Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with French radioactive waste management agency Andra to explore potential collaboration in the field of radioactive waste management.

The signing of the MoU by Andra CEO Pierre-Marie Abadie (left) and ENEC CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi (right) (Image: ENEC)

The MoU was signed by ENEC CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi and Andra CEO Pierre-Marie Abadie during the International Atomic Energy Agency's 63rd General Conference in Vienna last week. The signing was witnessed by Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE's permanent representative to the IAEA, and Xavier Sticker, France's permanent representative to the United Nations and international organisations in Vienna.

ENEC said the signing of the MoU with Andra is part of its proactive approach to developing a long-term strategy for radioactive waste management. "The MoU is an important component in the strategy development, as a result of Andra's proven expertise in this area," the company said.

"This is an important memorandum and comes as part of our commitments set out at the very beginning of the development of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme," said Al Hammadi. "The commitments include the UAE's policy for non-proliferation, transparency and the development of a comprehensive radioactive waste management system that reflects the highest standards of safety, quality and international best practices.

"We have put in place a proactive approach to planning for the future requirements of the UAE nuclear energy industry alongside our UAE stakeholders, and in line with our international commitments. By working closely with Andra we will be sharing best practices and insights for the future."

France plans to construct the Centre Industriel de Stockage Géologique (Cigéo) repository - an underground system of disposal tunnels, known as galleries - at a depth of some 500 metres in a natural layer of clay near Bure. The facility is to be financed by radioactive waste generators - EDF, Areva and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission - and managed by Andra.

"With more than 30 years of experience in the management of radioactive waste, Andra, a French national agency, has an international objective to support countries in setting up in a timely manner the responsible management of radioactive waste," Abadie said. "It is the spirit of the collaboration with ENEC to whom it will bring the competence of its experts to support the implementation of this policy, respectful in the long-term safety and environmental requirements recommended by the international authorities."

Four Korean-designed APR-1400 units are being built for ENEC at Barakah, in the Dhafrah region of Abu Dhabi, by a consortium led by the Korean Electric Power Company. Construction began on the first unit in July 2012, unit 2 in May 2013, unit 3 in September 2014 and unit 4 in September 2015. Construction of Barakah 1 was completed in 2018 and the unit is now undergoing commissioning and testing prior to receipt of an operating licence, which is needed before fuel loading can begin. Overall construction of the four Barakah units is now over 93% complete.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Tuesday, 24 September 2019
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/UAE-seeks-French-expertise-for-waste-management