ABU DHABI, 27th March, 2019 (WAM) — Christer Viktorsson, Director-General of the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, FANR, said that Barakah Nuclear Power Plant is the UAE’s key national project, “It is our commitment as the country nuclear regulator to ensure safety and security towards the Nuclear Power Plant.”
Speaking at a media briefing at the authority’s premises, Viktorsson said, “We are currently reviewing the Operating License Application, which was made by Nawah Energy Company for Units 1 and 2 of the Barakah in Al Dhafra. Our mission is to protect the public and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation and to ensure the exclusively peaceful use of nuclear energy in an integrated manner with the concerned authorities and according to international best practices, as well as capacity building of Emiratis in the nuclear field and various technical fields.”
In an exclusive statement with the Emirates News Agency, WAM, on the side-lines of the briefing, said that the authority is committed to play its role in developing the capacity of national cadres working in the peaceful nuclear energy field.”
He pointed out that the percentage of national cadres working in the authority is currently about 70 percent of the total number of employees.
“FANR continues to carry out its mission as stipulated by the UAE’s nuclear law that mandates us to regulate the nation’s nuclear sector for peaceful purposes. We are launching a programme to engage with our licensees in the Free Zones authorities and companies across the country by explain the regulatory requirements, with an emphasis on companies able to manufacture sensitive nuclear components,” Viktorsson added.
As part of UAE’s international commitments and transparency, he said, the nation is required to report to the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA.
Complementing this is the effort to integrate our NuTech portal with local customs authorities in the UAE. NuTech portal is an application designed by FANR that helps licenses to import or export regulated material. The integration with local customs will help monitor the movement of regulated items through UAE borders. NuTech was introduced in March 2018 and until today, it provided over 2,329 approvals.
Another training programme on nuclear security will be launched this year targeting government entities across the country to raise awareness on radiation sources security. The programme will streamline FANR’s mandate to protect the public and the environment.
Protecting the public and the environment represents the core of FANR’s mission. “We are currently working in collaboration with 26 national stakeholders to draft the ‘UAE National Strategy for Education and Training in Radiation Protection,'” he highlighted.
The strategy involves various aspects such as education where it will create academic progress in radiological protection and Medical Physics, “where we currently work closely with Khalifa University and Dubai Health Authority.” The strategy will create various training courses for “Radiation Protection Officers, Emergency Workers”. Such a strategy will help build national capacity in a highly technical field to ensure it is future sustainability.
Another aspect of FANR’s efforts is to measure the radiation levels in the UAE environment. We plan to issue this year the second edition of the ‘Radiological Environmental Monitoring Programme Report’, which illustrates FANR’s efforts in protecting the public and the environment. We continuously monitor the radioactivity levels in the UAE environment through its environmental laboratory at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, and through its 17 radioactivity, monitoring stations positioned in various locations across the UAE.
In September, we will be receiving the IAEA emergency preparedness review service follow up mission that will assess UAE’s nuclear and radiological emergency response preparedness. It follows a similar IAEA mission that visited the country in 2015 which lauded the preparedness and response arrangement in placed in the UAE.
In 2019, FANR will continue the development or revision of a number of regulations and regulatory guides in accordance with the FANR’s five-year Regulatory Framework. One of key regulation to review is “Regulation for the System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material and Application of Additional Protocol”.
This regulation will strengthen the UAE Safeguard System and support its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation. Another regulated will be related to emergency preparedness at a nuclear facility.
Research and Development are key cornerstones in building and maintaining high levels of nuclear and radiation safety knowledge. R&D will help us ensure sound technical basis for regulatory activities and will mitigate any risks related to the nuclear industry in the UAE.
“Hence, we have embarked on an intensive programme and one of the examples is, I can offer, we signed in February a sponsorship agreement with Khalifa University to implement a joint collaborative research programme on modelling of radionuclide dispersion in the UAE environment, with the French Institute of Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety.”
Viktorsson concluded by saying, “Cooperation is a core element in our work. We have a solid relationship with national entities and international organisations and other regulatory authorities of other countries. In 2019 we plan to sign additional agreements with selected nuclear organisations to further our international collaboration for the benefit of the safe, secure, and peaceful application of nuclear energy and radiation applications in the UAE.”