The UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) has issued licences to transport ‘fresh’ nuclear fuel (i.e. fuel that is unirradiated) and to handle and store such fuel at Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant.
The receipt of nuclear fuel will be a first for the UAE, and FANR has aided the achievement of this through the licensing, said a report.
The FANR Board of Management approved the issuance of the transport licence and the handling and storage licence to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) and Nawah Energy Company, respectively, in mid-December, after FANR’s staff carried out thorough assessments and readiness inspections to ensure that the licence applications met FANR’s stringent safety, security and safeguard requirements.
"I am pleased with the concerted efforts of the departments at FANR, who have worked laboriously throughout the licensing review period to ensure that the licence applicants complied with our regulations and met the highest international standards of safety, security and safeguards. FANR fosters a strong safety culture and this commitment is shared by our Board of Management," said Christer Viktorsson, director general of FANR.
Last month, the board visited both the Barakah plant and the Emergency Operations Centre to observe the construction progress at the nuclear power plant and to be updated on the progress of the emergency response plan. Although the operator now has a licence to handle and store fresh nuclear fuel, it will need a FANR licence to operate a nuclear facility in order to load nuclear fuel into Unit 1 at Barakah. FANR is reviewing the application for a licence to operate a nuclear facility, which was submitted by Enec in March, 2015.
FANR issued Enec with a site selection licence in February 2010, and a construction licence for Units 1 and 2, and for Units 3 and 4 of the Barakah plant in July 2012 and September 2014 respectively. Since 2010, FANR has conducted over 120 inspections on both the Barakah plant, including vendors (i.e. suppliers and manufacturers of equipment for the nuclear power plant) to ensure that the licensee complies with FANR’s regulations and any conditions set out in the licence requirements.
FANR has over 1,800 licensees and has gained international recognition as a competent regulator. The UAE nuclear regulator cooperates closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and it endeavours to maintain its strict adherence to the highest standards of nuclear safety, the report said.