By Claire Valdini
New federal law also places all responsibility for any possible damages on nuclear operator
The UAE has set the liability from a nuclear fallout at AED2.5bn (US$680m) and placed all responsibility for any possible damages on the operator, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
Under the new federal law, ENEC must provide 450m Special Drawing Rights (SDR) – equivalent to AED2.5bn – SDR150m more than the minimum set by the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage.
“The operator of a nuclear facility is solely and exclusively liable for damages arising from a nuclear incident as defined in the 1997 Vienna Convention,” the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) said in a statement.
The UAE, the world’s third largest oil exporter, is ploughing ahead with plans to develop four 1,400-megawatt reactors in Barakah, in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, as it moves to meet rising demand for electricity.
“The establishment of such a robust nuclear liability regime is another step forward of the UAE Government’s responsible approach to develop a solid regulatory framework for the peaceful nuclear energy programme,” Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a statement.
“This new liability regime provides a clear and predictable process for the public and nuclear industry to deal with compensation for damages that may arise in the case of a nuclear accident,” he added.
ENEC in July received regulatory approval from both the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi and FANR for the construction of the first two nuclear energy units in Barakah.
Pending further regulatory approvals, the first unit is scheduled to begin delivering electricity to the grid in 2017. The remaining three units are scheduled to come on line in 2018, 2019 and 2020.