UAE reiterates its commitment to high standard of nuclear safety

WAM Tokyo, Dec 15th, 2012 (WAM) – The United Arab Emirates reiterated today its commitment to the high standard of nuclear safety in the quest to develop its peaceful nuclear programme.

In a statement made to the IAEA Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety that opened on Saturday in Japan, the Permanent Representative of the UAE to the IAEA Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi also said that UAE will put into practice the lessons learnt from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

“In light of the natural disaster that took place on 11th of March 2011, resulting in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, the United Arab Emirates places utmost emphasis on nuclear safety as we take stern and progressive steps towards the development of a peaceful nuclear energy programme”, Al Kaabi said.

“My country remains of the view that peaceful nuclear energy will contribute significantly to the future energy mix in the UAE and globally”, he added.

UAE has always beenand remains fully committed to the highest standards of nuclear safety. My country has taken solid steps in this direction, since embarking on the development of its nuclear power programme. After the Fukushima Daiichi accident, we have taken further steps including engaging closely with the IAEA and the International community, in drawing the right lessons from the accident, he stressed.

The UAE earlier this summer started the construction of the first unit of the ‘Barakah’ nuclear power plant, making it the first country among nuclear newcomers to start the construction of a nuclear power plant in 27 years. The Construction License that was issued by the nuclear regulator in July of2012 took into full consideration early lessons learnt from the Fukushima Daiichi accidentby thoroughly assessing the robustness of the design including safety features which protect against extreme natural events and the consequential loss of safety functions, Al Kaabi noted.

Notwithstanding existing design strengths, it was decided to implement additional design features and measures to further enhance the robustness of the plant.

The UAE wants to stress the vital role of the IAEA, given its technical nature and wide membership, as the key venue for discussing and evaluating nuclear safety measures as a result of the Fukushima accident, he explained.

“UAE calls for strengthening the IAEA role in this field, and welcomes all efforts by the IAEA Director General in response to the Fukushima accident and the implementation of the IAEA nuclear safety plan”, Al Kaabi urged.

“We stress the importance of this dialogue, and believe that we can learn from each other and exchange valuable information related to the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident”, he added.

Al Kaabi stressed the importance of international framework for cooperation on nuclear safety and in particular the important of the convention on nuclear safety.

“My country remains committed to strengthening the Convention on Nuclear Safety as the only legally binding international instrument in the area of nuclear safety”, he stressed.

The UAE delegation urged all states with significant nuclear facilities and have not done so , to join and implement the Nuclear Safety Convention at an early date.

Another important international framework is the international nuclear liability conventions. UAE has recently joined Protocol to Amend the Vienna convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage as well as the Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention. Additionally, UAE has recently enacted a new federal law on nuclear liability consistent with provisions of these conventions , further demonstrating UAE’s responsible approach, Al Kaabi noted.

UAE continues its transparent approach through benefiting from various comprehensive review services provided by the IAEA. The UAE gives high importance to the peer-review services based on its policy for transparency and interest in adopting best practices, he added.

In addition to the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, conducted in 2011, the UAE has concluded another review mission focused exclusively on an evaluation of the regulator. The Integrated Regulatory Review Service Mission (IRRS) conducted in December 2011 was the first time that an IRRS Mission was held at such an early stage in a country embarking on a nuclear power programme.

Results of these peer review missions were positive and demonstrated the importance of these missions in evaluating the suitability of domestic nuclear infrastructure in a country with or planning nuclear power programme.

“Therefore we encourage states to benefit from such review services and share their outcome for greater advantage”, urged Al Kaabi.

The delegation thanked the Government of Japan for organizing, in association with the IAEA the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety.

We are confident the conference will provide an opportunity to share with the international community knowledge and lessons learnt from the Fukushima accident for the benefits of member states and with an objective to strengthen nuclear safety globally, said Al Kaabi.

The statement also reiterated the UAE’s commitment and reassurance of full cooperation to working with the Agency towards the enhancement of nuclear safety through the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety which was endorsed by the IAEA General Conference in September 2011, and in making use of the Agency’s central role in this regard.

The UAE delegation to the conference, which will last until 17th December, also includes Saeed Alnowis, UAE ambassador in Tokyo and representatives from Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.

WAM/AB

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