x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Security plans for energy plants in place

The UAE's insistence that it will not try to build nuclear weapons has reduced the risks associated with its energy programme, experts say.

ABU DHABI // The UAE's insistence that it will not try to build nuclear weapons has reduced the risks associated with its energy programme, experts say.

That promise was made in the UAE's nuclear energy policy paper, published in April 2008 and signed into federal law in October 2009.

But the need to employ expatriates at the plant poses its own problems.

"The problem for the UAE is there will be a large number of foreigners working in their nuclear programme, which requires a lot of screening to ensure they do not have ulterior motives," said Mark Hibbs, of the nuclear policy programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The UAE's facilities will have protections in place to stop and respond to acts of radiological sabotage and theft of nuclear material, with various security agencies coming under the oversight of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

"Regulations have been put in place in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency's recommendations," said Dr Ayhan Evrensel, a spokesman for FANR.

"The UAE is one of a handful of countries that has one regulator to ensure the safeguard of its materials, the safety aspects and security."

FANR says it has developed its protection systems using best practice ideas from around the world.

amustafa@thenational.ae