By Andy Sambidge
Country's nuclear sector regulator also says first licence has been issued to ENEC.
The first application to construct a nuclear power station in the UAE is expected by the end of the year, officials said on Sunday.
The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the UAE's independent regulator for the nuclear sector, said it has issued the first licence to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
The licence authorises ENEC to study potential sites to assess their suitability for the location of nuclear power plants with the first application to build a plant expected later in 2010, news agency WAM reported.
Dr William D Travers, FANR's director general said: "This marks the formal start of FANR's important role as the independent safety regulator for the UAE's nuclear power programme."
He added that it did not mean that FANR had approved any particular site. "Such an application is expected later this year," Travers said.
In December 2009, a South Korean consortium won a $40bn deal to build and operate four nuclear reactors for the UAE, beating US and French rivals to one of the Middle East's biggest ever energy contracts.
Under the deal, the first nuclear plant in the Gulf Arab region is scheduled to start supplying power to the UAE grid in 2017.