GCC countries come together to cooperate on Nuclear Waste Disposal

Delegates from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries discussed possibilities for joint activities in developing and implementing their radioactive waste and spent fuel management programmes.

The venue was a workshop on ‘Supporting Radioactive Waste Disposal in Newcomer Member States – Regional Collaboration on Radioactive Waste Management in MENA Countries’. The workshop was hosted by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in cooperation with Arius Association.
Around 35 officials from UAE organisations participated at the workshop from 16 to 18 April 2012 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Many countries in the MENA region are considering or already embarking on nuclear power programmes for the first time. Accordingly, they are devising efficient plans for safe and secure management of radioactive waste, which is a significant component for the development of a national nuclear infrastructure.
In this regard, the UAE has been chosen as a host country since it has the most progressive nuclear power programme in the region. The UAE is committed to develop a comprehensive radioactive waste management strategy that involves developing a national strategy and disposal programme in parallel with exploring regional and international cooperation options.
During the three-day workshop, participants were introduced to the IAEA’s measures on radioactive waste management and cooperation between countries, also to current existing waste management situation globally, and overviewed potential areas for cooperation.
The opening ceremony of the workshop was inaugurated by Ambassador Hamad Alkaabi, the UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA, and Mr. Lumir Nachmilner, Officer for the IAEA’s Waste Technology department.
The opening remarks of the workshop emphasized the importance of adequately handling waste management in a responsible manner, UAE's approach and potential regional cooperation in this area.
This training meeting has summarized the IAEA recommendations for all new national programmes and indicated the potential benefits of regional cooperation.
The meeting concluded that the collaboration between states should be focused not only in sharing repositories and storage facilities also in all relevant areas of cooperation such as research, information and knowledge exchange through joint projects.