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UAE presents national report on spent nuclear fuel, radioactive waste management

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has presented its Fourth National Report on Compliance with the Obligations of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.

The UAE is participating as a Contracting Party to the Joint Convention holding its seventh review meeting at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in the Austrian capital Vienna.

The National Report describes the legislative and regulatory measures taken by the UAE to meet its obligations in relation to the Joint Convention.

The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) issued and drafted six regulations containing requirement on managing radioactive waste such as “Radiation Protection and Predisposal Radioactive Waste Management in Nuclear Facilities”, “Decommissioning of Facilities” and is working on developing another regulation on “Decommissioning Trust Fund”.

Such efforts reflect UAE’s commitment to the 2008 Nuclear Policy where it has plans to develop an integrated waste management system that reflects the highest standards of international practices.

The report also addresses options in regards to spent fuel and radioactive waste management: Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and its affiliates have taken some measures such as the design of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant provides sufficient capacity to store spent fuel in a pool made for every unit. In addition, concerned entities are working to look at long-term spent fuel management options for different scenarios.

The delegation also presented measures taken to address non-nuclear radioactive waste produced from medical and industrial facilities across the UAE.

Currently, there are over 2,000 licensees using regulated material, and radioactive sources in the UAE are used for medical, industrial, educational sectors as well as the oil and gas industry.

The UAE delegation also highlighted the efforts of national stakeholders to build Emirati capabilities in the nuclear sector in collaboration with several UAE educational and training institutions.

Intensive training programs had been put in place to qualify and build the experience of the knowledge-intensive nuclear sector.

In the last four years, FANR has certified around 157 Reactor Operator/Senor Reactor Operators who are qualified to operate the nuclear power plan.

“The UAE is committed from day one of embarking its Nuclear Energy Program to adopt highest standards of safety and meet international obligations,” UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA Hamad Al Kaabi said as he delivered the presentation.

“The UAE’s fourth National Report to the Joint Convention is a collective effort of our national stakeholders to share with the public and international community our plans to manage spent fuel and radioactive waste and ensure the safety of the people and the environment.”

The UAE’s delegation, led by Al Kaabi, comprises representatives of national nuclear stakeholders including FANR, ENEC and Nawah Energy Company (NAWAH).

The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management came into force in 2001.

It calls for all Contracting Parties to take measures to protect people and the environment from radiological and other hazards potentially posed by spent nuclear power plant fuel and radioactive waste. 

Contracting Parties submit a national report to a review meeting at the IAEA every three years that describes the measures taken to implement the obligations of the Joint Convention. The UAE acceded to the Joint Convention in 2009.

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