x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Regulator to review UAE's nuclear plans

Lessons from Japan to 'enhance safety' of domestic programme.

ABU DHABI // The UAE's nuclear safety regulator says it is conducting a "very thorough review" in light of the crisis in Japan.

Dr William Travers, the director general of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, said the body was examining the licensing application of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) to build nuclear plants at the Braka site, a stretch of beach west of Ruwais.

"We have been following the developments caused by the devastating earthquake in Japan with great interest and vigilance," he said. "Once we fully understand the details of what has happened in Japan, we will use this information to enhance the safety of the peaceful nuclear power programme here in the UAE."

Enec filed its application on December 27, and hopes to have its first reactor operating at the Braka site by 2017. The review was expected to take more than a year and seismic safety is an issue that will be examined, Dr Travers said.

The UAE joins a list of countries that have announced either closures of nuclear plants or safety reviews following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northern Japan.

Germany has already shut down seven of its oldest reactors, saying they may not reopen.

China also said it had delayed approval for new nuclear power stations, and the UK has commissioned a report into lessons derived from the Japanese situation.