UAE, Saudi nuclear regulators strengthen cooperation

16 November 2020

The UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and Saudi Arabia's Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Commission (NRRC) have agreed to cooperate in nuclear and radiation regulatory matters, and to form topical working groups. The agreement follows the signing of a bilateral accord on cooperation in nuclear energy between the two countries in 2019.

Participants in the online meeting between FANR and NRRC (Image: FANR)

Representatives from FANR and NRRC met today to explore and strengthen collaboration in regulatory aspects related to nuclear safety, nuclear security, non-proliferation, legal and regulatory framework, emergency preparedness and response. The virtual meeting was chaired by FANR Director-General Christer Viktorsson and NRRC CEO Khalid Al Eissa.

NRRC presented the status of Saudi Arabia's nuclear programme and regulatory framework, while FANR gave updates on the UAE's nuclear energy programme, including the recent start-up of unit 1 at its Barakah nuclear power plant. FANR also discussed its regulatory framework in terms of the nuclear and radiological sectors in the UAE, and efforts to protect the public, workers and the environment from radiation risks.

FANR and NRRC agreed to hold topical workshops and form working groups to exchange information and knowledge related to regulatory framework, radiation protection, nuclear safety and security, as well as nuclear non-proliferation and emergency preparedness. They also agreed to discuss smart licensing systems and public communications.

Viktorsson said: "We stand ready to provide necessary support to the NRRC and share with them UAE's journey into building the peaceful nuclear programme, as well as offer various training and workshops in this regard."

Under a USD20 billion deal announced in December 2009, four Korean-designed APR1400 reactors are being built at Barakah in the UAE by a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation. Unit 1 was grid connected in mid-August and is scheduled to enter full commercial operation later this year.

Saudi Arabia plans to construct two large nuclear power reactors and also small reactors for desalination. The King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) in 2017 announced it was soliciting proposals for 2.9 GWe nuclear capacity, and in November 2018 awarded a contract to Worley Parsons to provide consultancy services for the Saudi National Atomic Energy Project. This covers project governance, resource management, project services, training and compliance across the full scope of large plants, small modular reactors and the nuclear fuel cycle.

KA-CARE has contracted French engineering group Assystem to conduct site characterisation and impact studies for the country's first nuclear power plant. South Korean companies Kepco Engineering & Construction and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power in December 2018 signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop a project to construct a plant based on their SMART (System-integrated Modular Advanced Reactor) in Saudi Arabia.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News