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Press Release 2011/31

IAEA Concludes Peer Review of UAE's Regulatory Framework

14 December 2011 | A team of international nuclear safety experts today completed a 10-day International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) review of the regulatory framework for nuclear safety and radiation protection in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission, which was conducted at the request of the UAE, noted good practices in the UAE system and also made recommendations and suggestions for the nation's nuclear regulatory authority, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

"The team was impressed by the speed with which the UAE developed its regulatory framework and established a new regulatory body," said IRRS Team Leader Carl-Magnus Larsson of Australia.

The mission's scope covered the UAE regulatory framework for all types of nuclear-related activities regulated by FANR. Consideration was also given to the implications of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident for the activities of FANR.

"We have been working hard to establish FANR as a world-class nuclear safety regulator," said Dr. William Travers, FANR Director General. "Inviting the IAEA's peer review service is one important way to progress. We are pleased our efforts have been recognised and we will use their insights to improve our regulatory programme."

The IRRS team highlighted several good practices of the UAE regulatory system, including, though not limited to, the following:

  • The UAE has developed a nuclear policy and subsequent activities related to the introduction of nuclear power within a relatively short timeframe. In developing its nuclear law, the UAE used the opportunity to merge five pre-existing regulatory bodies into one organization;
  • FANR has made extensive use of the IAEA Safety Standards to establish its regulations and guidance, and is using IAEA peer-review missions and services as a means to strengthen its nuclear safety framework; and
  • FANR has made good progress in developing an integrated management system, i.e. a systematic approach to running the organization as established in IAEA Safety Standards.

The IRRS team also made recommendations to improve the UAE regulatory system, including, though not limited to, the following:

  • A national policy and strategy for radioactive waste management should be concluded and implemented as soon as possible; and
  • Roles and responsibilities of emergency response organizations should be clarified as soon as possible.

In additlion, the IRRS team considers sustainability and long-term development of domestic capacity for assuring safety to be an important issue for the UAE. The team also acknowledges the fact that the UAE has made a long-term commitment to sustainability in all aspects of radiation protection and nuclear safety.

In a preliminary report, the IAEA has conveyed the team's main conclusions to FANR, and a final report will be submitted to the authority in about three months. FANR has informed the team that it will make the report public. The IAEA encourages nations to invite a follow-up IRRS mission about two years after the full mission has been completed.

Background

The mission to the UAE was conducted from 5 to 14 December mainly at FANR headquarters in Abu Dhabi and also included some site visits. The IRRS team members held extensive discussions with FANR staff to exchange information and experience between the two parties. IRRS missions are peer reviews, not inspections or audits, and are conducted at the request of host nations. For the UAE review, the IAEA assembled a team of 17 international experts from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, Republic of Korea, Morocco, Pakistan, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, United States of America and the IAEA.

About IRRS Missions

IRRS missions are designed to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of the national nuclear regulatory infrastructure of States, while recognizing the ultimate responsibility of each State to ensure safety in this area.

This is done through consideration of both regulatory, technical and policy issues, with comparisons against IAEA safety standards and, where appropriate, good practices elsewhere.

More information about IRRS missions is available on the IAEA Website.