Abu Dhabi: The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) on Monday announced it has officially certified the first group of 15 UAE National Senior Reactor Operators (SROs) and Reactor Operators (ROs) at Nawah Energy Company, the operations and maintenance subsidiary of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
The certification is part of complying with FANR’s Regulation 17 that dictates requirements for the training and qualification of SROs ROs, and ensures their competence to operate the nuclear energy plant.
In addition, the certification of SROs and ROs is a key requirement for future receipt of the Operating License.
A reactor operator is responsible for operating and managing the main control room (MCR) of a nuclear energy plant during regular operations and emergencies including starting up a nuclear reactor, shutting down a nuclear reactor, and monitoring reactor parameters.
The SROs manage the control room and supervise the ROs and field operators to ensure adherence to high standards of nuclear safety.
“This is a major milestone for the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme. Investing in building Emirati nuclear expertise is pivotal for the sustainability of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme to attain the nation’s ambitious goals,” said Christer Viktorsson, Director-General of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), commenting on the latest milestone.
15number of Senior Reactor Operators (SROs) and Reactor Operators (ROs) who will be responsible for handling and managing main control room of UAE nuclear power plant reactors
“FANR has played a critical role to certify the reactor operators and verifying their competence and readiness to operate the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in accordance with the highest standards of safety to ensure the protection of the public and the environment,” he added, highlighting the competence of the 15 nuclear reactor operators.
Eng. Mohammad Al Hammadi, chief executive officer at ENEC also commented positively on the development, calling it a step forward for the country’s nuclear energy industry.
“The certification of Nawah’s first group of UAE National Senior Reactor Operators and Reactor Operators represents a significant step forward in the nation’s efforts to build capacity, skills and talent for the future of the UAE’s nuclear energy industry.
“The UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme is creating new, high value job opportunities that will play a significant role in diversifying the UAE’s economy and supporting sustainable economic development for decades to come,” he added.
Rigorous training programme
The first group took part in a three-year training programme developed by ENEC and Nawah, according to the regulations set out by FANR.
The training programmed combined hands-on experience from some of the industry’s leading engineering and nuclear energy experts with a discipline-focused curriculum. The first group of SROs and ROs had the opportunity to train in the Republic of Korea, the USA, South Africa, and the UAE.
Throughout the programme, FANR verified and inspected the training programme, from curriculum content through to training implementation and exam administration, ensuring that it met regulatory requirements.
After obtaining the certification, FANR will verify Nawah’s refresher training programme every two years, which will include provisions for periodic confirmation of an operator’s competency in line with the regulatory requirements for the safe and secure operation of the nuclear energy plant and protection of the public and the environment.
ENEC is developing four identical nuclear energy units at Barakah, in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi. The overall construction of the four units is more than 93 percent completed.
4number of identical nuclear energy units at Barakah being developed by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC)
Unit 4 is more than 82 percent complete, Unit 3 is more than 91 percent and Unit 2 is more than 95 percent completed.
Unit 1 construction is complete and the unit is currently undergoing commissioning and testing as it enters the final stages of its operating license.