Former Head of International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Hans Blix, Delivers Lecture on Nuclear Energy, Safety and Security

  • 18 March 2015

Khalifa University, in collaboration with the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), hosted the Head of the UAE’s Nuclear Programme Advisory Board and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, for a special talk on the importance of nuclear power at ECSSR on March 17, 2015.

Dr. Hans Blix's lecture, which came as part of Khalifa University’s Distinguished Speakers Series, focused on the importance of nuclear energy as a viable, clean fuel source that could not only solve the world’s energy problems, but also cut down substantially on greenhouse gas emissions, and other toxins produced by conventional fossil fuels.

Blix said, "In a world that is desperate for viable energy sources that cause low or no CO2 emissions, we need to make a sober consideration of our options. I am confident that nuclear power will see a great expansion, but I am troubled that it has not yet materialised."

In addition to discussing nuclear energy’s benefits and safety concerns, Dr. Blix also discussed security issues relating to its development, including the proliferation of nuclear arms, and the future of nuclear energy in the UAE.

"In the UAE, four (reactors) are now being built at the Barakah site on the Gulf. So far the work has been on schedule and on budget and four principles have governed and continue to govern the huge project: safety, security, transparency, and non-proliferation," said Dr. Blix. "It is a well prepared and ambitious project involving many thousands of people. It will result in a large electricity generating capacity serving both society and industry. Needless to say, it is challenging, especially in terms of providing educational institutions capable of creating the very skilled work force needed. The project has been said to be setting the gold standard for "new build" in states embarking on nuclear power. Use has consistently and wisely been made of advice from international institutions like the IAEA and from states with experience in nuclear power operation."

"Dr. Blix’s talk on the safe, secure development of nuclear power was both enlightening and inspiring," said Dr. Tod Laursen, Khalifa University President. "This is especially true for the Master’s in Nuclear Engineering students, and KU undergraduates taking the Nuclear Engineering minor, who will form part of this cadre of highly skilled workers that he discussed in his presentation. Khalifa University was chosen to offer the nuclear engineering program because of our dedication to research and development and to safety and security. With our highly skilled faculty and students, we are uniquely posed to enhance and support the UAE’s quest for supremacy in the nuclear energy arena."