The UAE has re-affirmed its commitment to develop its national nuclear programme to the highest standards of safety, security, non-proliferation and transparency.
Addressing the 62nd session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference here, Ambassador Hamad Alkaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA, commended the international agency's central role in supporting its Member States in their pursuit, development and sustainment of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and applications.
"The IAEA has a central role in supporting its Member States in their pursuit, development and sustainment of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and applications. My delegation commends the Agency's strong direction in providing technical support and providing a platform for international cooperation, as well as its relentless efforts in ensuring non-proliferation," he said.
The ambassador noted that the UAE is of the view that nuclear power as a clean source of energy is an important factor to meet growing energy demand and to achieve sustainable development goals.
Last October, UAE hosted the 4th International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, in Abu Dhabi. The conference was successful in highlighting challenges and prospects of nuclear power, and its essential role in mitigating climate change.
Alkaabi noted that the UAE is currently in the commissioning phase of its nuclear power programme, with construction of the first Unit at Barakah NPP now completed.
"Unit 2 is following closely at 93% completion; Unit 3 at 84% and Unit 4 at more than 75%. Barakah NPP construction and commissioning process is conducted in accordance with IAEA's guidance and international best practices , ensuring that Barakah NPP reflects the highest standards of operational safety, security, transparency and non-proliferation.
"In line with the UAE policy and commitments to develop the national nuclear programme to the highest standards of safety, security, non-proliferation and transparency, my country hosted 10 major IAEA peer review missions to date., most recently pre-OSART and INIR phase 3 missions . UAE encourages member states with existing or future plans for nuclear power to benefit from IAEA peer review missions."
The IAEA's Technical Cooperation Programme is an important channel for assistance to Member States, the ambassador added.
"UAE has received significant support through the TC Programme which supported the nuclear infrastructure development and capacity building required for nuclear power and applications including in sectors such as health, agriculture, and the environment. The IAEA has trained more than 5000 participants in various fields in the UAE in the past 10 years. It is important that the TC program receives the required support and funding to facilitate assistance to member states, which is at the core of the IAEA mandate.
"The UAE places utmost importance on maintaining the highest standards of nuclear safety. My country has subscribed to all international conventions in this area, and participates actively in the review process of both the Convention on Nuclear Safety, as well as the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. The UAE most recently submitted its Third National Report to the Sixth Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Joint Convention. My delegation notes here that Iran is the only country with significant nuclear activities that has yet to join the Convention on Nuclear Safety. We encourage Iran to join this important international instrument at an early date."
The ambassador underlined the UAE's support for IAEA efforts in the area of nuclear security. "My country supports the work of the IAEA through national actions and international cooperation. We look forward to the forthcoming International Conference on Nuclear Security. UAE supports the CPPNM and encourages member states to join and ratify this important instrument.
"Regarding IAEA verification measures, we are of the view that the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement is an important instrument to compliment the IAEA safeguards system. We welcome the progress reflected in the increased number of signed and ratified additional protocols. We encourage the Agency to continue its open dialogue with member states on strengthening the efficiency and effectiveness of the safeguards system."
On the agreement with Iran the ambassador said, "In relationship to the JCPOA concluded with Iran, my country, like many, has hoped that such Agreement would address long held nuclear concerns and moderate Iran's regional behavior. Unfortunately, this was not the case. We call on Iran to build further confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities and to refrain from the actions that continue to threaten the peace and stability of the region."
On the issue of the establishment of a Middle East nuclear weapons and other WMD free zone, Alkaabi said the UAE "hopes that the current NPT Review Cycle will achieve significant steps towards implementing the agreed Action Plan of 2010, and the convening of the Conference on the Middle East Nuclear Weapon and WMD Free Zone with the participation of all countries in the region without delay."
He reiterated that the UAE is keen to continue collaboration with the IAEA and its Member States in promoting the responsible peaceful use of nuclear energy and applications, as well as the IAEA's goals of ensuring and strengthening nuclear safety, security and safeguards.
"My delegation is grateful to Director-General Yukiya Amano and the Secretariat for the outstanding support and continuous cooperation with my country," the ambassador concluded.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs