6 June 2013
United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the IAEA have signed an Integrated Work Plan (IWP) to support the implementation of the national nuclear power programme. Nuclear power for electricity generation is a national priority for the UAE, which has embarked on a major programme to construct four nuclear power plants to deliver a total of 5,600 MW of electricity to the national grid by 2020. Construction of the first unit on the Barakah site started in 2012 and work on the second reactor began on 28 May 2013 at the same site. The IAEA, through its technical cooperation (TC) programme and other mechanisms, is assisting the UAE in ensuring safe and secure infrastructure development. The IWP consolidates all technical assistance by the IAEA to the UAE’s nuclear power programme.
The IWP was signed on 5 June 2013 by HE Ambassador Hamad Al-Kaabi, IAEA National Liaison Officer (NLO) for the UAE, and Mr. Ali Boussaha, Director of the IAEA Technical Cooperation Department’s Division for Asia and the Pacific. At the signing ceremony, Ambassador Al-Kaabi and Mr. Boussaha expressed their shared appreciation of the quality of the on-going cooperation between the Government of the UAE and the IAEA in all areas of peaceful applications of nuclear energy. They highlighted the special importance of the IWP as both a key project management modality to facilitate an enhanced working relationship between the IAEA and the national organizations involved in the UAE’s nuclear power programme, and as a means to promote effective implementation of the planned activities that are being supported by the IAEA.
The IAEA assistance outlined in the IWP for the period 2013–2017 is based on the outcome of a meeting between UAE experts and the IAEA staff held in January 2013. The meeting agreed on a framework for activities that will be implemented using all IAEA mechanisms, including through the technical cooperation (TC) programme, regular budget activities and extrabudgetary contributions. The framework takes into consideration UAE technical cooperation project designs submitted for the 2014–2015 IAEA TC programme cycle. The signing of the IWP supports the priorities related to nuclear power outlined in the UAE’s Country Programme Framework (CPF) for 2012–2016, and reinforces the mutual cooperation between the UAE and IAEA to ensure the successful progress of the UAE’s nuclear power programme.
Ambassador Al-Kaabi noted that UAE public polls continue to show positive support to the UAE civil nuclear power programme, and that the UAE continues to commit itself to the highest standards of transparency, safety, security and safeguards. It has acceded to all relevant Conventions and brought into force the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA. The UAE has also established a civil nuclear liability regime for compensation for nuclear damage by the issuance of the Federal Law by Decree No. 4 of 2012 on the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage.
Over the past years, the UAE and the IAEA have been engaged in an active partnership in support of the national nuclear power programme. The UAE has followed the IAEA’s guidance expressed in the document Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power, and made profitable use of IAEA technical assistance in areas relevant to its nuclear power programme, including safeguards, physical protection, nuclear safety and security, as well as peer review missions, particularly for the establishment of the national legal framework, the creation of the nuclear regulatory authority, and other areas associated with the NPP milestones. The IAEA support further focuses on advising on and streamlining the country’s plans for human capacity building and the deployment of qualified staff with regard to both the regulatory and operational aspects of the programme.
In this context, an Integrated Work Plan (IWP) was developed as the operational framework for the delivery of IAEA assistance in support of the national NP programme. The IWP will guide and coordinate the work of all stakeholders and role-players on the path leading to a viable nuclear power infrastructure. The IWP represents an analytical process that provides technical solutions by integrating all relevant activities related to the nuclear power programme and it is supported through the establishment of a core team mechanism between all stakeholders in the IAEA and a coordinated mechanism among all national counterparts.