UAE seeks to learn from Japan nuclear crisis

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp asked to provide report by end-April as it plans UAE's first reactors
UAE seeks to learn from Japan nuclear crisis
This aerial view shows the quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. (Getty Images)
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 01 Apr 2011 10:02 AM

The UAE's nuclear regulator has asked the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) to explain how it would apply lessons learned from Japan's nuclear disaster to its proposed new nuclear reactors.

FANR requested ENEC to provide by the end of April a description of its plans to review what happened on March 11 and to include any lessons learned into the design and operation of its proposed Braka reactors, it said in a statement.

"We understand that ENEC has been following the developments since the tsunami struck Japan and is considering whether there are any implications for its planned units," William Travers, director general of the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), said.

"We are also evaluating these developments to see if FANR's existing requirements should be enhanced," he added.

The UAE's independent nuclear safety regulator has been reviewing ENEC's construction licence application for two nuclear power plants at the Braka site since December.

The review, planned to take approximately 18 months, will include any supplemental issues raised by the events in Japan, the statement added.

The UAE has said it expects to start its first nuclear power plant in 2017. It expects nuclear energy to eventually account for 25 percent of its power requirements.

Japan has battled to contain a radiation leak at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following a massive earthquake and tsunami which ravaged the reactors on March 11.

The UAE, the world's third-largest oil exporter, has struggled to meet power demand growth as its economy expands.

It embarked on a nuclear programme to meet that demand rather than burn more oil, and export less crude, at its power plants.

Korea Electric Power Corp, which led a consortium that won the UAE nuclear deal in 2009, plans to build four 1,400 megawatt reactors on the coast of Abu Dhabi.

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