Senior international nuclear safety and radiation protection experts today concluded a 9-day International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) follow-up mission to review the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Team reviewed progress in addressing the findings from an initial Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission conducted in 2011, and covered the safe transport of radioactive material as an additional area.
The Team concluded that the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) has strengthened its regulatory oversight and made significant progress since the 2011 mission, addressing 43 of the 48 findings. This is a significant accomplishment in such a short time-frame, which indicates a commitment to an effective implementation of the IRRS programme. The Team also noted that FANR has released the necessary regulations for the current phase of the nuclear power programme.
Carl-Magnus Larsson, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), headed the 10-member review team, which included experts from Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Slovenia, Sweden, and the USA, as well as four IAEA staff members. The Team reviewed reference material and met with officials and staff from FANR and related bodies during the period 31 January to 8 February 2015.
In a message delivered on his behalf during the closing meeting, IAEA Deputy Director General Denis Flory, Head of the Department for Nuclear Safety and Security, said, "The IRSS follow-up mission to the UAE sends a strong message to Member States. The results not only show that the country has made considerable progress in strengthening its regulatory framework, but also that the IAEA Safety Standards continue to serve as a strong instrument and benchmark in these processes."
Mission Team Leader Carl-Magnus Larsson commended the UAE for successfully addressing almost all of the findings raised in the 2011 review, and added that "this achievement underlines the United Arab Emirates commitment to nuclear safety and radiation protection, which benefits the country as it works to further improve its regulatory system, including by looking at the additional findings raised in the current review."
"The IRRS mission was valuable and recognized that from an international perspective, the United Arab Emirates is well equipped with a sound regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety," said the FANR Director General, William D. Travers. "The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation will continue to work with other relevant UAE authorities towards implementing the findings of this mission to further improve our regulatory system which provides nuclear and radiation safety to the general public."
The mission made recommendations for consideration by FANR and the Government of the UAE, including:
- The Government of the UAE should develop a national policy and strategy for the management and disposal of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste;
- FANR should increase its capability to implement regulations on the safe transport of radioactive material;
- The Government of the UAE should complete its ongoing work to establish a system of administrative penalties and fines which would provide FANR with stronger enforcement authority; and
- FANR and the relevant Health Authorities should develop and publish Diagnostic Reference Levels for the UAE.
FANR informed the IAEA that it will make the report available to the public.
About IRRS Missions
IRRS missions missions are designed to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of the national nuclear regulatory infrastructure, while recognizing the ultimate responsibility of each State to ensure safety in this area. This is done through consideration of regulatory, technical and policy practices, with comparisons against IAEA Safety Standards, and, where appropriate, good practices elsewhere.