‘Safety, security and nonproliferation’ will remain top priorities of UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy programme - GulfToday

‘Safety, security and nonproliferation’ will remain top priorities of UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy programme

‘Safety, security and nonproliferation’ will remain top priorities of UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy programme

The UAE has embraced the high standards of nuclear excellence from World Association of Nuclear Operators.

Together with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UAE continues to support the development of civil nuclear energy around the world and call for operational transparency.

As the country gets closer to the operational phase of its first nuclear reactor, due to commence in 2020 following receipt of the Operating Licence from Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, (FANR), “safety, security and nonproliferation” will remain top priorities and commitments for the nation, said Hamad Al Kaabi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UAE Special Representative for International Nuclear Cooperation.

UAE has also embraced the high standards of nuclear excellence from World Association of Nuclear Operators, WANO, and worked with many of its centres across the world to learn from the best global practice, train local Emirati staff, and achieve a level of proficiency in nuclear operations and maintenance that would meet WANO standards.

Through robust planning and implementation of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy programme, transparency and strong international cooperation have been constant overarching principles. As a result, the programme is safe, secure and has become a model for other countries in the region and beyond.

While political opponents of the UAE and some individuals fundamentally opposed to nuclear energy have sought to criticise the UAE’s choice to embrace peaceful nuclear energy, “objective experts in nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation, as well as those concerned about the dangerous effects of climate change, have overwhelmingly welcomed this choice and the conscientious way in which the UAE has implemented it.”

“In only a decade, the UAE has evolved from a new entrant in civil nuclear programmes, to a reputed nuclear developer that has established a culture of operational transparency and high nuclear safety and quality standards. This approach has meant that our vision of delivering peaceful nuclear energy has been reached more efficiently and effectively than any other nuclear new-build programme,” said Al Kaabi.

“Thanks to our visionary leadership, along with a team of remarkable experts working in close collaboration with international entities, we have worked over the span of a decade to steadily progress to become the 33rd nation to enable nuclear operations for peaceful purposes.

“In retrospect, it is important to remember that the starting point of the journey of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy programme commenced in 2006. Back then, the strong economic and social growth of the UAE caused a significant surge in electricity demand. This power demand highlighted the need to bring more power generation technologies to increase the energy security and diversity of our electricity sector, reduce our dependence on fossil fuel for power generation, while also increasing our energy diversification and, most of all, deliver a more environmentally sustainable electricity sector,” he added while elaborating on how the UAE zeroed down on peaceful nuclear energy.

“The mandate was clear: the UAE required new power generation technologies to produce safe and clean electricity to power its growth over the coming decades. To achieve this, a strategic selection process to choose the power generation technologies commenced. This comprehensive process analyzed all the forms of proven technologies in the electricity generation industry. It measured them against a series of strategic criteria which included the capacity to contribute to energy security, diversification and environmental sustainability,” he said adding “the result of this comprehensive process selected renewable energy and peaceful nuclear energy as the technologies to power our future, in a complementary manner, alongside the existing fleet.”

“Today, it is remarkable to witness the delivery of that energy planning study coming to fruition. In renewable energy, the UAE has emerged to become the largest producer of electricity from renewable resources in the Middle East, producing an estimated 80 percent of the entire renewable power generation in the region.”

Highlighting the growth, he said: “While the UAE continues to significantly expand the use of renewable energy in its power sector, the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, BNEP, plays a strategically critical and complementary role: as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, states nuclear energy “remains the only major dispatchable low-carbon source of electricity other than hydropower”.

“Moving forward, our country remains committed to continuously learn and improve, because we understand that the journey to excellence never stops. We will continue to take an active part across international platforms to share our experience and learn from others,” he said.


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