Abu Dhabi: The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, has issued the Operating Licence for Unit 4 of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant.
The licence has been issued to Nawah Energy Company (Nawah), which is responsible for the operation of the nuclear power plant located in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi Emirate in the United Arab Emirates. The Operating Licence, with a duration of 60 years, authorises Nawah to commission and operate the Unit 4 of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant.
The decision to issue the Operating Licence is a culmination of efforts made by FANR since it received the Operating License Application from Nawah in 2017. FANR has conducted a thorough assessment of the application documentation, conducting robust regulatory oversight and inspections in the areas of safety, security and safeguards, Wam reported.
The assessment included reviewing the plant’s layout and the analysis of the site’s location in terms of geography and demography. The assessment also included the detailed review of the reactor design, cooling systems, security arrangements, emergency preparedness, radioactive waste management and other technical aspects. FANR also assessed Nawah’s organisational and manpower readiness with all the required processes and procedures to ensure the safety and security of nuclear power plant. All reviews and oversight ensured that Nawah was in compliance with all regulatory requirements.
Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management of FANR, said: “Today marks a historic moment for the UAE, where it realised its vision that started 15 years ago in developing the-first-in-the-region peaceful nuclear energy programme. The success of the UAE Nuclear Energy Programme and the ability to deliver it within a record span of time, adhering to the best international nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation standards, made the country a role model for many nations who are embarking on developing a nuclear energy programmes.
The UAE Nuclear Programme will play a key role in providing 25% of clean energy; hence, supporting the UAE government efforts to achieve its 2050 Net Zero Goals.” Following the issuance of the Operating Licence for Unit 4, Nawah will undertake a period of commissioning to prepare for the commercial operation where FANR will conduct around-the-clock inspections, using its resident inspectors located at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in addition to deploying other inspectors, to ensure the Fuel Load and Power Accession processes are completed according to regulatory requirements.
Emirati nuclear experts
Christer Viktorsson, Director-General of FANR, said: “The review of the operating licence application for the Unit 4 was conducted by a team consisting of 90% Emirati nuclear experts. This indicates the success of FANR’s strategy in building the capability and skills of Emiratis to regulate the nuclear sector and ensure its safe operation.” Nuclear safety
Highest safety standards
To ensure implementing the highest international standards of nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation, the UAE received in the past decade 12 major peer review missions from the IAEA to review and assess various aspects from nuclear infrastructure, the legal and regulatory system, nuclear safety, nuclear security, emergency preparedness and non-proliferation. The reports from the missions of the IAEA are publicly available. In February 2020, March 2021 and June 2022, FANR issued the operating licences for the Unit 1, Unit 2 and Unit 3 respectively of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant and will continue to maintain its regulatory oversight for the entire period of operation of the 4 units.
One of the principles of the nuclear policy is transparency to which the Government of the UAE has been committed to by adhering to international conventions and agreements such the IAEA’s Safeguard Agreement and its Additional Protocol and the Convention on Nuclear Safety and other instruments. Such commitments ensure the programme is designed for peaceful purposes and in line with national and international laws.