ABU DHABI, 11th March, 2018 (WAM) — The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, FANR, has recently hosted a five-day international mission on stakeholder involvement for the transition to the operation phase of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA.
The workshop aimed to develop national communications programmes and initiatives in preparation for the transition to operation of the nuclear power plant. It discussed international best practices from the IAEA and other countries in terms of stakeholder engagement and developing strategic communications programmes that deal with local and international stakeholders, addressing different topics from public outreach, communications channels, engaging with media as well as emergency preparedness.
UAE nuclear stakeholders, such as FANR, National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, NCEMA, Emirates Nuclear Energy Cooperation, ENEC, and Nawah Energy Company, presented their relevant cases studies highlighting their communications programmes. IAEA experts provided recommendations for future programmes and initiatives to be developed.
Attended by representatives from various nuclear sector in the UAE, the workshop underscored importance of ensuring stakeholder involvement during the transition to operation where it is imperative to ensure engagement with various segment of the community. Participants discussed importance of having open channels with the media and public. It also highlighted coordination as a priority to ensure the awareness about the UAE nuclear programme and its benefits to the country.
Such a workshop is part of a technical cooperation programme with the IAEA since the UAE joined in 1976. The cooperation spans different sectors such as training and capacity building, nuclear energy infrastructure development as well as use of nuclear applications in healthcare, agriculture, environmental monitoring and emergency preparedness.
In his keynote speech, Christer Viktorsson, FANR’s Director-General, said, “operational transparency is a key principle, which the UAE is committed to through its policy issued in 2008. FANR is adopting highest standards of transparency in engaging with its stakeholders and the public.”
“It is necessary to listen to the public and interact with their needs. Our mission is to ensure safety, security and non-proliferation by applying robust regulatory programmes in inspections and licensing,” added Viktorsson.
The UAE is currently building a four-unit nuclear power plant at Barakah in Al Dhafra to meet its growing energy demand through the operator ENEC. FANR is currently reviewing the Operating License for Unit 1 of the Nuclear Power Plant. The overall construction completion of the four-unit project is more than 87 percent.