The Barakah nuclear plant in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation

Dubai: The nuclear regulatory body in the UAE has called on residents to report their concerns, no matter how trivial they may seem.

The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) urged members of the public to voice their concerns and raise their questions through contacting the organisation on its website www.fanr.gov.ae.

“The evaluation of safety, security or safeguards concerns from industry workers or other stakeholders is part of FANR’s efforts to accomplish [a peaceful, safe, secure, effective use and control of nuclear material,” said the regulatory body.

In the event of an emergency, residents can call the toll-free number 800 326 7999 to report any accident related to radioactive material that can harm the public’s safety, lost or damaged radioactive materials and any threat, theft, smuggling, vandalism or terrorist activity related to radioactive materials.

A non-emergency relates to “any concern involving a nuclear reactor, nuclear fuel facility or any radioactive material,” according to FANR, and should be reported by email to allegations@fanr.gov.ae.

Residents who prefer to remain anonymous can do so by contacting the organisation through its website.

Low levels of radiation

Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy tours ENEC's Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant with ENEC Senior Management Image Credit: Organiser

A report published recently by FANR has revealed that the radiation dose rates in the UAE were very low when compared to most other countries in the world.

The first annual report titled ‘Radiological Environmental Monitoring in the United Arab Emirates’, summarises the results of the first year of FANR’s comprehensive Radiological Monitoring Programme, covering January 1 to December 31, 2015.

Christer Viktorsson, Director General of FANR, said, “Establishing a baseline level of environmental radiation is essential prior to the operation of any nuclear facility, because it provides a reference point to which the results of future monitoring can be compared."

Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in Abu Dhabi

“FANR’s Radiological Monitoring Programme and the development of this first annual report are in line with our responsibility and authority as the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator to monitor radiation levels in the UAE and protect the nation’s public, its workers and the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation,” said Viktorsson.

As part of the programme’s study that was carried out in 2015, 28 vegetation samples, 40 surface soil samples, and 10 seawater samples were collected and analysed at FANR’s environmental laboratory, which utilised a 95 per cent confidence level for the laboratory measurements.

In addition, the laboratory analysed 513,798 individual measurements of gamma dose rates from a network of 13 monitoring stations across the UAE, and 628 measurements of gamma dose rates taken throughout the UAE using a portable high pressure ion chamber.

The analysis of all samples and measurements revealed the presence of “naturally occurring radionuclides, as expected and below the reference levels set in FANR regulations.”

The majority of soil samples also contained low levels of Caesium-137.

The reported concluded that, in general, the radiation dose rates in the UAE were very low when compared to most other countries in the world.