UAE hosts fourth meeting of IFNEC in Abu Dhabi

The UAE has adopted strong transparent measures into the design of the programme, including commitments not to pursue sensitive technologies, noting that the UAE is a signatory to all non-proliferation instruments and opened up its programme and activities to the IAEA.

By (Wam)

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Published: Fri 25 Oct 2013, 9:52 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:46 AM

Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, on Thursday opened the 4th Executive Committee meeting of the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC), held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Abu Dhabi.

The meeting aims to advance cooperation among member states and observing organisations to support the development of peaceful use of nuclear energy in a manner that meets the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation standards. It discussed several issues on the IFNEC activities last year.

Gargash said, “The global nuclear energy sector is slowly recovering from the setback of Fukushima accident in 2011. Looking at the global picture today, countries with nuclear reactors continue to operate their reactors, many with improved safety measures, tens are under construction, and more are planned.”

He noted that despite the challenges the nuclear energy will continue to play a significant role in the global energy sector, adding that the UAE has recognised the role of nuclear energy after careful and comprehensive evaluation of all technological options to meet its future electricity demand. “Nuclear energy.

Gargash said the government policy adopted in 2008 highlighted the UAE transparent approach and commitments to safety, security, and non-proliferation. “This policy continues to serve as the main framework under which the UAE nuclear programme is being developed.”

He added that the UAE has adopted strong transparent measures into the design of the programme, including commitments not to pursue sensitive technologies, noting that the UAE is a signatory to all non-proliferation instruments and opened up its programme and activities to the IAEA. “We receive independent reviews from the IAEA to evaluate the adequacy of the nuclear infrastructure, which concluded positively.”

As a new comer, Gargash continued the UAE highly values the international nuclear cooperation framework as a critical platform for strengthening safety , obtaining expertise and sharing experiences, while ensuring the transfer of nuclear material and technology.

“Under this nuclear policy framework, the UAE has taken significant steps in the development of the nuclear programme and the related infrastructure, following the IAEA guidance and international best practices,” he added.

For his part, Ambassador Hamad Ali Al Ka’abi, UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA, Head of the 4th Executive Meeting, welcomed the participants, referring to diverse representation from countries worldwide. “IFNEC is a unique framework of 63 countries representing every major technical and economic stage of development in each major geographical area.”

He noted that the IFNEC’s greatest strength lies in consensus decisions among the participant member states, each of which has an equal voice, adding that such a structure allows members to effectively address many challenges regarding the civil nuclear energy matters.

Al Ka’abi underlined that the IFNEC’s focus has been on finding solutions for common challenges associated with the safe, secure and responsible use of nuclear energy, such as human resource development, financing, and back-end fuel cycle solutions.

“The IFNEC has a strong commitment to safety and support of the regulatory bodies that are responsible for nuclear safety, including working with IAEA,” he added.

After the meeting The International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation, issued the following statement:

“The Executive Committee of the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) held its annual meeting on October 24th, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Ministers and other senior representative from 30 countries and International Organizations addressed issues relevant to IFNEC a cooperative forum to explore mutually beneficial approaches to deploying civil nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in a manner that is efficient and meets the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation. Sincere appreciation was expressed to the UAE for graciously hosting and chairing this year’s Executive Committee Meeting.

The Executive Committee welcomes the success of the International Ministerial Conference on “Nuclear Power in the 21st Century” organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in cooperation with the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and hosted by the Government of the Russian Federation through the State Atomic Energy Corporation “ROSATOM”. In the words of the Concluding Statement by the President of the Conference, “The Conference covered a wide range of issues, including energy resources and the environment, contributions to sustainable development, efforts to continuously improve nuclear safety, infrastructure development and fostering deployment of innovations in nuclear power. While respecting the right of each State to define its national energy policy, the Conference recognized that nuclear power remains an important option for many countries to improve energy security, reduce the impact of volatile fossil fuels prices and mitigate the effects of climate change, despite the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company (the Fukushima Daiichi accident).”

The Executive Committee affirmed the value of IFNEC to each of its Participant and Observer countries as they develop and deploy nuclear energy sources that are safe, secure, and environmentally friendly and have a high level of proliferation resistance. A number of these countries are seeking to deploy nuclear electricity generation for the first time and face significant challenges including obtaining adequate financing, developing sufficient human capital resources, determining acceptable back-end fuel management pathways, and developing a robust, independent regulator. IFNEC is committed to providing a platform to discuss these challenges and assisting countries in developing solutions that are specific to their needs.

The Steering Group Chair and the co-chairs of the Reliable Nuclear Fuel Services Working Group and the Infrastructure Development Working Group presented Annual Activity 2

Reports to the Executive Committee representing a broad array of beneficial activities. The Executive Committee commends the Steering Group and expert working groups for their excellent work and expresses its particular appreciation for the following accomplishments:

- The Reliable Nuclear Fuel Services Working Group’s efforts, including advancing the Comprehensive Fuel Services (CFS) concept in its various aspects, particularly with regard to examining the roles government can play in facilitating international back end nuclear fuel services, and a comprehensive review of International Used Fuel Management Practices.

- The Infrastructure Development Working Group’s efforts on human capital development, regional use of infrastructure, international cooperation on nuclear safety, safeguards and nuclear security, learning of industry perspectives on infrastructure challenges, engaging stakeholders, emergency response, and other important infrastructure matters.

- The Steering Group’s successful workshop on Finance, Regulatory, and Energy Planning Authority matters that included participation by key stakeholders and resulted in informative findings regarding the Framework’s efforts to address the barriers to financing and identification of solutions.

As a result of the past and prior years’ efforts, the Executive Committee believes that continued IFNEC engagement on nuclear fuel services and infrastructure development is valuable to IFNEC Members and should be continued. Looking forward to the next year, the Executive Committee also affirmed the following:

- The Steering Group, Infrastructure Development Working Group, and Reliable Nuclear Fuel Services Working Group should focus on identifying practical, concrete, and innovative ways by which IFNEC can contribute to the safe, secure, and sustainable use of nuclear energy and provide proposals to the Executive Committee for appropriate action.

- IFNEC cooperation to address challenges and opportunities associated with the safe and secure use of nuclear energy has proven valuable and should be continued. Specifically, the Steering Group and two expert working groups should continue to focus on issues important to the responsible development of nuclear power including CFS, with close cooperation with IAEA, Generation IV International Forum, Euratom, as well as the Nuclear Energy Agency, World Association of Nuclear Operators, and others who are focused on the safe, secure, and sustainable use of nuclear energy.

- The Reliable Nuclear Fuel Services Working Group should proceed with holding a Comprehensive Fuel Services Industry Workshop to identify prerequisites and opportunities for participation of both industry and emerging market countries in a CFS framework and to further explore appropriate roles governments should play in facilitating international back end nuclear fuel services. The RNFSWG should continue to discuss the development of model agreement approach, and report on the outcome of the workshop and subsequent progress at the 2014 Executive Committee Meeting.

- The Infrastructure Development Working Group should continue to address important issues in developing the national infrastructures countries need for safe and secure pursuit of a nuclear energy program, including human capital development, regulatory development, emergency management planning, waste management, reactor technology choices, and needs assessments. This Working Group should explore ways by which IFNEC may be able to contribute through fostering collaborative and innovative approaches to the important issues of safety, security, and non-proliferation, and raising awareness of the issue of nuclear liability, including the need for a global nuclear liability regime.

- Participant and Observer States are strongly encouraged to fully participate in the valuable efforts of the expert-based Working Groups in order to maximize the perspectives available to the Working Groups and the value of the observations and lessons learned to themselves.

- The Executive Committee directs the Steering Group to explore, evaluate and report to the Executive Committee on the activities of IFNEC including its administrative support.

- The Infrastructure Development Working Group will endeavour to hold a Resources and Gaps Workshop focused on opportunities and challenges associated with the development of nuclear energy in Africa, where key issues such as human resource development, siting, regulatory issues and licensing will be addressed. This workshop shall be done in a manner that complements work done by the IAEA and other international organizations. This Workshop should be held in 2014. The results of the workshop will be reported by the IDWG Co-Chairs at the 2014 Executive Committee Meeting.

- Romania will host an IFNEC Steering Group meeting and will also host a meeting of the Reliable Nuclear Fuel Services Working Group in 2014. The Kingdom of Jordan has graciously offered to host an IFNEC Small Modular Reactor Workshop in Jordan in 2014. The IFNEC Executive Committee supports this workshop and directs the IFNEC Steering Group Chair to work with Jordan to hold this workshop. It should emphasize the inclusion of the various key stakeholders involved in the development and deployment of Small Modular Reactors, taking into account of the related fuel cycle, including vendors, utilities, energy planning authorities, regulators and the financial community.

- The 2014 IFNEC Executive Committee meeting will be hosted and chaired by the Republic of Korea.

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