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The slightly elevated levels of three different radioisotopes recently detected in northern Europe are probably related to a nuclear reactor which is either operating or undergoing maintenance, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement on 3 July.

The recorded air concentrations of the particles were very low and posed no risk to human health and the environment, the statement said.

However, the IAEA also said the geographical origin of the release has not yet been determined.

Last week, Estonia, Finland and Sweden reported levels of ruthenium-103, caesium-134 and caesium-137 isotopes in the air which were higher than usual.

The IAEA, in an effort to help identify the possible origin of the radioisotopes, contacted counterparts in Europe and asked for information about whether they were detected in their countries, and if any event there may have been associated with the atmospheric release.

Date: Saturday, 04 July 2020
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Policy uncertainty is ‘preventing industry from making investment decisions’ Policy uncertainty in a number of countries is preventing the nuclear industry from making investment decisions and “forthright recognition” by governments of the value of nuclear energy would encourage policymakers to explicitly include nuclear in their long-term energy plans and commitments under the Paris Agreement, the International Energy Agency has said.

The Paris-based agency said in a report on meeting climate goals that nuclear policy uncertainty is partly the result of inconsistencies between stated policy goals – such as climate change mitigation – and policy actions.

While some countries maintain they can meet decarbonisation objectives while phasing out nuclear (Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland) or reducing its share (France), others continue to recognise the need to increase nuclear reliance: China, Russia, India, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and Uzbekistan.

In late 2018, the EU long-term energy strategy clearly stated that nuclear power – together with renewables – will form the backbone of the EU power system in order to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, the IEA said. At the same time, ongoing EU taxonomy discussions regarding the eligibility of nuclear power generation for sustainability funding highlight the difficulties in recognising the contribution that nuclear energy makes to climate change mitigation.

Date: Friday, 12 June 2020
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Making a commitment to build six new EPRs in France would be an "effective stimulus" for the country's economy as it recovers in the years ahead from the shock of COVID-19, the French nuclear energy society (SFEN) wrote in a position paper published this week. Nuclear energy "ticks all three boxes" highlighted in the debate about the recovery - that investments should be in low-carbon, resilient and sovereign industries, it said.

Date: Saturday, 16 May 2020
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Mohammed Al Hammadi says first criticality at reactor number one will be ‘very soon’ Mohamed Al Hammadi speaks at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi in January 2020. Photo courtesy Atlantic Council. Operations at the Barakah nuclear station in the United Arab Emirates are “on schedule” despite the coronavirus pandemic, with first criticality at the first unit expected “very soon”, the chief executive of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has said.

Speaking via video link to the Washington-based Atlantic Council, Mohammed Al Hammadi explained that, as a result of rigorous measures taken at the Barakah construction site, the Covid-19 virus had not affected the timetable for completion.

The four-unit nuclear station, 50km west of Ruwais on the Persian Gulf coast of Abu Dhabi, is the first commercial nuclear energy facility in the Arab world. The cost of the facility, which has four South Korea-suppled APR1400 units has been put at $24bn.

“Today we are on schedule,” Mr Al Hammadi said. “We are continuing with our plan and we will keep safety as the overriding priority… the current impact we have right now did not derail us from our plans.

Date: Friday, 08 May 2020
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The United Arab Emirates' Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) said today it is working with healthcare facilities and authorities at home and abroad to support efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, protect the community and ensure their radiation protection and safety.

Date: Tuesday, 28 April 2020
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Aim is to build fleet of up to 16 440-MW reactors A mockup of the proposed 440-MW SMR plant. Photo courtesy Rolls-Royce. UK-based nuclear engineering company Assystem has announced it will become part of a UK consortium established to design and build compact nuclear power stations.

The consortium is comprised of Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, Nuclear AMRC, Rolls-Royce, Jacobs and TWI.

It is working to design a first-of-a-kind small modular reactor that will be at the heart of the UK’s planned low-carbon economy.

The consortium is matching the £18m investment confirmed by the UK government organisation, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The first power station is targeted to be built and connected to the national electricity grid by 2029, with the support of legislation to enable the programme.

Date: Thursday, 09 April 2020
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The successful cooperation between South Korea and the United Arab Emirates in building the Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi has opened a new avenue for further collaboration between the countries in global nuclear power markets, South Korea's ambassador to the UAE said this week.

Date: Saturday, 21 March 2020
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Unit 1 systems will now be gradually tested for commercial operation  The Barakah nuclear power station in Abu Dhabi. Photo courtesy Enec. First fuel loading has been completed at Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power station under construction in the United Arab Emirates, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) announced today.

The loading of 241 fuel assemblies at the South Korea-supplied plant – the first in the Arab world – began last month after the receipt of an operating licence from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) on 17 February.

The licence authorises the plant’s operation for 60 years. It also gave the green light for fuel loading to begin.

The fuel load was led by a team of FANR-certified fuel operators, with mostly Emirati experts who were trained in the APR-1400 reactor technology in South Korea.

Date: Wednesday, 04 March 2020
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The United Arab Emirates has declared itself the first country in the Arab world to become an operator of a nuclear power plant following Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation's (ENEC) completion of fuel loading this week at Barakah unit 1 in Abu Dhabi. The UAE said it has thus joined a "limited group of countries worldwide", now 33 in total, that have "successfully developed the intellectual and infrastructural capacity to use nuclear energy to generate safe, clean, and reliable baseload electricity".

Date: Wednesday, 04 March 2020
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