President Establishes Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation


President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, by decree has established the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), the organization charged with implementing the UAE nuclear energy program as it produces electricity, supports economic development, and provides opportunity for the people of the nation.

H.H. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, has issued Decree No.86 of the year 2009 establishing the Board of Directors of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.

The board members are:

• H.E. Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman

• H.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Deputy Chairman

• Mr. Jasem Mohamed Al Zaabi, Member

• Mr. Mohamed Sahu Al Suwaidi, Member

• Mr. David F. Scott, Member

“This is a proud moment for the United Arab Emirates, as we take a strategic step to fuel the continued social and economic growth of our nation with nuclear energy,” said ENEC Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Al Hammadi. “We take this step with a deep understanding of the responsibility we have to the world community to use this technology wisely and safely.”

ENEC’s establishment is the culmination of nearly three years of evaluation and groundwork, during which the government looked at the most effective way to address growing energy demand. Figures show demand for electricity nearly doubling in the UAE by 2020.

“We have conducted a comprehensive evaluation of all forms of energy generation, and we have come to the conclusion that nuclear energy represents an attractive source of electricity to meet our energy demands,” said Mr. Al Hammadi. “Additionally, we are confident that we can develop this technology safely and efficiently, and begin producing electricity for the homes, businesses and people of the UAE in 2017.”

ENEC is now in the final stages of negotiating with teams of contractors who are bidding to design, build and help operate the plants. Actual construction, starting with the first pouring of safety-related concrete, will commence in 2012. A decision on which team will be selected as Prime Contractor is expected to be made shortly.

ENEC is in the advanced stages of evaluating a number of potential sites for nuclear power plants throughout all regions of the UAE. A team of UAE and international experts are conducting scientific studies on seismology, geology, the environment and other factors related to siting. This study and others will contribute to the final decision on where to build the plants.

“Our responsibility to the nation is clear: We will operate as a company in the safest manner possible as we build this program and supply electricity to the UAE,” Mr. Al Hammadi said. “Our mandate is also clear: build a culture of safety, and a record of performance on safety, that is second to none in the nuclear industry.”

Mr. Al Hammadi also reinforced ENEC’s focus on the importance of human resource development. “The nuclear energy program will create more than electricity – it will create opportunities for the youth of our nation,” he said. “We have already begun programs to ensure that Emirati women and men will play important roles in the future of ENEC, from now and for decades to come.”

In addition, ENEC will be responsible for:

• Overseeing the work of the eventual Prime Contractor in the design, construction and operation phases.

• Working closely with the Abu Dhabi and Federal governments to ensure that the civil nuclear power program is aligned with the industrial infrastructure plans of the UAE. This will include overseeing work that will be done near the eventual power plant site, which would include community development, roads, utility and telecommunications projects.

• Working to build the human resource capacity for the nuclear energy program in coordination with the educational sector in the UAE.

• Developing public communications and education programs to ensure that UAE residents understand the civil nuclear energy program and are provided information on the program’s progress. ENEC would also serve as the investment arm of the Government of Abu Dhabi, making strategic investments in the nuclear sector, both domestically and internationally.

ENEC will be regulated by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), an independent safety regulatory body responsible for the oversight of the peaceful nuclear energy sector within the state and the enforcement of nuclear safety and radiological protection standards. FANR will also be responsible for the licensing of operators in the nuclear sector and the monitoring of radiological materials. Nuclear Energy – A Clear Choice The Government of Abu Dhabi established ENEC following an evaluation of the UAE’s future energy needs that determined the country would need to substantially increase its generating capacity to meet expected electricity demand. The UAE’s evaluation of its energy needs was wide-ranging and resulted in the following findings:

• That volumes of natural gas that could be made available to the nation’s electricity sector would be insufficient to meet future demand.

• That the burning of liquids (crude oil and/or diesel) would be logistically viable but both costly and environmentally harmful.

• That coal-fired power generation while potentially cheaper, would be environmentally unacceptable, and potentially vulnerable from a security of supply standpoint.

• And finally, that the deployment of renewable and other alternative energy supplies, while desirable, would only be able to supply approximately 6-7% of the required electricity generation capacity by 2020. Four factors supported the decision to begin the program:

• Economics – Well run nuclear energy plants are among the most efficient producers of electricity.

• Security of fuel supply – Nuclear power plants have high availability factors (in excess of 90 %) and can operate from 18-24 months on a single fuel load.

• Environment – Nuclear plants emit no greenhouse gases and represent an important tool for combating climate change.

• Industrial Development – A sustainable nuclear energy program will create new service industries and high-value jobs, while enhancing economic development throughout the UAE.

Human Resource Development – Essential to the Program and the Nation Central to the UAE’s approach to developing a nuclear energy program has been the importance of building a qualified workforce in the short and long term. ENEC has partnered with the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, the Institute of Applied Technology, FANR, other parts of the UAE educational system, and universities internationally to ensure that there will be a reservoir of talent, both Emirati and expatriate, well into the future. Current estimates are that the program will need between 2,100 and 2,300 staff by 2020, and perhaps more.ENEC is committed to ensuring that Emirati women and men play a major role in the program – occupying positions of authority and responsibility throughout the commercial business, plant operations, and supporting fields.

Nuclear Fuel – Strategies Under Development ENEC is in the process of developing and implementing a strategy for the management of all nuclear fuel cycle activities including the procurement, use, and short and long term management of nuclear fuel for its nuclear power plants – the first of which is scheduled to come on line in 2017. The strategy conforms to guidelines established by the International Atomic Energy Agency and will be continually updated, taking into account new information and technological advances from the nuclear industry during the next decades before long-term spent fuel management plan is necessary.

The UAE Policy on Nuclear Energy

The UAE’s comprehensive approach to nuclear energy is detailed in the Policy of the United Arab Emirates on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy, a document released in April 2008. One of the main pillars of the policy is the decision to develop the program with safety and non-proliferation as its foundation, and to forgo domestic enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear fuel, the two parts of the nuclear fuel cycle that can most readily be used for non-peaceful purposes. This policy establishes a new model through which non-nuclear states may explore and potentially deploy nuclear energy with the full support and confidence of the international community. The UAE model has been called the “gold standard” for developing a nuclear energy program.