The UAE will conduct a nuclear emergency exercise drill at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, authorities have announced.
During a media briefing on Monday, officials said the main events and scenarios of the Convex-3 ‘Baraka UAE’ will take place on October 26 from 7am.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s most complex nuclear emergency exercise, a 36-hour drill, seeks to test the country’s nuclear emergencies preparedness and response capabilities.
The exercise takes place every three to five years to test response capabilities and early notification protocols in cases of severe nuclear or radiological emergencies, in line with international emergency conventions.
The drill will require activating the response systems of various entities, as well as their measures and plans to protect the public and the environment.
This nuclear emergency exercise will be conducted under the supervision of the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), and in accordance with the regulatory framework of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).
Dr Thaer Al Ameri, director of responsiveness at NCEMA, said: “The exercise aims to highlight any potential areas of improvement in safety management of the plant and ensure it meets international standards.
“This exercise is aimed at showcasing our capabilities in handling nuclear or radiology emergencies. We are confident that this exercise will be a success and would strengthen our capabilities all the more.”
Aayda Al Shehhi, director of the Radiation Safety Department at FANR, said the exercise will involve the participation of more than 70 experts from various countries and 12 international organisations that will support efforts made in the country to reassure the public regarding their safety.
“Since it’s establishment, FANR has issued several laws regulating nuclear operations in the country to ensure safety of people and to protect the environment,” she said.
According to authorities, the exercise will not affect the operations of the power plant and residents will not experience power cuts.
According to the IAEA, the Convex-3 is designed to evaluate and improve its own and its Member States’ response arrangements and capabilities with regard to nuclear and radiological emergencies.
The Convex exercises are prepared at three levels of complexity. Convex-1 exercises are designed to test emergency communication links with contact points, such as phone, e-mails, and other electronic systems.
Seven hundred people in Al Dhafra area along with local organisations will take part in the exercise.
The Barakah power plant, the first in the Arab nations, started up in August last year when UAE authorities pushed the button on the first of four reactors.
The second unit of the country’s nuclear power plant was connected successfully to the national grid in September 2021.
Construction of the power plant, which is located in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra region, began in 2012.
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Units three and four are in the final stages of commissioning and are 95 per cent and 91 per cent complete respectively, according to authorities.
When fully operational, the four reactors at Baraka will generate 5,600 megawatts, around 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity needs.