The Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research in Abu Dhabi has been designated as an International Atomic Energy Agency Collaborating Centre under a cooperation agreement signed on 30 October with the IAEA on the sidelines of the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century in Abu Dhabi.
The agreement launches four years of "close cooperation" between the university and the IAEA. Khalifa University will support IAEA activities to enhance member states' capabilities to build and assess the infrastructure required for a nuclear power programme, as well as developing critical competencies needed for infrastructure development.
Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA deputy director-general and head of the IAEA's department of nuclear energy, said: "The cooperation will enable professionals from embarking countries to benefit from the know-how... the UAE has developed in building its infrastructure, licensing and constructing its first nuclear power plant in line with the IAEA Milestones approach."
Under the agreement, Khalifa University and the IAEA will develop and implement courses, including modules for the Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure (GNEII) programme, in nuclear safety, security, safeguards, stakeholder involvement, legal and regulatory framework, among others. A fellowship and mentoring programme will help fellows gain experience in specific areas of interest in embarking countries. The university will also provide experts to support review missions, training courses and technical meetings organised by the IAEA.
Khalifa University was established in 2007 as an independent, non-profit institution for higher education and research in technology and science, and has been working with the IAEA since 2010. Tod Laursen, interim president of Khalifa University, said that the university has worked with IAEA on human resources development through the GNEII programme and by hosting joint UAE-IAEA Nuclear Energy Management Schools. "We look forward to enhancing our offerings in this area, both within the UAE and to support other IAEA member states," Laursen said.
The university's activities will be supported by organisations involved in the UAE's nuclear power programme, including the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), Nawah Energy Company (the operator of Barakah), and others.
The IAEA Collaborating Centres Scheme aims to promote the practical use of nuclear techniques worldwide and help the IAEA implement its own programmatic activities. The scheme was launched on a three-year pilot basis in 2004, before being fully implemented in 2008. Currently, there are 25 active IAEA Collaborating Centres in 20 countries.
Photo: Agreement on the establishment of The Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research as an IAEA Coordinating Centre. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)