The UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), has granted Nawah Energy Company (Nawah) the operating licence for Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, making the UAE the first country in the Arab region to operate a nuclear power plant.
FANR has also authorised Nawah to commission and operate Unit 1 of the nuclear power plant located in Al Dhafra, Abu Dhabi, under a 60-year licence.
The nuclear regulator received a 14,000-page operating licence application from ENEC, on behalf of Nawah, in 2015. FANR revealed that it followed a systematic review process that included a thorough assessment of the application documentation, conducting robust regulatory oversight and more than 185 inspections with requests for approximately 2,000 additional pieces of information on matters related to reactor design and safety, among others.
The assessment included reviewing the plant’s layout design and the analysis of the site’s location in terms of geography and demography.
It also included reviewing the reactor design, cooling systems, security arrangements, emergency preparedness, radioactive waste management, and other technical aspects.
FANR also assessed Nawah’s organisational and manpower readiness with all the required processes and procedures to ensure the safety and security of nuclear power plant.
Nawah is the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s subsidiary responsible for operation of the nuclear power plant, according to the state-run news agency Wam.
Commenting on the milestone, the UAE’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and deputy chairman of the FANR, Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, said: “Today’s announcement is another milestone for the UAE, culminating efforts of 12 years towards the development of the UAE Nuclear Energy Programme to which FANR played a significant role to turn this vision into reality.”