The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, being held this week in Abu Dhabi. It was signed by Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA deputy director-general and head of the agency’s department of nuclear energy, and Tod Laursen, interim president of Khalifa University. The signing was witnessed by IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano and UAE Energy Minister Suhail Mohammed Faraj Al Mazrouei.
The agreement marks the beginning of a four-year period of close cooperation between the university and the IAEA on implementing activities in the field of nuclear power infrastructure and human resources development, the IAEA said. In particular, Khalifa University will support IAEA activities on enhancing member states’ capabilities in building and assessing the infrastructure required for a nuclear power programme, as well as developing critical competencies required for infrastructure development.
Signing the agreement on behalf of the IAEA, Chudakov said: “The cooperation will enable professionals from embarking countries to benefit from the know-how which the UAE has developed in building its infrastructure, licensing and constructing its first nuclear power plant in line with the IAEA Milestones approach.”
Laursen said, “We are honoured by the IAEA designation as an IAEA Collaborating Centre.” He added, “Since I signed our first Practical Arrangement with the IAEA in 2010, we have engaged with the IAEA on human resources development through our Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute (GNEII) programme and by hosting the 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.”
Under the agreement, Khalifa University, in collaboration with the IAEA, will develop and implement specific courses, including modules for the GNEII programme, to train professionals in nuclear safety, security, safeguards, stakeholder involvement, legal and regulatory framework and other areas. A fellowship programme, including mentoring, will help fellows gain experience in specific areas of interest in embarking countries. In addition, the university – which was established in 2007 – will provide experts to support review missions, training courses and technical meetings organised by the IAEA.
The university’s activities as an IAEA Collaborating Centre will be supported by organisations involved in the UAE’s nuclear power programme, such as the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Nawah Energy Company, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority and the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority.
The IAEA Collaborating Centres Scheme provides the IAEA with a mechanism to designate eligible member state institutions as partners that assist it in implementing its selected programmatic activities. The scheme – focusing on research, development and training – was launched on three-year pilot basis in 2004, before being fully implemented in 2008.
The IAEA Collaborating Centre Agreement is a legally binding document signed by both parties, which contains, inter alia, the undertakings of the parties, duration of designation, objectives, activities, and expected results and outcomes stated in the work plan.
There are now over two dozen active IAEA Collaborating Centres around the world working on areas such as environment; food and agriculture; human health; water resources; radioisotope production and radiation technology; nuclear science; and, nuclear security.