UAE to review nuke site, design after Japan crisis
Abu Dhabi, June 15, 2011
The UAE's nuclear regulator said there could be changes to the design and location of the Gulf country's proposed nuclear reactors to ensure safety following Japan's nuclear disaster.
Japan's struggle to contain radiation leaks at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 has prompted other countries with nuclear reactors and those planning to build them to rethink safety issues.
'Everything is on track. We asked Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) and its Korean partners to look at the design and siting in light of Fukushima accident and see what can be learned from that,' John Loy, director of radiation, safety department at the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) told reporters on Wednesday.
He stated that any changes would not affect the project's timeline. The UAE expects to start its first nuclear power plant in 2017, and hopes nuclear energy to eventually supply 25 per cent of its power.
Earlier this year, the regulator requested Enec to take into consideration events in Japan in a review of the project. An Enec task force is looking into this and the results will be ready by the end of the year, Loy said.
The UAE independent nuclear safety regulator has been reviewing Enec's construction licence application for two nuclear power plants at the Braka site since December 27 last year.
Another element that FANR requested Enec to look into is how to deal with extended power loss if the reactors are affected once they begin operating, said Loy.
The UAE, the world's third-largest oil exporter, has struggled to meet power demand growth as its economy expands. It embarked on a nuclear programme to meet that demand rather than burn more oil, and export less crude, at its power plants.
Korea Electric Power Corp, which led a consortium that won the UAE nuclear deal in 2009, plans to build four 1,400 MW on the coast of Abu Dhabi.-Reuters