Dr Claire Cousins delivering the keynote speech during the second international symposium on radiological protection in Abu Dhabi yesterday. She said it was particularly gratifying that the symposium was taking place in the capital. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The UAE has the world’s safest and best regulated nuclear programme, a radiation protection expert said yesterday.

“The UAE has the world’s best regulated and safest nuclear programme and the chances that it might develop any complication in future is very low,” Dr Claire Cousins, Chair, International Commission on Radiological Protection, told Gulf News yesterday (Tuesday).

Dr Cousins was speaking on the sidelines of the 2nd International Symposium on Radiological Protection being held in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Cousins, who has also been a member of the British Institute of Radiology Radiation Protection Committee since 2006, said it was particularly gratifying that the three-day symposium was taking place in Abu Dhabi for the first time, expressing hope that it will find ways of establishing closer collaboration with the many people and organisations involved in radiological protection in the Gulf region.

Dr Cousins welcomed nominations from UAE organisations for Emirati members on the International Commission of Radiological Protection, an independent charity, established to advance for public benefit the science of radiological protection, in particular by providing recommendations and guidance on all aspects of protection against ionising radiation.

Dr William D. Travers, director general of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, said as the UAE’s foremost regulatory body on the safe and secure use and control of nuclear materials, they are committed to bringing the best practices of the global industry to the UAE.

“We are very pleased to be hosting the international radiation protection community for the ICRP summit as this event will provide the opportunity to showcase the UAE’s leadership as a respected member of the global nuclear energy community,” Dr Travers said.

He added when the prospect of becoming the prime sponsor for this event was raised, FANR’s staff and board as well as other UAE agencies represented on the National Radiation Protection Committee reacted enthusiastically. “We all saw this as an opportunity to reiterate the UAE’s commitment to a peaceful nuclear energy programme based on the highest international standards for nuclear safety, radiation protection, nuclear security and safeguards. This commitment extends throughout the nuclear sector, and includes all activities in which the UAE uses radiation,” Dr Travers said.

He added the symposium provides a platform for knowledge sharing and best practices which will help support national capacity building towards managing these activities safely for a sustainable future.

Split into six sessions taking place over three days, session topics include the safe use of radiation in the health-care industry, the safety of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) in the environment and the challenges of clean-up of radioactive contamination following the events in Fukushima, Japan in 2011.