A comprehensive review of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) programme for the introduction of nuclear power carried out under the IAEA´s Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission found that the country understands the long-term commitments and responsibilities of nuclear power and is implementing its programme in line with the IAEA "Milestones" approach.
When a country is embarking on introducing nuclear power into its national energy mix, the IAEA advises that it takes a comprehensive Milestones approach, integrating all the aspects of their government, industry and educational institutions.
An INIR mission is a holistic review of a country´s nuclear power programme conducted by a team of international experts.
"The UAE considers the INIR mission an important milestone for its civil nuclear energy programme," said Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE´s Permanent Resident Representative to the IAEA.
"I believe this mission once more highlights the nature and progress of the UAE programme: We are open, we are transparent, we are developing a peaceful nuclear programme with the highest international standards. And we are eager to continue in our cooperation with the IAEA and follow its guidance," he added.
The IAEA mission leader, Jong Kyun Park, Director of the IAEA Nuclear Power Division, agreed that the mission was a success. He observed that no major gaps in the UAE´s nuclear power infrastructure were identified.
"The INIR Mission was conducted in a cooperative and open atmosphere with participation from the various organizations in the UAE involved in nuclear power´s introduction. The team concluded that the development of the UAE´s nuclear infrastructure is progressing well and in line with the IAEA´s guidelines. This was the first mission to a country that has just signed a contract for constructing nuclear power plants."
While INIR missions have already been carried out in several states, this mission was a review of one of the most developed nuclear infrastructures among the IAEA Member States currently planning their first nuclear power programmes.
The INIR mission identified several areas where the UAE´s approach can be good practices for other countries starting nuclear power programmes to consider. Areas of good practices include cooperation without compromising their independence between the regulatory bodies and utility, human resource development, a well-structured management system, and a strong safety culture.
For future development of the UAE programme, the mission team made suggestions in several areas, and offered continued IAEA support. The mission team noted that there were no major gaps in the 19 areas covered by the review. It also noted the adoption of relevant international instruments and recommended accelerating the adoption of international instruments for civil liability on nuclear damage.
The IAEA supports nuclear newcomers by providing standards, guidance, reviews and assessments, missions, and assistance.
INIR is a recently-established tool designed to complement the IAEA Milestones document launched in 2007. An INIR mission is conducted upon request from a Member State.
By providing a comprehensive assessment of all facets of a nuclear power programme, spanning the regulatory body, utility and all relevant Government stakeholders involved, INIR is a valuable tool for promoting transparency and openness.