The UAE's Robust Radiation Protection Infrastructure

Nov 30, 2022

"The UAE made Significant Improvements towards Occupational Radiation Protection": this was the latest acknowledgement recently made by the Extended Occupational Radiation Protection Appraisal Service (ORPAS) Follow-up Mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) during its visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Such achievements are by no means a culmination of years of dedication, commitment by various national stakeholders in the UAE and especially after the foundation of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) in 2009 to regulate the nuclear and radiation sectors in the country and ensure the protection of the community and the public alike.

FANR, over the years, built a robust radiation protection infrastructure that caters for the growing needs of the UAE now and in future. It issued regulations and regulatory guides to licensed facilities, issued licenses for them to ensure radiation protection both medical and industrial facilities.  FANR, furthermore, contributed to the formation of the Radiation Protection Committee in 2011, comprising federal and local government entities to promote cooperation among various bodies and recommendations to improve radiation protection in the UAE.

In October 2022, The IAEA's ORPAS mission lauded the significant efforts by the various national stakeholders to strengthen the occupational radiation protection infrastructure. The international mission reviewed the legislative and regulatory infrastructure for Occupational Radiation Protection by visiting UAE government officials including FANR, the UAE Space Agency and others. It also reviewed the technical service providers such as the FANR's Secondary Standards Dosimetry Lab, which was reviewed for the first-time in the mission. It also visited the Barakah Nuclear Power plant as well as medical facilities.

The mission  also confirmed that the UAE addressed and closed all the recommendations and suggestions made in 2015 such as establishing the National Dose Registry, harmonizing health surveillance procedures, approval of dosimetry services as well as providing training for different stakeholders on radiation protection.

The IAEA underscored the UAE demonstrated strong commitment to enhance plans related to occupational radiation protection arrangements; appropriate and effective implementation of the national framework for radiation protection of workers. The mission underscored that Barakah Nuclear Power Plant developed and implemented a radiation protection programme that fully complies with national regulations and IAEA safety standards. The IAEA, furthermore, considered the UAE as the first Member State requesting the appraisal of the occupational radiation protection arrangement for its space programme, making the UAE a role model for other countries.

Since its setup 13 years ago, FANR has established the UAE's nuclear regulatory framework, which includes measures intended to protect workers who may be subject to radiation exposure in their workplace. Under such framework, FANR licenses all entities that use radiation-based technologies and ensures their compliance with regulations and a system of inspections and enforcement mechanisms.

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