International Advisory Council for the UAE Nuclear Program

  • 24 February 2010

Since the beginning of its plan to possess a nuclear program for peaceful purposes, the UAE has taken all steps to demonstrate its seriousness, responsibility and commitment towards the international standards on this issue. In this context, the recent announcement made by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs to establish an international advisory board – comprising several distinguished experts in nuclear sciences, non-proliferation, power generation and distribution and management of nuclear waste – should be seen as a step in the direction of providing the UAE nuclear program with expertise and knowledge in these fields. As this step confirms, the UAE’s first and foremost commitment is to adopt a transparent approach in its peaceful nuclear program and the country is keen to transform written commitment by the UAE’s general policy “in assessing and developing a program for peaceful nuclear energy” into tangible policies on the ground.

There is no doubt that the presence of an international advisory board for nuclear program, comprising experts in the field of nuclear energy – headed by Hans Blix who was the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1981 to 1997 – would instill more confidence in this program and leave no suspicion about its peaceful intentions. This is more so because the work-in-progress reports, issued by the board, will be made available for public perusal and will not be kept confidential as the UAE has nothing to hide, or is afraid of, in this matter.
The setting up of this board also reflects the country’s desire to benefit from international expertise in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It wants the highest international standards adopted in this project due to the great importance the UAE’s leadership has attached to the cause of peaceful nuclear energy as it is linked to the country’s present and future development plans. This is also a step in the direction of environment conservation and leading scientific initiatives in the field of renewable and clean energy.

Thirdly, putting in place an international advisory board reaffirms the UAE’s keenness to continuously follow up on the nuclear project, monitor its implementation and development and ensure that it is able to achieve the desired objectives with maximum efficiency. One of the tasks of the board will be to receive, during its annual meetings, reports updating the project status and to submit recommendations on issues that require development based on these reports.

In light of the aforesaid developments, it is natural that the different stakeholders at various levels would look at the UAE’s nuclear program as an example to be followed regionally and internationally. This will be a model for those countries that wish to possess nuclear energy for development purposes without threatening the international system that deals with nuclear proliferation.‮