United Arab Emirates

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The United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was founded in 1971, comprising seven states including Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Abu Dhabi city is the federal capital of UAE, and Abu Dhabi emirate accounts for 86% of the land area of UAE, and 95% of its oil. Dubai is the UAE's largest city."

Background: Gulf Cooperation

"Since commencing studies in collaboration with other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the UAE has proceeded with plans to set up on its own an ambitious nuclear power program with significant capacity being on line by 2020.

In December 2006 the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar and Oman - announced that the Council was commissioning a study on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. France agreed to work with them on this, and Iran pledged assistance with nuclear technology.

Together they produce 273 billion kWh per year, all from fossil fuels (2003) and 5-7% annual demand growth. They have total installed capacity of about 80 GWe, with a common grid. There is also a large demand for desalination, currently fuelled by oil and gas. A 2009 report projects GCC electricity demand increasing 10% annually to 2015, and desalination demand growing at 8%, implying the need for 60 GWe of new capacity by 2015.

In February 2007 the six states agreed with the IAEA to cooperate on a feasibility study for a regional nuclear power and desalination program. Saudi Arabia was leading the investigation and thought that a program might emerge about 2009.

The six nations are all signatories of the NPT and the UAE ratified a safeguards agreement with IAEA in 2003. In mid 2008 it appointed an ambassador to IAEA.

Nuclear power program in UAE

In 2006 the UAE produced 66.8 billion kWh gross, 98% of it from gas. It has about 18 GWe capacity. Electricity demand is growing by 9% per year and is expected to require 40 GWe of capacity by 2020.

In April 2008 the UAE independently published a comprehensive policy on nuclear energy. This projected escalating electricity demand from 15.5 GWe in 2008 to over 40 GWe in 2020, with natural gas supplies sufficient for only half of this. Imported coal was dismissed as an option due to environmental and energy security implications. Renewables would be able to supply only 6-7% of the needed power by 2020.

Nuclear power "emerged as a proven, environmentally promising and commercially competitive option which could make a significant base-load contribution to the UAE’s economy and future energy security." Hence 20 GWe nuclear was envisaged from about 14 plants, with nearly one quarter of this operating by 2020. Two reactors were envisaged for a site between Abu Dhabi city and Ruwais, and a third possibly at Al Fujayrah on the Indian Ocean coast.

Accordingly, and as recommended by the IAEA, the UAE established a Nuclear Energy Program Implementation Organization which set up the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) as an Abu Dhabi public entity, initially funded with $100 million, to evaluate and implement nuclear power plans within UAE (or specifically in Abu Dhabi emirate, which comprises 86% of the land area of UAE).

The UAE announced that it would "offer joint-venture arrangements to foreign investors for the construction and operation of future nuclear power plants" similar to existing Independent Water and Power Producer structures which have 60% owned by the government and 40% by the JV partner(s). The UAE set up a model of managing its nuclear power program based on contractor services rather than more slowly establishing indigenous expertise.

The UAE has also resolved to forgo domestic enrichment and reprocessing, and "to conclude long-term arrangements …. for the secure supply of nuclear fuel, as well as the safe and secure transportation and, if available, the disposal of spent fuel via fuel leasing or other emerging fuel supply arrangements."

The UAE invited expressions of interest from nine companies for construction of its first nuclear power plant. ENEC reduced this to a short list of three and sought bids by mid 2009. The three bidders on the short list comprised Areva, with Suez and Total, proposing its EPR, GE-Hitachi proposing its ABWR, and the Korean consortium proposing the APR-1400 PWR technology. The last group is led by Korea Electric Power Co. (KEPCO), and involves Samsung, Hyundai and Doosan, as well as Westinghouse, whose System 80+ design (certified in the USA) has been developed into the APR-1400. The UAE has expressed an intention to standardize on one technology.

ENEC appointed the global full-service program management, engineering, construction and operations firm C2HM Hill to manage the UAE's plans for bringing nuclear power to the country.

Non proliferation

The UAE is a signatory of the NPT and it ratified a safeguards agreement with IAEA in 2003. In 2009 it signed the Additional Protocol.

(source: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/UAE_nuclear_power_inf123.html)

News in the nuclear sector

Jan. 2008: French companies partnership for proposal to UAE

In January 2008 three French companies Areva, Suez and Total signed a partnership agreement to propose to UAE the construction of two EPR units there. Suez and Total would each invest up to 25% of the project with Abu Dhabi entities providing at least 50%. Suez would be operator, Areva would supply the plant and manage the fuel. Total and Suez are well established in the region and together operate a power and desalination plant for Abu Dhabi, 100 km west of Dubai. The consortium's first EPR would not be operating before about 2017. In May 2009 it was reported that EdF had joined this consortium.

The USA signed a bilateral nuclear energy cooperation agreement with the UAE in January 2009 and South Korea signed one in June. The UK and Japan have signed Memoranda of Understanding on nuclear energy cooperation with UAE. France has a nuclear cooperation agreement with UAE.

Aug. 2009: UAEA to IAEA - Ready to join

In August 2009 the UAE advised the IAEA that it was ready to join the IAEA Convention on Nuclear Safety, and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.

Oct. 2009: Federal Law for Peacful Uses of Nuclear Energy signed

In October 2009 the Federal Law Regarding the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy was signed into effect, providing for development of a system for licensing and control of nuclear material, as well as establishing the independent Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation to oversee the whole UAE's nuclear energy sector, and appointing the regulator's board, headed by a senior US regulator. The law also makes it illegal to develop, construct or operate uranium enrichment or spent fuel processing facilities within the country's borders.

ENEC is expected to be formally established as an investment vehicle in November. As well as overseeing development of the nuclear program, it will act as a government investment arm by making strategic investments in the nuclear sector, domestically and internationally. This is likely to include taking a significant stake in the successful bidder, though that is not a condition or criterion in the bidding process.

Dec. 2009: Bid for 4 nuclear reactors accepted

"The UAE is taking deliberate steps in close consultation with the International Atomic Energy Agency to embark upon a nuclear power program.

It has accepted a $20 billion bid from a South Korean consortium to build four commercial nuclear power reactors, total 5.6 GWe, by 2020.

Late in December 2009 ENEC announced that it selected a bid from the KEPCO-led consortium* for four APR-1400 reactors. The value of the contract for the construction, commissioning and fuel loads for four units is about US$20 billion, with a high percentage of the contract being offered under a fixed-price arrangement. The consortium also expects to earn another $20 billion by jointly operating the reactors for 60 years.

The consortium involves KEPCO subsidiaries: Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co., Ltd. (KHNP), which will play a key role as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor and operator; Korea Power Engineering Co., Inc. (KOPEC), which will provide the nuclear power plant design and engineering service; Korea Nuclear Fuel Co., Ltd. (KNF), which will provide the nuclear fuel; Korea Plant Service and Engineering Co., Ltd. (KPS), which will be involved in plant maintenance. The first APR-1400 units, Shin Kori 3 & 4, are under construction in South Korea.

A construction start on the first unit is planned for 2012, with it coming on line in 2017, though no site has yet been selected. The plants will largely be financed by the state, without the need for loans, but with some Korean equity partners. By 2020 UAE hopes to have four of the 1400 MWe nuclear plants running and producing electricity at a quarter the cost of that from gas.

ENEC is continuing negotiations with the losing bidders, Areva* and GE-Hitachi, regarding cooperation in related nuclear areas.

(source: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/UAE_nuclear_power_inf123.html)

Sites With Nuclear Facilities

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