FANR Certifies ENEC’s First group of UAE National Nuclear Reactor Operators

  • A Major Milestone in the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme
  • Certification is part of Operational Readiness which is a key requirement of the Operating License Application
  • FANR is currently in the final stage of reviewing the Operating License Application for Units 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant

The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the UAE’s Nuclear Regulator, has officially certified today the first group of 15 UAE National Senior Reactor Operators (SROs) and Reactor Operators (ROs) at Nawah Energy Company, the operations and maintenance subsidiary of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).

The certification is part of complying with FANR’s Regulation 17 ‘Regulation for the Certification of Operating Personnel at Nuclear Facilities’ that dictates requirements for the training and qualification of Senior Reactor Operators and Reactor Operators, and ensures their competence to operate the nuclear energy plant. In addition, the certification of SROs and ROs is a key requirement for future receipt of the Operating License.

A reactor operator is responsible for operating and managing the Main Control Room (MCR) of a nuclear energy plant during regular operations and emergencies including starting up a nuclear reactor, shutting down a nuclear reactor, and monitoring reactor parameters. The SROs manage the control room and supervise the ROs and Field Operators to ensure adherence to high standards of nuclear safety in order to protect the health and safety of the public and optimize energy generation for the UAE grid.

“This is a major milestone for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program.  Investing in building Emirati nuclear expertise is pivotal for the sustainability of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program to attain the nation’s ambitious goals. FANR has played a critical role to certify the reactor operators and verifying their competence and readiness to operate the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in accordance with the highest standards of safety to ensure the protection of the public and the environment,” said Christer Viktorsson, Director-General of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

“The certification of Nawah’s first group of UAE National Senior Reactor Operators and Reactor Operators represents a significant step forward in the nation’s efforts to build capacity, skills and talent for the future of the UAE’s nuclear energy industry,” said His Excellency Eng. Mohamed Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer, ENEC. “The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program is creating new, high value job opportunities that will play a significant role in diversifying the UAE’s economy and supporting sustainable economic development for decades to come.”

Mark Reddemann, Chief Executive Officer, Nawah, added: “Today is an important milestone for Nawah as we continue with our operational readiness program, in advance of the Fuel Load of the first unit of the Barakah plant. The training and education that the Operators have received is of the highest international standard, and supports our objectives of ensuring a world-class, safety and quality led approach towards operations at Barakah.”

The first group took part in a three-year training program developed by ENEC and Nawah, according to the regulations set out by FANR.  The training program combines hands-on experience from some of the industry’s leading engineering and nuclear energy experts with a discipline-focused curriculum, to ensure the students enter the UAE’s nuclear energy industry with world-class training. The first group of SROs and ROs had the opportunity to train in the Republic of Korea, the USA, South Africa, and the UAE.

Throughout the programme, FANR verified and inspected the training program, from curriculum content through to training implementation and exam administration, ensuring that it met regulatory requirements.  After obtaining the certification, FANR will verify Nawah’s refresher training program every two years, which will include provisions for periodic confirmation of an operator’s competency in line with the regulatory requirements for the safe and secure operation of the nuclear energy plant and protection of the public and the environment.

ENEC is developing four identical nuclear energy units at Barakah, in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi Emirate, the first nuclear energy plant in the Arab World. As of the end of March 2019, the overall construction of the four units is more than 93%.  Unit 4 is more than 82% complete, Unit 3 is more than 91% and Unit 2 is more than 95%. Unit 1 construction is complete and the unit is currently undergoing commissioning and testing, prior to receipt of the Operating License from FANR, which is currently in the final stages of reviewing the Operating License application for the Unit, in preparation for the loading of the first nuclear assemblies.

The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant will be operated in accordance with the highest standards of safety, quality and security by a diverse team of experienced international experts and UAE Nationals.

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