UAE drafts nuclear emergency plan

The country's nuclear regulator hopes to have its first reactor in operation by 2017
(Image for illustrative purposes)
By Shane McGinley
Thu 12 Sep 2013 01:35 PM

As the UAE looks to have its first nuclear reactor in operation by 2017, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the country's independent nuclear regulatory body, has invited the public to review and comment on its draft regulations on its emergency procedures, the WAM news agency said.

The objective of these regulations is to establish the requirements that must be satisfied to ensure there is effective off-site emergency planning for the nuclear facilities in the UAE.

FANR has already issued a set of regulations and regulatory guides to help its licensees fulfill their obligations. The draft regulations are available on the FANR website at www.fanr.gov.ae and members of the public can send their comments to regulation@fanr.gov.ae over the next 30 days.

Since FANR's establishment on September 24, 2009, the nuclear regulator has asked its external stakeholders to review and comment on more than 16 draft regulations and 12 draft regulatory guides through either web-based or face-to-face communications.

In May it was announced the UAE has commenced construction of its second nuclear reactor, part of an aim to have all four of three country’s reactors in operation by 2020.

The announcement came as part of an official ceremony by Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) where it hosted Sang-jick Yoon, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea at Barakah in the western region of Abu Dhabi.

The oil-rich UAE received a construction licence from FANR and a No Objection Certificate from the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi for the construction of the first two plants in July 2012 and March this year received the green light to start construction of a third and fourth reactor.

The first plant is expected to commence operations in 2017, pending further regulatory approvals. The second unit will come online in 2018, with all four expected to be in operation by 2020, the WAM news agency reported.

ENEC officially commenced the construction of the UAE's first nuclear energy plant last year by pouring the first nuclear safety concrete for Barakah Unit 1. It will apply for an operating licence for Units 1 and 2 in 2015.

"We are drawing on the skills and expertise of a world-class nuclear corporation through our prime contractor Kepco," said Mohammad Ibrahim Al Hammadi, CEO of ENEC.

"We are committed to delivering a world-class programme from construction through to operations, and I would like to congratulate our entire team and Kepco for their dedication to carrying out their work with safety and quality top of mind at all times," he added.

With four plants online by 2020, nuclear energy will save the UAE up to 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, WAM reported.

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