakah Plant (Units 1–4) is more than 96% complete. When fully operational, the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of carbon-free electricity for more than 60 years to come.
1. COUNTRY ENERGY OVERVIEW
1.1. ENERGY INFORMATION
Oil and gas have historically been the dominant sources fueling the country’s economy. The United Arab Emirates 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. Despite being rich in hydrocarbons, the UAE began its path toward energy diversification with the UAE Energy 2050 plan clearly defining a country-wide strategy where clean energy plays the largest role. Adding more clean energy into the mix also means a decreased reliance on natural gas, which accounts for 71%(3) of the UAE’s primary energy. The country’s energy consumption has slowed in recent years compared to the increases in 2014 and 2015, but demand continues to increase in line with population and economic growth. The UAE’s energy strategy aims for an energy mix of 44% renewable energy, 6% nuclear energy, 38% natural gas, and 12% super-critical clean coal.
1.1.1. Energy Policy
The UAE Energy 2050 plan emphasizes the delivery of clean and affordable energy to decrease carbon emissions, maximize energy productivity and the stimulation of further economic growth and to build a future beyond oil. The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure is the federal authority, which supervises the achievement of the security of energy supplies, in a sustainable manner. It also works on building a strong foundation of regulations to govern the energy sector and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These regulations are enforced with the local government bodies in charge of energy affairs.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi regulates its energy sector by the Department of Energy (DOE). Abu Dhabi is ushering in a more diversified landscape featuring the region’s first nuclear energy plant, renewable energy and carbon capture utilization techniques. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) for the Dubai Emirate has committed to a diversified energy mix with smart technologies that will deliver 75% of the city’s energy demand through clean energy by 2050. To achieve these targets, DEWA is increasing the use of renewable energy and carbon capture utilization techniques. In line with the rest of the emirates, Sharjah Electricity, Water and Gas Authority (SEWGA) for the Sharjah Emirate and Etihad Water & Electricity (for the four Northern Emirates: Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah) are planning possible options for using renewables too, such as solar energy or pumped hydro systems, in addition to its bountiful hydrocarbon deposits.
Throughout 2007, the UAE government evaluated future energy sources options and studied a potential role of nuclear energy in the UAE’s future energy strategy. The energy studies concluded that nuclear energy has the potential to play a major role in meeting the growing energy needs in the UAE which estimated that the domestic demand for power will continue to grow by 9% annually. Based on the studies, the UAE government developed the “Policy of the United Arab Emirates on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy” (4) (the Nuclear Policy), which was adopted by the UAE Cabinet of Ministers and published in April 2008.
The development of the Nuclear Policy required an in-depth study of best international practices, a broad consultation process within the UAE Government, as well as with foreign and international stakeholders, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and determination of guiding principles for the development of the peaceful nuclear energy in the UAE. The Nuclear Policy outlines the role of nuclear energy in the UAE’s energy strategy and the UAE’s approach to civilian nuclear power. Most importantly, the policy outlines its commitment to the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation. At that time, several key strategic choices were also reflected by the UAE Government in the Nuclear Policy, which were to forgo domestic enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear fuel.
1.1.2. Estimated Available Energy
TABLE 1: ESTIMATED AVAILABLE ENERGY SOURCES
|UAE Energy Reserves (as of 2022)|
|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||107||7.7||—||—||1875 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.|
Source(s): UAE Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure
1.1.3. Energy Consumption Statistics
TABLE 2. ENERGY CONSUMPTION
|Final Energy consumption [PJ]||2000||2005||2010||2015||2020|
|Total||967||1 157||1 907||2 389||2 268|
|Coal, Lignate and Peat||0||6||28||72||89|
|Natural gas||529||564||1 026||1 268||1 076|
|Bioenergy and Waste||1||1||2||2||2|
*Latest available data, please note that compound annual growth rate may not be representative of actual average growth.
**Total energy derived from primary and secondary generation sources. Figures do not reflect potential heat output that may result from electricity co-generation.
—: data not available.
Source(s): UAE Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure
1.2. THE ELECTRICITY SYSTEM
1.2.1. Electricity System and Decision-Making Process
Rapid economic and demographic growth over the past decade pushed the UAE's electricity grid to its limits. Installed fossil fuel generating capacity, which accounts for nearly all of the UAE's capacity continues to rise, reaching more than 27 gigawatts (GW) in 2013, according to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority. State-led entities manage the domestic electricity grid in each of the seven emirates, but the UAE is making progress toward integrating the emirates into a more efficient national grid.
The Emirates National Grid (ENG) project aims to interconnect the following four authorities that are responsible for supplying power throughout the emirates:
Etihad Water and Electricity (ETIHAD WE)
Department of Energy- Abu Dhabi
One of the main advantages of the ENG project is the financial savings as a result of the reduction in installed reserve capacity on each of the individual utility systems. It also enables the commercial transfer of electricity between the power authorities. The ENG interconnected system also provides a stronger capacity to withstand major or sudden disturbances, such as the loss of production units and failure of grid elements, whether due to outages or natural catastrophes, as well as several types of crises.
ETIHAD WE was established in 2020 under the Federal Decree-Law No. (31) of 2020 to carry out the duties assigned to The Federal Electricity & Water Authority at that time. It is wholly owned by the Emirates Investment Authority and is mandated to meet the needs of the Northern Emirates of electricity and desalinated water.
The DOE is responsible for developing strategic initiatives that diversify and secure energy sources for economic, environmental, and social sustainability for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Under Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, the Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company (ADQ) is a wholly owned entity of the Government of Abu Dhabi with a broad portfolio (Energy & Utilities, Healthcare & Pharma, Mobility & Logistics) of major enterprises, spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi's diversified economy. ADQ owns in its energy portfolio—Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
TAQA owns thirteen operational power generation and water desalination plants across the emirates. In addition, TAQA has three subsidiary companies that are responsible for providing transmission and distribution networks and grids—Abu Dhabi Transmission & Despatch Company PJSC (TRANSCO), Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) and Al Ain Distribution Company (AADC). TRANSCO is responsible for the development, operations and maintenance of high-voltage power and bulk water transmission networks within Abu Dhabi and beyond. EWEC drives the planning and forecasting of the purchase and supply of water and electricity for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the four Northern Emirates (Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah).
For the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in particular, Nawah Energy Company (Nawah) is a Private Joint Stock Company (PJSC) co-owned by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC). Nawah is in charge of operating and maintaining Units 1 to 4 of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. Upon commercial operation of each unit, EWEC purchases all net dependable capacity as part of a Power Purchase Agreement (PAA).
DEWA and the Sharjah Electricity Water & Gas Authority (its ownership was transferred to Sharjah Government as Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA)) are independently responsible to establish, manage, operate and maintain electricity generation and water desalination plants and power and water transmission and distribution networks for the Emirate of Dubai and the Emirate of Sharjah respectively.
Abu Dhabi accounts for 52% of the federation’s total capacity, followed by Dubai with 33%, while Sharjah and Northern Emirates own 13% and 2%, respectively.
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.
TABLE 3. ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION
|Electricity production (GWh)||2000||2005||2010||2015||2020||Compound
rate 2000–2020 (%)
|Total||39 944||60 698||93 949||127 365||137 515||0.00|
|Coal, Lignate and Peat||0||0||0||0||0||-4.12|
|Oil||1 524||2 024||2 258||2 471||657||6.31|
|Natural gas||38 420||58 674||91 674||124 601||130 739||0.00|
|Bioenergy and Waste||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
*Latest available data, please note that compound annual growth rate may not be representative of actual average growth.
**Electricity transmission losses are not deducted.
—: data not available.
Source(s): UAE Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure
TABLE 4. ENERGY RELATED RATIOS
|Final Energy consumption [PJ]||2000||2005||2010||2015||2020||2021*|
*Latest available data.
Source(s): UAE Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure
—: data not available.
2. NUCLEAR POWER SITUATION
2.1. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT AND CURRENT ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
The decision to develop a peaceful civilian nuclear energy programme was based on an in-depth evaluation of the UAE’s future energy needs in 2007. The study determined that national annual peak demand for electricity was likely to rise to more than 40,000 megawatts by 2020. Even with these adjustments to account for the worldwide economic slowdown, the projected demand was beyond current capacity.
The study 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. This was later revised to around 4% per annum.
As previously highlighted, in developing its nuclear energy policy, the UAE Government made its peaceful objectives unambiguous. A policy document entitled “Policy 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(5), Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. 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 of America. 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 company, wholly-owned by the Abu Dhabi Government through ADQ, charged with developing, building, financing, operating, managing and owning nuclear reactors for the peaceful purpose of energy generation. A Joint Venture formed with KEPCO (as detailed below), the prime contractor for the Barakah plant, 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 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 subsidiary mandated to operate and maintain Barakah Units 1 to 4. Nawah holds the operating licenses for Units 1 and 2 of the Barakah Plant and will hold the licenses for Units 3 and 4 pending regulatory approval. Nawah will generate 5,600 megawatts of electricity, making up about 25% of the UAE’s electricity demand when all four units are fully operational.|
|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.
TABLE 5: STATUS AND PERFORMANCE OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
|Data source: IAEA - Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).|
|Note: Table is completely generated from PRIS data to reflect the latest available information and may be more up to date than the text of the report.|
Source(s): Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation
FIG. 1. The Barakah NPP location
As of May 2022, the Barakah NPP overall construction completion is 96%. Individually, Unit 1 and Unit 2 are commercially operational; Unit 3 construction is complete and pending regulatory approval to commence operations later in 2022; and Unit 4 is 92% complete. The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is located in the Al Dhafra of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi on the Persian Gulf, approximately 53 km west-southwest of the city of Ruwais. Figure 1 shows its exact location.
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 the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant 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 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
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
2.3. FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF NUCLEAR POWER SECTOR
2.3.1. Nuclear power development strategy
On 27 December 2009, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation announced that it had selected a team led by Korea Electric Power Corporation to design, build and help operate civil nuclear energy plants for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme. Currently, the development of the Barakah NPP is predominantly complete. Barakah comprises four APR1400 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 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 in February 2020 and fuel load was successfully completed in March 2020. Unit 1 start-up was announced on 1 August 2020, and grid connection on 19 August 2020, with commercial operation announced on 6 April 2021. Unit 2 received the Operating License on 9 March 2021, and fuel load was completed on 23 March 2021. Unit 2 was started up on 27 August 2021 and connected to the grid on 14 September 2021. It began commercial operation on 24 March 2022. Unit 3 construction was completed on 4 November 2021 and is undergoing operational readiness preparations in advance of receipt of the Operating License from FANR, pending regulatory approval. Unit 4 is now in the final stages of construction and commissioning.
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 of America issued the design certification for the APR1400 in 2019. In 2017, KEPCO obtained the European Utility Requirements (EUR) Certificate for the EU-APR, a modified version of the APR1400 reactor.
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 is the fifth unit of the APR1400 reactor fleet in the world, and the Shin-Kori plants 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 UAE’s policy surrounding front-end and back-end nuclear fuel cycle complies with the guidelines established by the IAEA. 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. The ground infrastructure for a further four units was implemented at the same time as the infrastructure was built for Units 1-4 should the UAE Government give a direction to increase the number of units.
2.3.2. Project management
Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation
On 24 September 2009, FANR was established, following the Federal Law by Decree No. 6 of 2009, Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. 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 has done so through the establishment of 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:
Issuing regulations and guides for safety, security and safeguards
Issuing licenses to conduct regulated activities
Carrying out review and assessment of license applications against requirements for safety, security and safeguards
Carrying out inspections and enforcement
Establishing and maintaining the State system of accounting for and control of nuclear material
Establishing frameworks for physical protection, emergency preparedness and response for nuclear facilities and activities
Determining civil and criminal penalties for any violations of the nuclear law
Implementing capacity-building strategies to ensure sustainability
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(6).
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation
On 23 December 2009, ENEC was established by Abu Dhabi decree, issued by the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE (2004-2022). ENEC is the organization in charge of implementing the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme.
ENEC’s main responsibilities are:
Contracting and constructing UAE nuclear power plants.
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.).
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).
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 owns 82% on each company while KEPCO owns 18%. ENEC’s work and activities are subject to the oversight and regulation of FANR, the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator.
Nawah Energy Company
Nawah was established in 2016 with the purpose of operating and maintaining Units 1 to 4 at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. Nawah holds the Operating Licenses for Units 1 and 2 of the plant and is committed to operational excellence and continuous improvement.
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.
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. KEPCO is ENEC’s JV partner.
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 is 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 the Barakah plant, all infrastructure related developments to the grid was completed ahead of commissioning of Unit 1, and all four units are now connected to the grid in preparation for each unit to come online.
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 approved and issued the Site Selection License to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation. 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 Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation conducts a public opinion polls every year to measure the perception of UAE citizens towards the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program. Due to the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the research methodology shifted from the poll being conducted face-to-face to being held online for the first time.
For 2020 and subsequently in 2021, the results show a positive upward trend in the perception of nuclear energy generally, with overall support for the UAE program remaining high. There is increased awareness of ENEC as an entity (up from 2019), and a five-year high for awareness of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program overall, with a sense of pride and patriotism towards the program remaining.
Below are the key findings:
Support for nuclear energy as a source of electricity generation remains high among UAE residents at 85% for 2021.
The perception of nuclear energy as important for delivering future energy needs is also high at 85% in 2021.
2.4. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN CONSTRUCTION OF NPPS
As the 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), plays a key role as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor and operator
KEPCO E&C, provides the NPP design and engineering service
Korea Nuclear Fuel Co., Ltd. (KNF), provided the initial load of nuclear fuel
Korea Plant Service and Engineering Co., Ltd. (KPS), is involved in plant maintenance.
2.5. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN OPERATION OF NPPS
The first unit of Barakah plant is currently in operation in the UAE after receiving the unit 1 Operating License from FANR on 16 February 2020.
In 2016, ENEC established Nawah Energy Company as its operating subsidiary, mandated to operate and maintain the UAE’s four Barakah Units. To support Nawah, ENEC and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) signed an Operating Support Services Agreement (OSSA) in July 2016, under which KHNP provides experienced and qualified nuclear plant personnel to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant.
As part of the OSSA, the Korean company has dedicated 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
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 is supplied to KEPCO Nuclear Fuels (KNF), which manufactures the fuel assemblies for use in the four 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) supplies uranium concentrates, conversion services and enrichment services, while AREVA (France) provides 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 IAEA 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.
In 2021, ENEC established a Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee (RWMAC) to provide strategic advice on the implementation of the UAE’s radioactive waste management program. ENEC’s objective is to develop and implement solutions in line with national policy to manage and ultimately dispose of spent fuel and radioactive waste in a safe, secure and sustainable manner that protects workers, the public and the environment, now and in the future, without imposing an undue burden on future generations.
The objectives of the RWMAC are:
Providing strategic advice and guidance to ENEC toward the development and implementation of the UAE national long-term robust spent fuel and radioactive waste management program.
Providing advice and recommendations to ENEC to enable the timely, safe, secure, and economical management of radioactive waste arising from sources within the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program and other radioactive waste from non-nuclear energy activities.
Providing advice to ENEC about using international expertise, methodologies and competencies, as well as partnerships/collaborations with effective, relevant international radioactive waste management programs.
The advisory committee consists of five global experts in the fields of nuclear energy, radioactive waste and spent fuel management and meets regularly.
2.8. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
2.8.1. R&D organizations
The UAE Government has supported the establishment of 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 Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa University, 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, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, Khalifa University (KU) and External JV Stakeholders. The main objectives and goals of ENTC are to:
Maintain and enhance the national nuclear and radiological technology programmes.
Continue to conduct technical analysis of the nuclear technology sector to meet stakeholders developing needs.
Develop nuclear technology capabilities in the UAE in order to become an internationally recognized innovator.
Research of new nuclear technology approaches and applications which can be incorporated into the national R&D and innovation system.
The Federal Law by Decree no. 6 of 2009, Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, empowers FANR to carry out and support research and development studies relevant to its scope of work and to initiate and coordinate safety related R&D work with other authorities. In light of these provisions, FANR collaborated with institutions of responsible nations aimed at developing R&D capabilities within its nuclear energy programme, as well as to use the operating experience of other countries on major safety issues. As of 2020, FANR is engaged in 13 research collaboration agreements with countries such as Belgium, France, Norway and the United States of America. Research and development is an essential building block for a sound regulatory system as it provides world-wide access to tools, data and expertise necessary for rigorous decision-making to ensure regulations have safety focus.
Many countries with small civil programmes established regulatory programmes and benefitted from bilateral and multilateral cooperation to meet their needs. While it is industry’s responsibility to conduct the R&D necessary to establish the safety case for an activity, regulatory bodies conduct research to provide a sound scientific basis for regulations and regulatory decisions. Moreover, ENEC is now concluding the development of its R&D strategy to identify opportunities to utilize knowledge and expertise in related sectors.
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 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), Canada (2012), Argentina (2013), Japan (2013) and with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2019).
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) (8) , 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 (GICNT).
FANR continues to cooperate with nuclear regulatory bodies and expert organisations in operating countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Finland, France, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Korea, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States of America). 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 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.
The following are two upcoming missions:
pre-OSART follow up mission for Units 1 and 2 of the Barakah NPP, scheduled for September 2022
ORPAS follow up mission scheduled for October 2022.
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 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 28 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 Emirati cadre of senior and professionals in nuclear safety and radiation protection. As of January 2022, FANR employs around 251 employees of which Emirati constitute 72%. Women made up 43% of the total workforce.
A Developee Programme, launched in 2016, is in place and helps Emirati engineers and physics and law graduates acquire the fundamental knowledge necessary to understand technical aspects of nuclear engineering, nuclear regulation and radiation protection. FANR also adopts other career development tools including on-job-training with other nuclear regulators in other countries, in-house-training, and knowledge management programmes which consist of multiple tools, including the Library and Learning Center, expert debriefing interviews, the Knowledge Management Department Representatives Group, and the integration of knowledge management methodologies and activities in FANR processes and procedures. Moreover, FANR is working on strengthening the competency of human capital in the organization by implementing a competency development framework which is considered as the foundation for continuously ensuring a highly competent workforce at FANR. In 2020, technical and behavioral competency assessments for both divisions were completed in an effort to highlight focused training and development needs.
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% 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 500 students graduated from an ENEC-sponsored programme. 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.
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 Republic of Korea and the United States of America 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 the Republic of Korea, designed to equip the operators with the expertise necessary to oversee safe operations at the UAE’s first NPP.
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, 2017 and 2019, 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 Centre since 2018, provides support to activities on nuclear infrastructure development in newcomer countries. KU have partnered with Texas A&M University to develop and operate the Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute (GNEII) at Khalifa University campus in Abu Dhabi, UAE. GNEII provides an institutional capability for nuclear energy infrastructure development emphasizing education in nuclear energy safety, safeguards, and security. GNEII’s goal is to be an indigenous, self-supporting regional education centre for future nuclear energy professionals working in government and industry. GNEII gives opportunity for graduating fellows who work at ENEC, FANR and other industry-related organizations to share their research results and network with experts from around the world.
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, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America. The total number of certified SROs and ROs is 123, of which 42 are UAE nationals, and five 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:
Nuclear energy mini-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. Due to COVID -19, these forums have been performed virtually, with plans to return to face to face events.
Student outreach programmes aim 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.
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).
ENEC provides regular briefings for Government officials and departments and runs specialized nuclear energy forums for UAE Government departments.
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.
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.
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.
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 the Gold award in the Energy category on multiple occasions.
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, the National Transport Authority, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, 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 and Citizenship, among others.
2.11. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
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. 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 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 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. A few are Mass Media and 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.
In October 2021, the UAE hosted an international emergency exercise known as ConvEx-3, in conjunction with the IAEA. This exercise was one of the world's most complex simulations and tested the response capabilities to and early notification of an international emergency in the case of a nuclear or radiological incident and was in accordance with international emergency preparedness conventions. It was also an opportunity to evaluate the adequacy of current communication and cooperation protocols, as well as identify areas for improvement in the national and international response systems.
The CONVEX-3 exercise, called "Barakah UAE", was implemented under the supervision of the UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority and in accordance with the legislative framework of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation. Seventy-five member states and twelve international organisations took part including ENEC and its operation and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company, as well as key stakeholders who would play an important role in the case of an emergency, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health and Prevention, and a number of other relevant authorities.
The 'Barakah UAE' exercise enhanced coordination among UAE government entities, highlighting national unity, preparedness and dedication. The exercise also highlighted that the UAE has the capabilities to deal with unusual circumstances and complex emergency situations that could potentially arise from the operation of a nuclear energy plant in the country. Since the start of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program, the nation has been commitment to the highest international standards of safety, security, transparency and non-proliferation.
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. NATIONAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS
3.1. REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
3.1.1. Regulatory Authority(s)
In September 2009, the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE (2004-2022) 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 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
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 which remain current:
Licence for Selection of a Site for the Construction of a Nuclear Facility – February 2010
License for Preparation of a Site for the Construction of a Nuclear Facility Preparation License – July 2010
License for the Construction of Units Three and Four of the Barakah Nuclear Facility and Related Regulated Activities – September 2014
License for the Transportation of Unirradiated Nuclear Fuel – December 2016
Amended License for the Operation of Unit One of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant – February 2020
License for the Operation of Unit Two of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant – March 2021
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).
Federal Law by Decree No (4) of 2012 Concerning Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage.
SUMMARY OF THE UAE NUCLEAR LAW
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 Version 1, 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 Version 1, Emergency Preparedness for Nuclear Facilities;
FANR REG-13 Version 1, Safe Transport of Radioactive Material;
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 Version 1, 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;
FANR REG-29, Registration and Licensing of Radiation Sources.
APPENDIX 1: INTERNATIONAL, MULTILATERAL AND BILATERAL AGREEMENTS
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.
Agreement between the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, 27 November 2019
APPENDIX 2: MAIN ORGANIZATIONS, INSTITUTIONS AND COMPANIES INVOLVED IN NUCLEAR POWER RELATED ACTIVITIES
Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA)
PO Box: 62220
Airport RoadAl Bateen Air BaseAbu 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)
PO Box: 112010
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 Energy & Infrastructure
Al Nahda Street - Al Qusais 1
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Call Center: 800-6634
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
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