The IAEA has been supporting nuclear ‘newcomers’ in the infrastructure areas as outlined in the IAEA Milestones approach. A more customized workshop approach, as conducted in the UAE, will be used to support Member States in stakeholder involvement in all phases of nuclear power infrastructure development.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) had requested the workshop to support FANR, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), Nawah Energy Company, and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) in their stakeholder involvement and communication activities, as the country prepares to transition from construction to operation of its first nuclear power plant at the Barakah site.

“FANR is adopting highest standards of transparency in engaging with its stakeholders and the public,” said Christer Viktorsson, FANR’s Director General. “It is necessary to listen to the public and interact with their needs.”

The five-member IAEA team comprised experts from Argentina, Spain, the United States and the IAEA. The interactive workshop was tailor-made for the UAE and focused on how to effectively engage with stakeholders in certain anticipated events, such as the issuance of the operating licence for the first nuclear power reactor, its first fuel loading and its connection to the national electricity grid. Participants and experts discussed existing procedures and potential challenges, sharing examples, case studies and lessons learned.

Anthony Stott, workshop Team Leader and Senior Nuclear Engineer in the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, underscored the importance of stakeholder involvement and communication throughout the lifecycle of nuclear power programmes by all involved organizations as a key message of the IAEA.

“Transparent and fact-based communication with the society at large, and coordination among organizations especially with regards to emergency preparedness and response, contributes to awareness and understanding and hence to the safe, secure and effective introduction of nuclear power programmes,” he said.