Abu Dhabi: The Braka-1 nuclear plant is slated to operate in 2017, with its three sister plants following at one-year intervals, said William Travers, the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation's (FANR) director-general.
Travers added the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team presented its initial findings in Abu Dhabi on its ten-day mission during which they found "good practices in the regulatory system; yet with some recommendations and suggestions for further improvement.
"The review is of strategic value which results from an extensive dialogue that engenders common commitment to improving the quality and effectiveness of technical cooperation between the UAE and the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency].
"We have been working hard to establish FANR as a world-class nuclear safety regulator," he said, pointing out inviting the IAEA's peer review service is one important way to progress.
"The UAE is at the forefront of countries developing new nuclear energy programmes, the IAEA supports the UAE's efforts through multiple on-going technical cooperation projects," he said.
Carl-Magnus Larsson, IRRS team leader said: "Among the recommendations to improve the UAE regulatory system were: The UAE government should clarify roles and responsibilities of emergency response organisations as soon as possible."
He added: "The UAE should conclude and implement a national policy and strategy for radioactive waste management."
The comprehensive IAEA review was not an inspection or an audit and was based on a detailed self-assessment FANR has prepared over months.
"The mission included visits to the proposed Braka nuclear power plant site in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate, to the medical and industrial facilities as well as meetings with other key entities involved in the nuclear programme," said Larsson.
The UAE will select a uranium supplier in the first half of next year for its $20 billion (Dh73.5 billion) nuclear energy programme, Hamad Al Ka'abi, the UAE's permanent representative to the IAEA told Gulf News earlier after the Global Energy Markets: Changes in the Strategic Landscape conference.
"Our nuclear policy states that we would favour sending back the spent fuel to the country that supplied it," Al Ka'abi pointed out, adding: "If that is not feasible, we would consider storing it in the UAE, in underground storage, for example. Nuclear safety will be the core of our plans and fundamental to the success and the long-term stability of the UAE programme."