The United Arab Emirates is taking part in the fourth edition of the International Conference on Nuclear Security: Shaping the Future, which is organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 20th-24th May in its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. It is being held in accordance with the resolution GC (66)/RES/7 adopted at the 66th General Conference in September 2022, which called for the continuation of organising the ICONS every four years.

The conference aims to raise awareness about nuclear security topics to maintain and strengthen national nuclear security regimes for nuclear and other radioactive materials. It seeks to share nuclear security experiences, achievements, and current trends amongst member states. The conference is considered a global platform for ministers, policymakers, senior officials and nuclear security experts to discuss the future of nuclear security worldwide, whilst providing opportunities for exchanging information, sharing best practices and fostering international cooperation.

The UAE delegation, led by Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA, includes various national stakeholders such as the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), National Guard Command, National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, Abu Dhabi Police, Dubai Police, Abu Dhabi Civil Defence Authority, The Emergencies, Crisis and Disasters Management Centre - Abu Dhabi and Nawah Energy Company.

Al Kaabi delivered the UAE National Statement in which he underscored the strong relationship that binds the IAEA and the UAE. The IAEA-UAE’s robust partnership is reflected in strong support over the past decade, assisting the country in developing a peaceful nuclear programme that meets the highest standards in nuclear safety, security, and non-proliferation.

“The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Programme has become a role model for being built and operated with excellence, and adhering to the highest standards of safety, security, and safeguards. Such a milestone reflects the unwavering government commitment in the UAE, coupled with the strong cooperation with our national and international partners that made us where we are today,” Ambassador Al Kaabi said.

Over five days, the conference will address various themes including policy, law and regulations for nuclear security; technology and infrastructure for nuclear security prevention, detection and response as well as capacity building.

During the conference, FANR will present four technical papers over the course of the conference to highlight the UAE’s experience in implementing nuclear security measures during Expo 2020 Dubai and COP28; the evaluation of Small Modular Reactors' Implications on Nuclear Security; as well as the challenges and benefits of technologies used for nuclear power plants and compliance assurance for safe and secure transport of radioactive material. It also includes a poster related to the regulatory programme for non-nuclear facilities, which assesses safety, security and safeguards.

Furthermore, the UAE delegation will take part in two side events: the first side event entitled “Nuclear Facilities in Times of Crisis” during which the UAE will highlight its recommendations for improving the resilience of nuclear facilities in a world that faces growing risks and climate change impacts. The second side event “Educating the next generation of nuclear security professionals to meet future global demands: in which the UAE will showcase the capacity-building needs of nuclear security at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant as well as the cooperation with educational institutions inside and outside the UAE.

Moreover, the UAE delegation will hold a number of bilateral meetings with international stakeholders and other member states to discuss cooperation opportunities and exchange views on various related to nuclear security.

In addition, FANR will chair a technical meeting: “Regulations for the Future: Adapting and Implementing Regulatory Frameworks for Materials and Facilities”, during which IAEA Member States will present its efforts to prepare for the future in terms of regulations and anticipate the growing needs of the nuclear sector to achieve both energy security, mitigate the climate change, while maintaining the security of nuclear material.