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Emiratis make up majority of nuclear regulator’s workforce

Annual report by Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation shows that Emiratis make up 62% of workforce

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) on Thursday released its annual report for 2016, which showed a highly successful Emiratisation drive in the company.

Emiratis form 62 per cent of its workforce now.

The high number of Emiratis working with the FANR will come as positive news for the future of the country’s nuclear programme, which from day one has made it a key policy to train and hire a local workforce to lead the UAE’s drive towards nuclear energy.

“The FANR invests significantly into capacity-building strategies for Emiratis. In 2016, [the] strength of Emirati workforce reached 62 per cent,” said Abdullah Nasser Al Suwaidi, chairman of FANR.

“In order to ensure its sustainability, the FANR is developing its competency framework for newly recruited Emirati staff members, and in 2016 progress in this field was noteworthy. The FANR has chosen to adopt the IAEA’s (International Atomic Energy Agency) Systematic Assessment of the Regulatory Competence Needs (SARCoN) methodology at FANR to ensure that its Emirati staff members have the competencies they need to carry out the required functions at the nuclear regulatory body,” he added.

Christer Viktorsson, FANR director-general, said in the report that the organisation continued to put a focus on capacity building with its Emirati workforce, and also created a programme for new Emirati graduates.

“The FANR remains dedicated to capacity building initiatives for its Emirati employees. In 2016, a Develop Engineers programme was launched at FANR to ensure the long-term sustainability of the nuclear regulatory body.

“The FANR had 16 new graduates from various engineering disciplines on the programme in 2016, which aimed to give the graduates an understanding of the day-to-day duties of the four technical departments in the Operations Division,” he added.

Viktorsson in the report also said the IAEA had commended the nuclear programme’s security framework.

“The FANR continues to cooperate with the IAEA and honour its commitment to transparency through various channels of communication with both public and the international nuclear community.

“In November 2016, the UAE’s nuclear security regime was commended by the IAEA in its International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission to the UAE.

“The IPPAS mission, which was carried out at the UAE government’s request, focused on the UAE’s legislative and regulatory framework for nuclear security. The UAE was commended by the IPPAS team for a number of good practices and for having undertaken ‘strong and sustainable nuclear security activities’,” he added.

The annual report also pointed to the continued progress of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, with two approved licences being issued for the power plant. The two licences approved the transport of unirradiated nuclear fuel to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, and the handling and storage of the fuel in Unit 1 at Barakah.

The report also highlighted the FANR’s continued radiation safety inspection programme, with 326 inspections completed in 2016.

The FANR’s expenditure also went up to Dh282.9 million in 2016, compared to Dh243.8 million in 2015, according to its annual report. The majority of expenses went towards its safety departments — Dh61,402,750 was spent on its Nuclear Safety Department and Dh31,917,956 spent for its Radiation Safety Department. The company’s Education and Training Department also saw a high expenditure of Dh25,192,772.