IAEA verifies UAE nuclear material inventory

26 May 2017

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards inspectors have verified the correctness and completeness of the United Arab Emirates' initial inventory of nuclear material. The strategic document was prepared by the country's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

FANR prepared the initial inventory based on the UAE's State System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material, a register of all nuclear material, its possessors and users within the territory of the UAE. The inventory was submitted to the IAEA through the UAE's permanent mission to the agency.

As part of the verification process, IAEA safeguards inspectors visited the Barakah nuclear power plant and other locations in the UAE where small amounts of nuclear material are used. The IAEA confirmed at a follow-up meeting with FANR representatives at the agency's Vienna headquarters that information submitted by the UAE in its initial inventory was complete.

IAEA safeguards aim to deter the spread of nuclear weapons by the early detection of any misuse of nuclear material or technology, providing assurances that states are honouring their obligations to use nuclear material only for peaceful purposes. The agency applies a set of technical measures on nuclear materials and activities to verify independently that facilities are not being misused and that nuclear materials are not being diverted. States accept such measures through safeguards agreements with the IAEA.

The UAE's agreement with the IAEA on the application of safeguards in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and its additional protocol is such a safeguards agreement. Under its terms, as well as the UAE's own federal nuclear law and FANR obligations, any possession, use or handling of nuclear materials within the UAE must be licensed by the FANR. The IAEA is authorised to carry out inspections within the country to verify that safeguards are being applied correctly.

Hamad Alkaabi, the UAE's permanent representative to the IAEA, said the UAE had worked very closely with the agency in developing and implementing the country's comprehensive safeguards system in line with IAEA requirements. "This is a significant achievement and represents another milestone in the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program," he said.

Initial construction of the UAE's first nuclear power reactor, Barakah 1, was completed earlier this month. Operating company Nawah Energy Company is now waiting for regulatory approvals before fuel loading and commissioning can begin. Three further APR-1400 pressurised water reactors are being built by a South Korean consortium for the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation at Barakah, 50 km from the town of Ruwais.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News