Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, UAE’s Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), affirmed that the development of the country’s peaceful nuclear energy sector is a key component of its net-zero strategy, reflecting its commitment to diversifying its energy mix and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
“The nuclear power programme, which, along with renewable energy, will provide 14 GW of clean power for the UAE by 2030,” the Ambassador said while addressing the 67th session of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna.
He added, “As we approach the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), which will take place in the UAE from 30th November – 12th December 2023, we look forward to discussing the role of nuclear energy in tackling climate change and mitigating its impacts,” noting that the UAE’s decision to host COP28 reaffirms its commitment to tackling climate change issues proactively and at various levels.
“In 2023, the UAE updated its National Energy Strategy to include several new goals, including raising the percentage of clean energy in the total energy mix to 30 percent by 2031, and becoming carbon neutral by 2050,” Al Kaabi continued. “The path to net-zero emission systems needs a built-in climate resilience to guarantee the security of energy supply.”
Highlighting the IAEA Technical Cooperation (TC) Programme, he said it provides critical support to the Member States to develop the infrastructure and to build the capacity required for the nuclear energy programme and in other sectors, such as health, agriculture and the environment. “These efforts contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
Al Kaabi further noted that the UAE welcomes the active discussion of the role of SMRs and advanced nuclear technologies in achieving net zero and supporting energy security and sustainability, and supports the IAEA platform on SMRs and their Applications (SMR Platform) and the Nuclear Harmonisation and Standardisation Initiative (NHSI).
On 13th-16th February 2023, the UAE hosted the IAEA International Conference on Effective Nuclear and Radiation Regulatory Systems: Preparing for the Future in a Rapidly Changing Environment."
During the Conference the UAE announced the launch the UAE Professional Day of Nuclear and Radiation Sector Workers on 16th February, marking the day on which the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) issued a licence in 2020 to operate Unit 1 of the UAE's Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, Al Kaabi further explained.
He also underscored the UAE’s efforts to support the IAEA’s safeguards system, as it concluded Practical Arrangement with IAEA in March 2023 to provide project-related direct funding and in-kind contributions for the activities of the agency in support of safeguards development.
“I would like to stress that in order to maintain the vital role of the IAEA, it is imperative to provide the IAEA with the required funding. The UAE remains committed to a strong, ongoing partnership with the IAEA in our responsible approach to the development of a national nuclear power programme and to the use of nuclear applications,” Al Kaabi concluded.