UAE exploring options on handling N-waste

T Ramavarman
Filed on June 27, 2010

ABU DHABI The UAE is not intending to domestically reprocess the spent fuel from the nuclear reactors to be set up in the country, Hamad Ali Al Kaabi, the permanent representative of the UAE to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said here.

He said, “Regarding UAE’s Peaceful Nuclear Power Project’ there are various options available to handle the spent fuel or nuclear waste from those reactors. Some countries choose to bury it deep underground in fibre glass containers.

The UAE can explore the possibility of shipping the spent fuel to countries which have reprocessing programmes. We are studying all these options, and this is something that we will have to do only after 40 to 50 years when our reactors are to be decommissioned after their lifetime.’’ “The UAE has decided not to do both enrichment and reprocessing as part of its utmost commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This is one of the steps we have taken to become a model to the world in the development of nuclear power for peaceful purposes with full transparency and international cooperation,’’ Hamad Ali said.

Later replying to a question from Khaleej Times he said the contract awarded by the UAE to a South Korean firm to set up nuclear reactors in the country stipulates that the operator should set up special fund for decommissioning of the reactors after their life time. This will ensure that the decommissioning process will have enough resources.

On the UAE-US nuclear accord, he said this agreement known as 123 Agreement is already in force, and only some administrative processes are remaining to be complete.

Asked what the share of nuclear power would be in the total energy mix of the UAE, he said, “Nuclear power is expected to contribute 25 per cent of total electricity generated in Abu Dhabi by 2020, and this will be much higher than the seven per cent energy to be contributed by the renewable energy sector. By 2020 the country’s power demand is expected to go up to 40,000mw, almost three times the level of total energy produced in the country in 2007, when the feasibility study for nuclear power was conducted.’’

On the plenary session of Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) to be held in Abu Dhabi he said, “The UAE is part of this initiative against nuclear terrorism. Transparency and security are the hallmarks of the UAE’s nuclear power programme. These are goals shared by GICNT aswell.’’

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