UAE Shares Best Practices in the Development of its Nuclear Power Infrastructure

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has moved forward in its nuclear power programme with the commencement of construction start for the second reactor at the Barakah site, in May 2013. The UAE’s safe and consistent progress in the introduction of nuclear power has been recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a model for other countries considering the nuclear power option.

As the launching of a nuclear power programme is a complex undertaking that requires careful planning, preparation and investment of time and resources, every year, Member States congregate together in Vienna to learn from one another’s good practices and common challenges in establishing the required infrastructure.
The UAE maintains active participation in all major meetings and workshops organized by the Agency and contributes to the work of the IAEA by providing experts and sharing its experience of developing a nuclear programme.
Among important IAEA meetings, the annual Technical Meeting on Topical Issues in the Development of Nuclear Power Infrastructure serves as the main forum through which senior managers of national nuclear power programmes meet and discuss challenges and common issues.
From 4 to 7 February 2014, the UAE experts joined the IAEA Infrastructure Meeting to share the country’s good practices and lessons learnt in establishing the required infrastructure for a safe and successful nuclear power programme held at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.
The UAE’s approach for introducing nuclear power has been recognized as a model among Member States embarking on nuclear power programmes.
H.E. Ambassador Hamad Alkaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA, presented the country’s accomplishments on the opening day of the meeting. During the panel discussion on ‘newcomer‘ country updates, Ambassador Alkaabi shared the UAE’s best practices in the establishment of national nuclear infrastructure in accordance with the IAEA Milestones guidance as well as in addressing global challenges of nuclear safety raised since the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
The Technical Meeting brought together more than 100 participants from 41 countries to provide Member States with an opportunity to exchange ideas and information in various aspects in the development of sustainable national infrastructure for nuclear power programme.
The meeting participants included senior managers and high-level officials from government and related nuclear energy organisations. These officials represent States that are considering, planning or implementing new nuclear power projects.
This year’s sessions focused on strategic management of new and expanding nuclear power programmes, covering topics such as the national decision on nuclear power and pre-feasibility studies; an integrated approach to human resources and workforce planning; legislative and regulatory frameworks; communication and stakeholder involvement; establishment of the owner-operator and preparation for operation; as well as financing aspects.
During the four-day meeting, UAE Experts participated in panel discussions, as well as breakout sessions, in order to contribute to the meeting objectives.
In the context of the meeting’s session on Communications and Stakeholder Involvement, Mr. Fahad Al Qahtani, Director of External Affairs and Communications Department at ENEC, shared good practices on public communication and transparency, education and outreach activities, and local community engagement starting at early stages of the UAE’s Nuclear Power Plant project. His discourse addressed the strategic approach to stakeholder involvement during planning, implementation and construction of new Nuclear Power Plants.
The annual meeting on infrastructure development was successful in connecting nuclear experienced States with countries that are new to nuclear power. It provided a fruitful platform for exchange of ideas and networking.