Despite the economic advantages of having the nuclear facilities there is a potential risk of accidents occurring at the nuclear sites leading to release of radioactive materials, which is dangerous considering the health of the people working in the nuclear plants and those living in the neighborhoods.
There is the need to regulate these installations to ensure the protection of public from potential danger to their health, in case of any emergency. Although the probability of an emergency occurring in a nuclear site is low, one cannot eliminate the possibility altogether.
In case such emergencies occur at nuclear installations of certain types, precautionary protective actions need to be taken on an urgent basis at the site as well as at any neighboring places. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has prescribed certain standard procedures to be followed by the member countries in case of nuclear emergencies including release of radioactive substances.
Based on the guidance of IAEA several countries have formed their own emergency preparedness procedures supported by relevant regulations. In this context, this paper attempts to recommend possible improvements to the emergency preparedness plan in an emergency like radiation release in the country of UAE.
Background of the Research
In view of the decision of the government of UAE to construct nuclear plants for power generation, it has become essential that there needs to be an effectiveness preparedness program to protect the public from any nuclear emergency.
The emergency preparedness to protect against nuclear emergencies is important because some nuclear accidents in the past in locations like Chernobyl and Three Miles Island have created devastating effects on the health of the people.
The Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR) in the UAE has already prepared a draft regulation governing the emergency preparedness in nuclear facilities. In order to improve the effectiveness of the preparedness plans, FANR has exhibited the draft regulations to the public for attracting their opinion on them (Khaleej Times, 2010).
It also becomes necessary to make a critical review of the preparedness plan recommended by FANR, to evaluate its suitability to the country of UAE, because of the peculiar political, geographical and natural conditions prevailing in the country.
In addition, there are other examples of detailed emergency preparedness plans as recommended by International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) and plans adopted by various other countries, which can form the foundation for the preparation of an effective emergency preparedness plan for the UAE.
“Factors that affect protective action decisions include plant conditions, competing events, weather, evacuation times, shelter factors, how quickly an incident develops, how short-lived a release of radiation may be, and other conditions,” (U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, July 2010).
The plans prepared and implemented by countries like United Kingdom and United States offer better comparative preparedness plans for basing the preparedness plans for the UAE. However, the preparedness plans for these countries are to be reviewed, critically with regard to their suitability to the UAE before any of the features of these plans can be adopted for implementation in UAE.
Waugh (1988) has identified certain general impediments to emergency preparedness at the organizational level. These impediments include
- the intractability of the disaster by the organization at the overall level,
- absence of clear and measurable objectives with respect to performance of the organization,
- lack of sufficient resources,
- lack of adequate levels of support to meet the preparedness requirements
- lack of adequate guidance and expertise from the higher echelons of government.
Many jurisdictions including the UAE face such types of problems. Recommending a suitable preparedness plan for nuclear emergency in the UAE requires the consideration of different natural, geographical and environmental factors affecting the emergency preparedness plans.
In this connection this research among other things, reviews the nuclear emergency preparedness that have been implemented in other countries as well as the one recommended by IAEA to consider their suitability to the conditions prevailing in the UAE. The research also analyzes the plan as recommended by FANR to assess the effectiveness of the plan.
Aims and Objectives
The main aim of this research is to study the preparedness methods and procedures adopted by the country of UAE and to make suitable recommendations for improving its suitability to protect the public against the potential risk of radiation release from the nuclear installations in an emergency. In the process of achieving this central aim the research attempts to achieve the following objectives.
- To make an in-depth study of the emergency preparedness plans in the UK and USA including the recommendations of IAEA
- To compare the emergency preparedness procedures and methods of the UK, the USA and the recommendations of IAEA and report on the differences between the emergency preparedness plans
- To study and present the peculiar circumstances affecting the nuclear emergency preparedness in the UAE by comparing and contrasting them with the emergency preparedness in the UK, the USA and the recommendations o the IAEA
- To study and report the suggested outcome of the preparedness plan for the UAE
- To evaluate the current emergency preparedness plans of the UAE
- To recommend suitable improvements to preparedness plan for the UAE considering the peculiar environment and other factors
This research follows the research methods of secondary research and interview method,
The researcher conducted interviews with eminent professionals in the global nuclear industry. The interviewees included
Lynn Marie Hubbard, PhD., – Head of the emergency preparedness and response section, in Swedish radiation safety authority (SSM): In the interview with the Swedish expert, the suggestion of making an urgent meeting of different experts, in the case of a radiation to find out the causes of release and to discuss the corrective actions to be taken to maintain the radiation level was discussed.
It was considered that the meeting may be conducted in a meeting room within the regulatory body. It was pointed out in the interview that the Swedish regulatory authorities have established a special room called “crisis emergency room,” which is shielded by material against electromagnetic waves.
Raymond Rutherford, Nuclear safety engineer, Nuclear safety group, Hunterston B power station, British Energy. In this meeting the researcher discussed the need for the other controlling room outside the nuclear power plant, to be established in a totally isolated condition to control the operations of the nuclear power plant in case of an emergency.
Another point of discussion was the use of up to date and latest technology. It evolved in the discussion, that when the nuclear plant has become old, it may be difficult to modernize the plant.
This is because the people connected with the older plants may be afraid to bring any change in the operating conditions; but in the case of UAE, since the power plants are going to be installed new, they can think of implementing new and latest technology.
Walid A. El-Mowafi – Emergency Specialist, Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, UAE – in the interview with the UAE Emergency Specialist, the researcher discussed in general about the UAE preparedness methods and the responsibility of different authorities.
The following diagram shows the methodology followed by the researcher in achieving the objectives of the research.
As the first step, the study will present a discussion on the current nuclear emergency preparedness plans of the United Kingdom and the United States as well as on the recommendations of the IAEA in this connection. This discussion will enable achieving objective (1) which is to make an in-depth study of the emergency preparedness plans in the UK and USA including the recommendations of IAEA.
The second step in the research is to make a comparative study of the emergency preparedness plans of the UK, USA and the recommendations of the IAEA.
This review will present the similarities and differences in the emergency plans of these countries and IAEA to achieve the objective (2), which is to compare the emergency preparedness procedures and methods of the UK, the USA and the recommendations of IAEA and report on the differences between the emergency preparedness plans.
In the second step, it is proposed to prepare and present a table showing the different attributes affecting the emergency preparedness plans, the courses adopted by IAEA, USA and UK for meeting the requirements and the possible reasons for variations in the procedures adopted by these agencies.
The next step in the research is to discuss the uniqueness of the UAE with respect to its environmental, geographic, demographic and political considerations, which have a significant impact on the nuclear emergency preparedness plans of the country. The analysis in this step will show the points of similarities and differences in the circumstances.
This will help to achieve the objective (3) which is to study and present the peculiar circumstances affecting the nuclear emergency preparedness in the UAE by comparing and contrasting them with the emergency preparedness in the UK, the USA and the recommendations o the IAEA. In this step, the environmental circumstances affecting the nuclear emergency preparedness in the UAE will also be examined.
As the next step in the research process, the outcome of the comparison of the impact of the circumstances in the UAE on the preparedness plans of the UK and the USA will be analyzed and reported, which will help achieving the objective (4), which is study and comment on the outcome of the preparedness plan for the UAE.
In the next step of the research, the nuclear emergency plan currently followed in the country of UAE as suggested by the FANR will be discussed, and compared with the suggested outcome of the preparedness plan derived in the last step.
A comparison of the recommendation of the FANR and the suggested outcome plan will throw the deficiencies in the FANR plan. This will help in achieving objective (5) which is to evaluate the current emergency preparedness plans of the UAE.
Before making the recommendations for improving the emergency preparedness plan for the UAE, a critical review of the nuclear emergency preparedness plan for the UAE as suggested by FANR will be included.
As the final step of the research plan, proposals for suitably amending the current nuclear emergency preparedness plan for the country of UAE taking into account the peculiar conditions associated with the country will be presented.
In making this recommendation, the knowledge gained from the interviews will be applied to make the recommendations so that the UAE preparedness plan becomes most suitable and comparable to international standards.
Data Collection and Analysis
This research has used secondary research and interview method to collect the required data to complete the study. Marshall and Roseman (1995), state any qualitative research is based on collection of data from different sources and the data collected from those sources form the basis to report the findings of the study and to make recommendations.
Yin (1984) identified different sources like “archival records, direct observations, interviews, and observation of the participants,” which can be used in conducting qualitative research. The data collection method for current research includes interviews and secondary research. While using secondary research, the researcher can use archival records and other documents for data collection.
Secondary data is collected from existing sources, where the data is collected by someone else for a different purpose (Proctor, 2005). Secondary sources comprise of information and data collected from prior research studies on the research topic, professional journals, and other data sources available on Internet. The secondary data will enable the researcher to collect volume of theoretical information on the research topic.
Data required for the current study is retrieved from different sources available on Internet on the emergency preparedness procedures recommended by IAEA and, which are followed by countries like the UK and USA.
Since the study depended on a comparative analysis of the preparedness procedures of different countries and a comparison of them to check the suitability to the conditions prevailing in the UAE, the research has to extend to a number of resources dealing with the topic.
A review of the relevant literature was undertaken to add to the existing knowledge about nuclear preparedness and the researcher was able to draw volume of information from the findings of the previous research.
The interview with the Swedish expert related to the formation of a crisis emergency room, where all the regulators and experts can meet to discuss the causes of accident and the likely remedial action. The British expert appraised the researcher about the need for a controlling room in the nuclear power plant, which it totally isolated to control the power plant in case of emergency.
The interview of the researcher with the emergency specialist in the UAE centered round the preparedness methods in the UAE context and the responsibility of different authorities in this connection. In general, the researcher was able to draw much useful information that helped achieving the objectives of the research effectively.
Significance of the Study
Generally, stringent safety standards govern the design, construction, commissioning and operation of nuclear power plants (Deolalikar, 2008). These standards ensure that the plants are operated without undue radiological risks to the employees of the plant as well as to the public. It is also the responsibility of the government to suggest a suitable emergency preparedness plan.
There needs to be a complete understanding of the technical and other information concerning the many aspects of large-scale radiological response in particular giving due weight to different natural factors affecting such responses, for drafting and implementing a suitable preparedness plan for meeting any nuclear emergency in a country.
Although an emergency preparedness plan for the protection of the people in the UAE has been evolved by the FANR, the effectiveness of the plan needs a critical evaluation by comparing the plan to the plans adopted in other countries.
In the opinion of the researcher, the present recommendations for nuclear emergency preparedness need to take into account the impact of some of the factors unique to the conditions prevailing in the UAE, in drafting the plan. This study looks in to the emergency preparedness plan of the UAE from a comparative and analytical angle to identify any gaps and suggest improvements to make the plan foolproof.
One of the assumptions of this study is that the federal government has the quintessential responsibility for preparing all levels of government for responding in the fittest way to a nuclear emergency.
Therefore, the federal government has the mandate to look into every aspect that affects the preparedness plan. From that perspective, this study becomes significant, as it assesses all the factors affecting the emergency preparedness plan in the UAE to face the nuclear emergency.
Structure of the Report
This research pertains to offering suggestions to improve the suitability of the preparedness procedures and methods to be adopted by the UAE, taking into account the natural, geographical and environmental conditions of the country for protecting the personnel and the public against any nuclear emergency. In order to make the research findings comprehensive, this report is structured to have different chapters.
Chapter one introduces the topic of study and lays down the aims and objectives of the current research. This chapter also contains the background and significance of the research. Chapter Two reviews the emergency preparedness procedures followed by IAEA and countries like United Kingdom and United States and it presents a comparative analysis.
This chapter reviews other published work in connection with nuclear emergency preparedness, with the objective of improving the existing knowledge on the subject. This chapter also reviews the preparedness procedures of the UAE.
Chapter Three reviews the operational environment of nuclear installations in the UAE, including natural, political and geological environments in the UAE affecting the implementation of the preparedness plans for any nuclear emergency in the country. Because of the unique geographical position and environmental characteristics of the UAE, such a review becomes necessary to complete the research.
Chapter Five presents the recommendations for improving the emergency preparedness plan for the UAE with reasoning for the recommendation, based on an analytical review of the different preparedness methods reviewed by the study. This chapter also forms the concluding chapter of the research report.
Review of the Existing Emergency Preparedness Procedures
The purpose of this chapter is to present an overview on the preparedness on nuclear emergency that is practiced currently by different nations like the United States and the United Kingdom, which will form the basis for recommending an appropriate preparedness procedure for UAE.
The review covers the guidelines proposed by IAEA for its member countries and the preparedness programs of United States and the United Kingdom.
A comparison of the preparedness procedures adopted by the United States and the United Kingdom is attempted, to provide an evaluation of the methods so that the preparedness methods and procedures that the UAE should adopt to protect against the radiation release in emergencies can be arrived at. This review presents the best practices for meeting the nuclear emergencies by the UAE.
Recommendations by IAEA
As recommended by IAEA, the nuclear emergencies are classified into (i) nuclear emergencies and (ii) radiological emergencies. A nuclear or radiological emergency may be caused by natural or technological factors during nuclear power generation.
Criminal or malicious activities like theft, sabotage and terrorist attacks are some of the reasons for the emergencies in nuclear plants. The following sections detail the preparedness programs recommended by IAEA for any nuclear and radiological emergency.
Preparedness Plans before Building or Licensing
The following are the actions necessary before granting any license to build and operate nuclear power plants.
In general, it is the responsibility of the states to ensure that a nuclear facility is located in thinly populated areas. The location of the nuclear plant in such a low-population zone is important to ensure that only limited number of people from the public receive the dose of radioactive material under normal and accident conditions.
This level is to be maintained at “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) levels. In order to meet this objective, IAEA recommends the division of the area around the nuclear power plant into three categories. They are:
- Exclusion zone: This zone comes under the control of the operating organization. There must be clear prohibition applied for public inhabitation,
- Sterilized zone: These zones are annuls around the exclusion zone. This zone has the potential for extensive contamination in case of a severe accident,
- Emergency planning zone: EPZ includes a certain radius around the plant and provides for the area for decision-making for implementing measures in the event of an off-site emergency.
Designing and Building of Nuclear Power Plants
In general, nuclear power plants are to be designed, constructed, commissioned and operated strictly in accordance with stringent nuclear safety standards prescribed through legislations of the jurisdiction concerned (Deolalikar, 2008).
The objective of these standards is to ensure that the nuclear power plants develop emergency response plans in accordance with international standards. According to McLoughlin (1985: p 169), the planning process provides the ability to take prompt and effective action during an emergency.
It is important that all nuclear power plants establish and document emergency procedures established based on an on-sire emergency preparedness plan. The responsibility for off-site emergency preparedness needs to be entrusted with the appropriate local authority.
The plans should contain the functions, accountability and detailed planning for the different organizations, which are expected to take action during emergencies. Parr (1987: p 151) argues that plans for higher probability hazards like fires are adequately developed than the emergency planning for addressing preparedness for disastrous events.
Allocation of Responsibilities for Emergency Preparedness
The IAEA safety guide recommends the allocation of responsibilities at three different levels
The guidelines consider an operator to be an individual who may be qualified to operate equipment containing dangerous sources. The individual may be given the responsibility to decide and declare the class of emergency and notify the off-site officials. He may also provide the offsite officials recommendations on the necessary protective actions and offer technical assistance if there is the need.
For this purpose, the operator has to maintain an ongoing communication with off-site officials. The operator can provide maximum assistance to the off-site officials in keeping the public informed and help in countering false information and inappropriate reactions from the public.
If possible, the operator can also provide radiological monitoring and necessary technical advice in the matter of protection against the emergency (IAEA Safety Standards, 2007).
Next in line is the allocation of responsibilities at the off-site level. The governments should establish organizations or agencies to perform emergency response actions off the nuclear site. IAEA recommends that the organizations and agencies having off-site responsibilities should include local officials, medical practitioners and national and regional officials.
As per the recommendations made by IAEA, the member countries should establish an organization to act and react at the international level. This organization is to be made responsible for providing the international assistance, as laid down by the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organizations. In addition, there must be a national coordinating authority for emergency preparedness.
This coordinating authority may be a new governmental organization established by the state concerned or an existing organization. The national coordinating authority has the responsibility for making threat assessment for threats that are likely to arise within the State.
The coordinating authority must ensure that there is clear allocation of functions and responsibilities to the operators and response organizations in off-site. The authority must also ensure that operators and organizations understand the roles and responsibilities unambiguously (IAEA Safety Standards, 2007).
Use of Media
The governments should use the media to the maximum extent possible to disseminate the information and procedures to meet any nuclear emergency.
The media presentation should be made in such a way to educate the people about different aspects of nuclear emergency and the ways in which the people should react to protect themselves. The media presentations should explain about the need for evacuation and sheltering of people and should detail the procedures that the agencies are likely to follow in case there is the need for evacuation or sheltering.
Preparedness Plans during Emergency
There should be adequate arrangements made for protecting the workers against the impact of any radioactive materials. The absence of arrangements for meeting any emergency, which could facilitate a coordinated response for onsite protection within minimum time possible, will lead to delays in taking the emergency precautions.
This calls for the prompt identification of the potential radiological emergency and deciding on the appropriate level of response. The operator should declare the actual class of emergency, which “shall promptly initiate the appropriate level of co-ordinated and preplanned emergency response on and off the site.
The responsibilities and initial response actions of all response organizations shall be defined for each class of emergency” (IAEA Safety Standards Series, 2002). The operator can determine the emergency action levels taking into account the full range of postulated emergencies.
For meeting radiological emergencies it is important that countries develop default “Organizational Intervention Levels” (OILs) as a part of the process of preparedness.
This is required for determining whether the current levels of exposure, rates or contamination requires the initiation of protective action in the event of a radiological emergency. The OILs that need to be developed must cover protection of public by all means like evacuation, iodine provision and immediate medical treatment (IAEA Safety Standards).
The nuclear installations have to undertake different actions in an emergency. These include notifying people, giving alerts to the personnel of the organization and to people in appropriate government agencies.
They also need to assess the situation and to take necessary actions for rectification, improvement, guarding and controlling the contamination. There should be an emergency response manual developed by all the licensees which provides for the detailed emergency measures.
Communication with Close Countries
Any country, which is facing a nuclear emergency, should remain in close contact with the neighboring countries about the progress of the protective measures that are being undertaken by the country.
There should be effective and close communication between the countries to avoid the spreading of the effect of radioactive materials to the neighboring countries.
Planning for Emergency Preparedness in the United States by NRC
In the United States, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly provide the guidance for the development of protective action recommendations for severe reactor accidents.
Preparedness Plans before Building or Licensing
NRC has defined two “emergency planning zones” (EPZs) located near the nuclear facility. The size and configuration of the planning zones will vary for each plant. “The exact size and configuration of the zones vary from plant to plant due to local emergency response needs and capabilities, population, land characteristics, access routes, and jurisdictional boundaries” (U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, July 2010).
First is the “Plume Exposure Pathway”, which extends about ten miles around a nuclear facility. The preparedness plan for this zone must take care of the danger to the people caused by radioactive materials spread through air.
Second is the “Ingestion Pathway”, which includes areas within fifty miles near a nuclear facility. The protection planning for this zone covers the eating of food and taking of any drinks polluted by the radioactive materials.
Designing and Building of Nuclear Power Plants
Each of the operators is required to include in its emergency plans, a standard emergency classification and Emergency Action Level (EAL). “An EAL is a pre-determined, site-specific, observable threshold for a plant condition that places the plant in an emergency class,” (U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, July 2008).
NRC has provided guidance for developing or changing a standard emergency classification and action level. The Regulatory Guide also provides for “Emergency Response Planning and Preparedness for Nuclear Reactors.”
Allocation of Responsibilities for Emergency Preparedness
Department of Energy (DoE) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) share the major responsibilities in the case of nuclear emergencies. The DoE has established an Accident Response Group (ARG). The ARG comprises of nuclear professionals and implements required for sending to the location of a nuclear emergency.
ARG has the responsibility to assist the On Scene Commander (OSC) in mitigating accidents involving radioactive materials. FEMA is made responsible for the coordination of response actions among Federal agencies. FEMA also takes care of assistance requests from State and Local Governments.
Information to the Public
During a nuclear emergency, the licensee has to adopt the following procedure in different levels of emergencies. This includes informing the public on “abnormal happening”, which might lead to probable dangerous consequences, “alert”
where there might be real or expected reduction in the safety level of the nuclear site, “site Area Emergency”, which is likely to affect substantially the working of the organization, and “general emergency”, which is of high magnitude involving real or potentially significant effect on the nuclear facility (U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2010).
NRC Recommendations for Protective Actions during Emergency
As a first step towards protection, the personnel belonging to the respective nuclear power plant evaluates the prevailing plant conditions. Based on the evaluation, the personnel responsible for protective action recommend to the state and local government authorities suitable actions that need to be taken for the protection of the public (Vamanu et al. 2006).
Evacuation and sheltering are considered as the primary protective actions that can be undertaken in the case of a radiological emergency. In addition to migration and covering of the people, the organizations may consider people consuming potassium iodide (KI) to protect the people.
In a number of emergencies, migration is the preferred action, which involves physical removal of the people from subjecting to additional danger. Evacuation does not always calls for the removal of all the people residing in the 10-mile zone around the nuclear facility.
Normally, the discharge of dangerous nuclear substance in an accident is most likely to move along the direction of the wind. The release of radioactive material may tend to be diluted when it moves in the opposite direction from the nuclear site. Therefore, it is essential that evacuation is planned anticipating the path and intensity of release.
Sheltering is undertaken to reduce the exposure of the people to radioactive materials. Sheltering as a protective action can be resorted to when the discharge of dangerous nuclear substance is known to last only for a short time or it is expected to be managed by the staff of the licensee.
However, it must be kept in mind that sheltering people in structures close to a nuclear plant may not produce the desired result, when plume concentrations and dose consequences are likely to be highest during a major radioactive release and sheltering may not be effective in reducing the health hazards (Congel et al. 1996).
In the year 2001, NRC changed its preparedness planning provisions to include the use of potassium iodide (KI). When used with the appropriate guidance KI acts to lower the danger to the thyroid gland. This helps in reducing the incidence serious cancer in the organ of thyroid. NRC has advised that use of KI can be undertaken as a supplement to evacuation or sheltering.
Emergency Preparedness Planning in the UK
HSE has defined the “detailed emergency planning zone” for the application of the provisions of REPPIR, 2001. According to HSE
- “A DEPZ is provided around a nuclear installation, where there is the potential for an off-site release of radioactivity that would require implementation of countermeasures.
- The DEPZ is defined on the basis of the most significant release of radiation from an accident, which can be reasonably foreseen. In the event of an accident being larger than the reasonably foreseeable event, arrangements are in place for extending the DEPZ consistent with the concept of ‘extendability” (Health and Safety Executive, n.d).
Designing and Building
Both the Nuclear Installation Act, 1965 and the Radiation Preparedness and Public Information Regulations (REPPIR), 2001 govern the emergency preparedness and response before licensing of a nuclear power plant in the UK. It is essential that the applicant has to satisfy the license conditions and the requirements of REPPIR for getting the license.
According to License Condition C11, the licensee has to generate and own his own emergency preparedness plan. REPPIR has made it mandatory for the licensee to provide a report of assessment of the emergency preparedness plan to HSE/ND 12 months before commencement of work in the plant (Health and Safety Executive, 2008).
The UK National Emergency Planning Liaison Group (NEPLG) provides guidance on the emergency planning requirements.
Allocation of Responsibilities
According to REPPIR, the main duties of the local authorities include informing the public during a nuclear accident. They may be asked to disseminate any advance intimation to the people from the staff of the licensee. In respect of larger civil and defense, nuclear sites a “Strategic Coordination Center” (SCC) is established which is located in the local police headquarters.
There are “Strategic Coordinating Group meetings” involving all key organizations organized by the local police where decisions would be made on the actions to be taken to protect the public from any nuclear emergency. A “Government Technical Advisor” (GTA) is appointed by the government to attend the SCC and provide authoritative advice in the event of a nuclear accident.
The GTA is usually a senior official of the HSE-NII. In order to provide a communication link between the central government and the local agencies, a Government Liaison Officer (GLO) is appointed in the case of an accident in a civil nuclear site.
Provisions of Health and Safety at Work etc Act, 1974 contain the regulations for using best practices to prevent the emission of noxious substances. Detailed procedures to be adopted in case of nuclear emergencies are provided by the Ionizing Radiations Regulations, 1999.
The Regulations contain provisions regarding hazard identification, evaluation of risk, planning for the emergency and the public information. Before any radiation, work is carried out, the operator or carrier is required to make hazard identification and risk evaluation (Bines, n.d).
Information to Public
REPPIR has established a framework for the protection of the public by requiring the provision of information to public in advance in situations, where it is likely that a radiation emergency may arise (HSE, 2009). The regulations insist on the people who are involved in the transportation of radioactive materials in above the level of permitted quantities to evaluate the likely risks and send a report on the evaluation to the HSE.
Similarly, the licensed operators have to send a report to the “Nuclear Installations Inspector” (NII), who has the jurisdiction over the plant. The Local authorities must ensure that necessary preparations are undertaken to make the public know about the nuclear emergency.
Protection to Public
For the protection of public from the hazards of nuclear accidents, the UK government has authorized different authorities.
“Many organisations can make such measurements: operators of nuclear sites, the HPA, government departments, local authorities, universities and local medical physics departments.
Fixed radiation monitors around nuclear sites would detect and measure abnormal radiation levels. Monitoring of the general public living in the vicinity of a nuclear site would be conducted to provide reassurance to the public in the event of an accident” (Health Protection Agency, 2009).
There will be actions like sheltering and evacuation taken on the happening of an accident at the nuclear site, which results in release of radioactive materials. Potassium iodate tablets will be distributed for removing the radioactive iodine from the body.
Protection to Workers
National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) in the UK has recommended different protection needs of workers as compared with those aimed to protect public. “Workers are divided into three categories: those involved in making the plant safe, those involved in implementing measures intended to protect the public in the short term and those involved in long-term clean-up operations” (Morrey, 2006).
The board has advised that the first two classes of workers must be protected in such a way that they are not exposed to radiation more than the boundaries prescribed for workers’ protection. The workers engaged in the long-term clean-up services should be subjected to the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) system of dose limitation so that they are not exposed to a higher dosage.
Comparison of the Preparedness Procedures
There are no other emergencies, which precipitate the extreme evacuation behavior as it happens in the case of nuclear emergency (Zeigler et al, 1981). Because of this reason, it is important that UAE adopts a preparedness plan for any nuclear emergency, which incorporates the salient aspects of the preparedness methods adopted by the IAEA, NRC in the United States and HSE in the UK by making a comparison of these plans.
The licensing system in the UK is not prescriptive. While the HSE sets the general goals, the licensee is free to take any action it chooses to meet the targets. The licensee is under obligation to demonstrate that its approach is equivalent to the prescribed goals and that the costs required to implement the recommendations of HSE are excessive with licensee (HSE, 2002).
Another important consideration is that the safety culture in the HSE is based on the “ALARP” principle – As Low As Reasonably Practicable. This can be regarded as a pragmatic approach to safety rather than a more mechanistic checklist approach.
The nuclear regulator in the case of United States, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is independent from the government, with the commission appointed by the president of the country. In the case of UK, the “Health and Safety Executive (HSE)” is working under the “Health and Safety Commission (HSC)”, which in turn is a non-departmental public body under a shared responsibility of several government departments.
While the recommendations by IAEA has provided exhaustive procedures in respect of the preparedness plans before a license is granted and during an emergency including allocation of responsibilities among various authorities, the NRC recommendations do not elaborate on the allocation of responsibilities. In the case of UK, the responsibility for dealing with the emergency has been left to the police department at the local level.
While this might increase the alertness on the part of the local authorities, communicating with the public in an effective manner may also be facilitated. Surveys have found that more than 40 percent of the population believes that nuclear plant can explode just like nuclear bombs (Golding et al., 1995).
This makes the information to the public important. Both NRC as well as HSE has made provisions regarding emergency zoning has been done by keeping in mind the local environmental aspects, broadly in accordance with the zoning concept prescribed by IAEA.
The following section deals with the similarities and differences.
Points of Similarities and Distinction
Since United States geographically is a vast country with large landed areas, it is possible to locate the nuclear power plants in deserted areas, where there is no density of population. This advantage has made the country to approach the zoning issue with ease. On the other hand, the UK does not have many options to locate the nuclear plant away from the inhabitants, as the land area in the country is not as large as USA.
Therefore, UK had to make stricter regulations concerning the zoning aspect of the nuclear power plants in the country. So far as IAEA is concerned, the recommendations are neutral to any country and therefore the preparedness plans recommended by the agency provided for neither strict (like in the case of UK) nor loose (like in the case of USA) regulations concerning the zoning of nuclear power plants.
The safety regulations are much more in the UK, as the country cares more about risk and safety of the nuclear power plants. The country spends lot of time and efforts in ensuring that the nuclear plants are designed with utmost safety aspects. Whereas USA considers the nuclear power generation more as a business left in the hands of private enterprises.
Though insisting on adequate safety levels, the country is not too finicky about safety regulations as UK follows them. In fact, UK did not approve the US design APR 1400 for use in the plants constructed in the country, as the design did not meet the safety requirements and instead approved the use of the design EPR built by France.
Being a vast country with large areas, in the USA there is the potential to locate the nuclear power plants in far off places and most of the reactors are placed in locations, which are not densely populated. Therefore, the responsibility for meeting the emergency in case of radiation release lies largely with the operator, who will take necessary action to control the radiation and its effects.
Generally, a situation, where the public need to be protected is not expected to arise, as there will be no much people living close to the nuclear facilities. In the case of UK, the situation is different, where there may be nuclear facilities located in areas where there the population is dense and it may become necessary to protect them from the effects of radiation release.
The regulations provide for some responsibility for each of the authorities who will also live close by the nuclear power plants. The situation in the UK represents more of a collective responsibility for protection against nuclear accidents.
Use of Media
In case of nuclear emergency, UK is likely to use of more media for disseminating the information to the public, because of the reason that nuclear power plants in many cases may be located near to the residential areas.
However, in USA there may not be that high usage of media to provide information on the remedial actions for radiation release, since the power plants might be located far away from the residential areas. There will be no much need to inform the public.
Protection of Workers
Regulations and procedures for nuclear emergency preparedness in respect of protection to workers are more or less similar in both the UK and the USA.
Protection to Public
The nuclear emergency preparedness procedures covering the protection to the public existing in the UK and the USA are mostly similar and both the countries have taken necessary steps in this area.
UK has adopted strict legislation in respect of environmental protection and in many cases; the environmental agency has taken stringent action to ensure compliance with environmental regulations. The actions from the nuclear has extended to the extent of even stopping the operation of a nuclear power plant because of living creatures like frogs are found close to the power plant.
Though not strict to the extent as they are in the UK, there are legislations in the USA to apply restrictions on the nuclear power plants to ensure protection to the environment.
However, there have been continued criticisms and debates on the adequacy and effectiveness of these regulations in controlling the nuclear power plants in this respect. The lack in compliance to environmental regulations by many nuclear power plants has proved detrimental to the environment in the country.
Communication with Close Countries
The communication of UK with close countries in case of nuclear emergencies is more as compared to the United States, because of its membership in the European Union. Many other countries, which are members in the EU, are also involved in the power generation using nuclear power plants. This has created the space for close association among UK and these countries.
Because of the association, the UK and other countries are able to put lot of efforts in sharing their knowledge and information on the causes, effects and possible courses of action for mitigation of problems arising from accidental radiation releases. However, the position of United States is different in this respect, because there are only two countries surrounding the United States.
The outlook of the US towards these countries is more like that they are co-tenants. There is a large contingent of land area, which are at least twice all countries in the Europe. These countries have more knowledge and means to inform the public about the preparedness for any radiation release and they are not in a position to get or share information with other countries.
Moreover, IAEA will take care on the sharing of information on precaution against nuclear emergencies in countries having borders with many other countries; but not in the case of the USA, which is special in this respect.
To sum up there are only few aspects, in which the UK and USA have common procedures for emergency preparedness and similarly they differ from the recommendations of IAEA in many respects. The following table illustrates the preparedness of different authorities, with possible reasons for such differences. It may be noted that most of the differences are because of geographical reasons than any other reasons.
Another point to consider in this table is that in respect of the zoning, the wordings neutral, stricter and easier have been used to indicate the respective positions of the authorities. IAEA has made general recommendations for zoning without any specific context in view.
Therefore, it is considered “neutral”. Since UK has framed stringent regulations its position is “stricter” and United States conditions are not that strict as those of UK for zoning and hence it is indicated “easier”.
|Attributes||The preparedness of different authorities||Reasons of differences|
|IAEA||HSE, UK||NRC, USA|
|Zoning||Neutral||Stricter||Easier||In UK NPPs are to be located in smaller land area – hence tight zoning regulations |
In USA there is vast area NPPs are located in remote areas – hence zoning is not strict
|Design||Stricter||Stricter||Adequate||In UK the NPPs need to be located near residential areas- hence stricter |
In USA the NPPs are located in remote areas – Hence adequate
IAEA provides strict guidelines
|Responsibility||On both Government and Operators||Mostly collective responsibility||Mostly on the operators of NPPs||In UK location of NPPs near thickly populated areas- hence responsibility is collective |
In USA location of NPPs are in remote areas – Hence operator is more responsible
IAEA provides for responsibility on governments and operators
|Media issue||Provides for adequate information to public||High usage of Media||Lower usage of Media||Location of NPPs in thickly populated areas need higher media usage in UK |
Remoteness of the location of NPPs require lesser usage of Media
IAEA provides for adequate information to public
|Environment protection||Not dealt with in detail||Stringently regulated||Inadequate compliance||UK has stricter regulations for environmental protection. |
Though there are regulations in the US the compliance by NPPs is not adequate
|Communication with other countries||Significant insistence||High with EU countries||Low||Because of its association with EU UK has better communication with other European countries. |
Because of lesser border countries, USA has low level of communication with other countries
|Worker Protection||Significant insistence||Adequate and similar to the US conditions||Adequate and similar to UK conditions|
|Public Protection||Significant insistence||Adequate and similar to the US conditions||Adequate and similar to UK conditions|
Special Characteristics of the UAE
This chapter presents special characteristics of the UAE in the matter of nuclear emergency preparedness as compared to the procedures followed in the UK and the USA. This chapter leads to the development of a suggested outcome in the matter of emergency preparedness plans considering the special characteristics of the UAE.
UAE – a Background Note on Special Characteristics
United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a constitutional federation, established in December 1971. The federation has seven constituents known as emirates. The country extends to an area of 83,600 square kilometers.
Situated along the southeastern end of Arabian Peninsula the country has Qatar on the west and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the south and west. Sultanate of Oman borders the country on north and west. Abu Dhabi is the capital of UAE. The population of the country is estimated at around 4.9 million as of 2010. The country has deserts occupying four-fifths of its total area.
The following section provides the similarities and differences of the UAE in respect of the different aspects concerning nuclear emergency preparedness plans and procedures.
As far as the aspect of zoning is concerned, the UAE has similar characteristic as that of the UK, in which there are more countries like Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia, which are in association with it under GCC arrangement and which are in communication with each other on issues of nuclear emergency. The country does not have vast landed area like that of United States and only few border countries like the USA.
However, UAE has a lesser population as compared to the total area of the country. When compared to the UK, UAE has a lesser number of populations living per square kilometer; but more or less equal to the number of people per square kilometer in the USA. However, the population density is not exactly similar to the UK but similar to that as applied to the number of people per square kilometer in the Europe.
Based on the above analysis, it follows that the population concentration conditions in the UAE are more or less similar to the population density in the USA. However, the location factor of the UAE is different from that of US, as there more number of countries are bordering UAE than the US.
In this respect, UAE conditions appear to be similar to that of UK, because UK is located near other countries of the European Union and UAE is close to other Gulf countries.
Because of the population and location factors, the zoning regulations in the UAE may not be similar to either the UK or the USA, as the conditions of UAE differ from UK in respect of density and USA in terms of bordering countries. The recommendations of IAEA for zoning may not also suit the conditions of UAE, as the nuclear power plants in the UAE may be located near the oil fields.
The zoning recommendations of IAEA have not considered the safety of the workers of the oil industry, when the nuclear facilities are placed near the oil fields and refineries. Therefore, it is necessary that the zoning recommendations of IAEA need to be modified to consider this special feature of nuclear facilities in the UAE.
In the matter of design, the condition of UAE is closer to the recommendations of IAEA and the procedures followed by the UK. The government of UAE is keen on considering the safety of its people, in the establishment of nuclear facilities in the country.
Under the leadership of H.H. Sheik Kalifa, the government has made strict regulations for the safety of the citizens in the country in several fields including safety in nuclear power plants. The government established FANR with the objective of having a close control over the operations of the nuclear power plants and the nuclear power plants will be operated under strict supervision from FANR.
This implies that both the regulator and operator are under the control of the federal government working with the objective of service to the people rather than with business considerations (unlike the condition in the USA, where the nuclear facilities are operated mostly with business objectives). Therefore, UAE has maintained strict regulations concerning the design of the nuclear facilities.
We observed that the UAE conditions with respect to population concentration are similar to that of USA. The country is surrounded by other countries in the border and therefore more like UK in respect of its location issue. In addition, the nuclear power plants are to be located near the oil refineries and since the country is small in area, the other countries are susceptible to the perils of radiation release.
This condition is different from that of USA, as USA has a vast landed area and it is not surrounded by many countries. Therefore, UAE has to place more responsibility on the FANR and other government authorities for dealing with accidental radiation releases from nuclear power plants. It is imperative that the FANR should make stricter rules in this respect.
It is advisable that UAE follow the recommendations of IAEA for sharing the responsibility. The country may not follow the example of UK in this respect, as the country has lower concentration of population than the UK, which has applied stricter regulations involving too many authorities and legislations. Such extensive legislator environment may not be practical in the UAE context.
It is also not necessary to have too many authorities and regulations in the context of UAE as the country does not have a population concentration level as that of UK. Therefore, UAE can adopt the recommendations of IAEA for allocating the responsibility among authorities.
People in the UAE live in different locations in the deserts separated from each other by distance. This has given rise to establishment of small towns and settlements. However, the UAE conditions in this respect differ from those of USA because of the size, location of nuclear power plants and closeness of the plants to residential areas.
It is important that the information about any nuclear accident and preparedness is passed to the people living in these smaller towns. Therefore, UAE has to use more media than used by the USA but lesser than UK because of lower population concentration than in UK.
Protection to Workers
There can be no compromises on extending the protection to workers and therefore UAE has to follow the preparedness procedures in this respect similar to other countries providing utmost safety and protection to workers.
Protection to Public
Protection to public is an important issue arising from the operation of nuclear power plants and UAE has to follow the regulations and practices of other countries closely in the matter of extending protection to the public.
Under the regime of H.H. Zaid Bin Sultan, UAE government has made several regulations, for making the country free from many harmful gases and keep the environment clean. In this respect, UAE conditions are not similar to that of the USA, since USA has the highest percentage of population in the world affected by air pollution.
In the matter of radiation release and other environmental factors affected by the operation of the nuclear power plants, it is better for the UAE to follow the recommendations of IAEA, since UAE is committing considerable time, money and efforts in taking care of its environment. The environmental legislations in the UK are more stringent in the matter of environment protection.
The rules are so strict that they not only protect the environment, but also were also instrumental for stopping some of the nuclear power plants because of the presence of frogs near the nuclear facilities. Under UAE conditions, such strict environmental regulations cannot be enforced and it is not necessary in the light of the environmental protection measures already existing in the country.
Communication with Other Countries
The conditions of UAE are more similar to those of the UK in the matter of communicating with other countries. First, the country is small and surrounded by other countries in the border in the same way like UK. Second, UAE is in association with other Gulf countries in the GCC arrangement, as UK is a member of European Union.
This makes it obligatory and necessary on the part of the UAE to be in close communication with other countries. Apart from the special characteristics of the country, there is the operational environment, which affects the formulation of nuclear emergency preparedness plans. The following section deals with the operational environment of nuclear installations in the UAE.
Operational Environment of Nuclear Installations in the UAE
The characteristics of the natural, demographic and meteorological conditions have a strong influence on the operational environment of the nuclear facilities. First, the population distribution within the region plays a major role in determining the operational environment, with a need to pay special attention to density of the population in the proposed area.
The chances of atmospheric dispersion of radioactive material are enhanced by the meteorological qualities of the region. This quality is determined largely by the regional topography and other phenomena such as wind speed and direction, air temperature, humidity and atmospheric stability.
Evaluation of external events affecting the operation of the nuclear plants including the precedents of volcanisms, sand storms and other natural characteristics needs to be undertaken, before a decision on the operational site is taken.
There are other geotechnical hazards like slope instability, collapse, subsidence or uplift of the site surface, soil liquefaction and behavior of foundation materials, which might affect the environment and make the site unsuitable for locating a nuclear facility. It is necessary that the geotechnical characteristics of the surface materials are suitably investigated to find the impact on the operational environment.
Rare meteorological events such as lightning, tornadoes and tropical cyclones may also affect the operational environment and it is important to consider the effect of these UAE has to consider the impact of operational environment prevailing in the country on its ability to promote and implement successful nuclear emergency preparedness plans.
This includes consideration of the impact of natural environment, political environment and geological factors affecting the implementation of preparedness plans by the country.
The Arabian Peninsula is located in one of the most hostile climatic zones on the earth. This location feature results in extremely high summer temperatures, limited fresh water and high evaporation levels.
The geographical location of UAE lies in the barren tropical area extending across Asia and North African and contains four climatic zones including the coastal zone of Abu Dhabi, where the nuclear facility is proposed to be installed. Boer (1997) classifies the climate of this coastal zone as semi-barren to hyper-barren.
The climate of UAE is primarily hot and dry. It exhibits some qualities of hotness and humidity with a higher rate of relative humidity than in typical arid climates. Insolation, which measures solar radiation levels, is higher at this latitude as compared to the equator or equivalent south latitude (Givoni, 1976).
It is very important that the UAE government takes in to account the hot climatic conditions and its effect on the implementation of the preparedness plans for any nuclear emergency.
Extreme values of meteorological variables and rare meteorological phenomenon such as the values of wind, temperature and sandstorm are likely to have a serious impact on the radiation release in nuclear power plants. It is essential that the effect of these factors is considered, as they are most likely to increase the quantum of radiation (Deitrich, 2006).
The climatic conditions prevailing in the country are likely to have serious impact on the preparedness plans. For instance, the hot temperature during summer times will severely impact the movement of the workers and public during evacuation in an emergency. People may be affected by sunstroke while being transported. The workers will also find it difficult to move to shelters because of humid conditions.
There are several instances of construction laborers getting sunstroke during the hot months in the UAE while involved in their building works. Similar situations may arise in the case of workers of nuclear power plants if exposed to high humid conditions, while sheltering or evacuation during emergency.
Another point that needs consideration is that the nuclear power plants at the initial stages are most likely to employ Korean workers who were working under normal and cold temperatures. Exposing them to high temperatures, during emergency will delay the maintenance of the radiation release and this will hinder the progress of the recovery phase.
Summer winds extending from the southeast bring hot and dry conditions and sometimes the winds bring dust and sand storms. A sandstorm will bring down temperatures and will lead to poor visibility. It will deposit sand on roads and rooftops of buildings.
With the increased speed of the wind, the sea will become rough. Sandstorms will disrupt the normal life of the people, not allowing them to venture out or move from one place to the other. Sometimes there may be low clouds hanging will worsen the weather conditions. Sandstorms may also disrupt the operations of aircrafts.
Sandstorms have serious adverse impact on the nuclear emergency preparedness procedures. When there is sandstorm during radiation release, there is the likelihood that the air to be contaminated.
The contaminated air will fall on the ground along with the storm and this is most likely to increase the concentration of the radiation. During the sandstorm, sometimes there will be whirlwinds circulating in the same place, which will disrupt the spreading of the concentration in large area leading to concentration in specific areas.
Since the visibility of the workers will be very poor and there will be restrictions on the movement of them during sandstorms, the recovery work will be greatly affected and delayed. The workers may not be in a position to take immediate remedial action required to control the radiation.
Since there will be problems in movement due to the effect of sandstorm, evacuation of people from the oil fields and refineries and close by villages will be hampered. When the wind spreads fast during sandstorms, the radiation will be taken to the cities and towns located close by and inhaled by the people. Such inhalation may affect the people and cause them fall down from buildings, cars, trees and landscapes.
There are other environmental factors like oil spill, which also is likely to affect the preparedness plans for the nuclear installations. Since some of the nuclear power plants are proposed to be located close to oil refineries and in the coastal region, there is the potential danger of oil spills aggravating the impact of radiation release.
The nuclear power plants may have to draw water for cooling from the sea, when the reactors are located in the coastal region and the reactors will be filled with seawater. Any contamination in the water from oil spill will have a chemical effect on the contamination and thus affect the preparedness plans.
The contamination in reactor water will worsen the aftereffects of the release. Similarly, any oil spill will spread the radioactive materials rapidly, which is likely to impede the protective actions.
Occasional rains and flooding in these locations is another serious factor which needs consideration, while making the preparedness plans to protect people from nuclear emergencies. Considering the weather conditions of the UAE, the occasional rains are expected during the hot summer month of June or July.
The summer rains may have the same effects as those of sandstorm obstructing the movement of workers and public. Poor visibility during heavy downpours will prevent the workers from taking swift and immediate remedial actions for arresting the radiation release.
Just like the sandstorm, the occasional rains will make the radiation particles fall down, and people in the locality will inhale it. This implies that there is concentration of radiation in a specific area rather than be distributed in large area.
Fog is another environmental factor, which adversely affects the emergency preparedness of the UAE. The country experiences fog in the early mornings especially during summer times. The fog is nothing but collection of water droplets. Water droplets or ice crystals, hanging in the air near the surface of the earth causes the creation of fog. Fog may cause visibility problems to the public and workers during an emergency.
Fog may prevent the workers from carrying out relief operations during an emergency. It may restrict the movement of people in evacuation. Another serious issue with the fog is that it will aggravate the radiation effect, as radiation particles are likely to fall down along with water droplets and will restrict the movement of radiation concentrating in one place.
The radioactive “plume” emanates in the form of a cloud. The plume is loaded with radioactive materials released from the nuclear facility, during the time an accident has occurred. The plume will move along the direction of the wind. It will not spread out over the emergency-prone zones. Several natural environmental factors determine the plume characteristics (USNRC, October, 2010).
These factors include speed and direction of the wind, disorder because of temperatures, humidity percentage in the region and other weather conditions. UAE with is high temperatures and humid conditions has the potential chance of changing the plume characteristics to increase the radiation dose of a large number of people, as the plume travels through the wind direction.
Apart from the natural environmental factors discussed above, there are certain political factors that affect the emergency preparedness in the UAE. The following section discusses the impact of political environment.
UAE is relatively a new entrant to the world nuclear market. The country has begun building the knowledge and experience vital for building efficient nuclear power plants. Similarly, the other Gulf countries bordering the UAE are relatively new to nuclear field. This is likely to create confusion and change the direction of the preparedness procedures followed in the UAE.
For example, if a nuclear emergency occurs in any of the countries bordering the UAE, because of their lack of experience or deficiency in the preparedness procedures, that country may try to send some instructions for protection, which may be contrary to those adopted by the UAE.
Under such circumstances, the neighboring country may force the UAE to take some action to maintain the radiation, which is inconsistent with the procedures laid down by the UAE.
This external force and contradicting instructions from a neighboring country will create confusion among the people responsible for maintaining the radiation, as they may not be able to decide as to which of the directions they should follow.
This might have serious consequences in the matter of preparedness during an emergency. Lack of experience of the Gulf countries in the nuclear field is the main reason for such confusion and the consequent problems in maintaining the radiation.
Secondly, a nuclear accident may turn out to be a reason for a neighboring country to make an insurgence in to UAE. This chance is more so in view of the fact that three of the islands belonging to the UAE are under the influence of Iran.
When Iran tries to create trouble to the country by invading these islands during an emergency, the attention of the government may get diverted to protecting its lands rather than attending to the nuclear emergency. This is detrimental to the public and workers, as there will be dilution in the attention to emergency preparedness.
In certain instances, the international pressure to enforce certain measures in the emergency preparedness may also lead to confusion in the maintenance of its own preparedness procedures by the UAE.
According to the cultural belief in the UAE, man has to die one time and the Almighty fixes the time of death of a person. However, most of the people believe that although death happens only once, people should not do anything wrong, which will prove harmful to their lives. It is the religious belief that people should not commit any wrong while they are living.
It is quite likely that people of the UAE may think that exposing them to nuclear facilities is a wrong thing towards putting their lives into danger.
This may be a major obstacle in making people adopt the nuclear emergency preparedness plans, as it is difficult to change traditional and religious values in the minds of the people. Therefore, it may be a challenging job to move the people in the evacuation process if there is a nuclear emergency.
Another potential issue with the adoption of nuclear emergency preparedness plans is the lack of knowledge on the part of the people of the UAE about nuclear energy and the operations of the nuclear power plants including the potential dangers that may arise from radiation release.
Lack of knowledge may make scar the people about the consequences, which will adversely affect the conduct of the people in an emergency, as they may not follow the instructions correctly in their fear. Every one of the citizens may be inclined to do things, which he/she thinks is correct in such a situation. This attitude will affect the effectiveness of nuclear emergency plans.
Suggested Preparedness Procedure for the UAE
This section presents the suggested preparedness procedure for the UAE based on the outcomes from the discussions on comparison of the factors affecting the preparedness procedures in the UAE with those of the USA, the UK and the recommendations of IAEA.
The outcomes of the discussions are compared with the current preparedness procedure formulated by the FANR and the comparative analysis presented for making the recommendations for a suitable nuclear emergency preparedness plan for the UAE.
Outcome of Preparedness Plan for UAE
Out of the above discussions on the various aspects of nuclear emergency preparedness plan and the comparison of the context of the UAE with that of the USA, the UK and the recommendations of the IAEA the following outcome in respect of the emergency preparedness plan for the UAE emerges.
Because of its location and association with the neighboring countries, it is better to adopt the recommendations of the IAEA, as preparedness plans of both the USA and UK are not suitable to the conditions of UAE as explained earlier.
However, the IAEA recommendations need to modify to take into account the peculiarity of the conditions prevailing in the UAE in respect of the location of the nuclear plants near the oil fields and refineries, which are not dealt with by the IAEA recommendations.
It may be necessary that the staff of both the nuclear power plants and oil installations is trained to meet the nuclear emergencies. The staff in both the nuclear and oil industry must communicate with each other and share information about the zoning of each plant and consequences of any radiation release. This may provide a better preparedness plan for the UAE.
As far as the designing is concerned, since safety is of prime importance in the country of UAE, the country may follow the preparedness plans of either the UK or the recommendations of IAEA.
The conditions prevailing in the UK are more legislation oriented and UAE cannot practice too much legislation oriented preparedness plans. Therefore, it is advisable that UAE follow the recommendations of IAEA for designing the nuclear power plants. However, it is important that the design take into account the new and up to date technology to have the best design advantage.
The location of the nuclear plants and population density in the UAE is different from the USA conditions. In the UK, there are too many regulations and authorities responsible for nuclear emergency preparedness procedures, which may not suit UAE conditions. Therefore, it is ideal to follow the IAEA recommendations for allocating the responsibility to the authorities in the UAE.
As discussed earlier, the location of nuclear power plants and population density conditions are not similar to either the USA or the UK conditions. Therefore UAE has to devise an in between approach for use of media for passing information to the public.
Protection of Workers
It is ideal to follow the IAEA recommendations as both the USA and UK follow the same procedures.
Protection of People
It is ideal to follow the IAEA recommendations as both the USA and UK follow the same procedures.
In respect of environmental protection, the UAE has already strict legislations protecting environment. Therefore, the suggested outcome is to follow its own policies in respect of environmental protection.
Communication with Other Countries
Because of the similarity with the UK, the UAE can follow the procedures being followed by UK for its communication with the neighboring countries.
Current Emergency Preparedness Plans for UAE as recommended by
In the jurisdiction of UAE, the government has formed the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) to take up the responsibility for licensing and regulating nuclear installations in the country. The responsibility of FANR includes monitoring nuclear power programs.
The agency is also involved in regulating “radioactive material and radiation sources used in medicine, research, oil exploration and other industries” (Khaleej Times, 2010).
FANR has several important objectives in the area of controlling nuclear activities in the country. One of the important objectives of FANR is to ensure that the licensees and the prescribed government agencies take necessary precautionary measures to secure the public from the effects of any nuclear or radiation emergency.
Under the regulations of FANR, all the licensees have to prepare detailed plans to meet any likely emergency in their operations. FANR has prescribed for the preparation of detailed plans for controlling any emergency even for obtaining any licenses for operating nuclear sites in the UAE.
“FANR will liaise with the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA), and other relevant bodies to protect people from being harmed in the unlikely event of a significant emergency,” (FANR, 2010). Federal Law created under Decree No 6 of 2009 regulates the peaceful uses of nuclear energy within the country of the UAE.
Presently there are (i) Precautionary Action Zone (PAZ) and (ii) Urgent Protective Action Planning Zone (UPZ) as recommended by FANR. However, FANR has not made any specific regulations identifying the emergency prone-zones in the UAE. There is the need to define the nuclear emergency zones for designing the preparedness plans
Designing and Building
Regulation for the Design of Nuclear Facilities (FANR-REG-03) proposed by the FANR lays down the regulations concerning the design and construction of nuclear plans including safety and emergency preparedness of the nuclear power plants. These regulations cover the major requirements for designing a nuclear facility including for radiation protection.
The regulations also specify plant-specific assessments, which incorporate different acceptance criteria for protection against “the impact and consequences of the loss of large areas of nuclear facility due to large fires and explosion stemming from any malicious cause.
Although no specific preparedness plans for an emergency have been mentioned in the regulations, they are exhaustive to cover the safety aspects for the creation of nuclear facilities.
Allocation of Responsibilities
The proposed allocation of responsibilities provides for a Director General who will inform the Board of Management any significant emergencies. The Director of Radiation Safety Department is designated to provide responses and support for any nuclear or radiological emergencies.
The Director of Government and International affairs has the responsibility of informing the UAE government organizations and international governments and organizations of any nuclear emergencies. Finally, the Emergency Manager and his team is mandated to be responsible for the overall strategic management of the responses to nuclear and radiological emergencies.
Emergency manager may be the director of radiation safety, or director of nuclear safety or director of safeguards or director of nuclear security. The Response Initiator shall be the person belonging to FANR who has been notified of an emergency and he will initiate the formal response.
Responses in case of a Nuclear Emergency
The Federal Law Decree specifies the roles, responsibilities and functions of FANR. In any nuclear emergency FANR is made responsible to assess the nature and extent of emergency. Based on its assessment the agency has to advise and support the first responders until such time the coordinating authority takes over the function of meeting the emergency.
FANR has to communicate appropriate protective actions to the coordinating authority and the licensee. It has to arrange for the required services in radiation protection and if there is the necessity, FANR has to serve as the coordinating authority for managing an emergency.
When a nuclear emergency occurs, it is the responsibility of the licensee to assess the nature of emergency and determine the appropriate emergency category. The licensee has to notify about the emergency and brief appropriate FANR managers about possible protective actions immediately. Upon notification, it becomes the responsibility of the off-site response organization to initiate the preplanned and coordinated response.
The coordinating authority is the responsible authority for communication with the public. FANR will render all support to the coordinating authority by making sure that all practical steps to provide the public with complete information. However, FANR has not made any specific recommendation in respect of the media to be used and the extent to which media needs to be used for disseminating information to the public.
The licensee and off-site official will take protective actions as planned by the organization or as recommended by the FANR. The recommendation by FANR will be modified depending on the new information relating to the emergency that may become available.
Protection to the Public
The coordinating authority has the responsibility to communicate with the public. The severity of the events will be described by FANR based on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale endorsed by IAEA. It is the responsibility of the licensee to ensure that people on-site or those who coordinate the emergency actions from off-site are protected from potential hazards.
The licensee will also take the people coming from the nuclear site that has been contaminated to a predetermined level to the local hospitals. These people should be treated in accordance with the established procedures. It is important that radioactive waste materials will be dealt with in accordance with FANR Regulations.
Protection to the Workers
Article 7, of the Regulation for Emergency Preparedness for Nuclear Facilities (FANR-REG-12) deals with the protection of workers from the impact of any nuclear emergencies (FANR, 2010a).
This Article requires the licensee to ensure that none of the emergency worker is exposed to more than the limits of dosage prescribed under Regulation 4 (Regulation for Radiation Dose Limits and Optimization of Radiation Protection for Nuclear Facilities).
With the consent of the workers, they may be trained in other actions as may be required, where there is dosage in excess of the prescribed limits. The training can be given only to the extent feasible.
It appears that FANR has not made any specific recommendations for the protection of environment in the country in case of nuclear emergency.
Communication with other Countries
There are no exhaustive recommendations made by FANR providing for communication by the UAE with the neighboring countries in case of the occurrence of a nuclear accident and the consequent radiation release.
Maintenance of Emergency Preparedness
In order to maintain the facilities for emergency preparedness, the licensee in accordance with the Article 14 of the Regulation FANR-REG-12, has to maintain the organizational arrangements consistent with the Management System for meeting the emergencies described under Article 9 of the Regulations.
The arrangements have to include definition of authorities, responsibilities, and duties of individuals assigned to execute the preparedness plans. Article 15 specifies the facilities, equipments and locations required to be maintained to respond to an emergency swiftly.
Comparison of the Outcome Plan and Actual FANR Recommendations
This section presents the comparison of the actual FANR recommendations with the outcomes from the discussion of the special characteristics of the UAE conditions with respect to the nuclear emergency preparedness.
At the end of the section, one can understand the similarities and differences in the recommendations of FANR as compared to the outcomes of the discussion about special conditions prevailing in the UAE.
In the matter of Zoning, FANR does not appear to have made any specific regulation or recommendation. From the outcome of the discussion, we observe that UAE has to follow the zoning recommendations of IAEA making some amendments for the location of the nuclear facilities near the oil installations and refineries.
FANR has made elaborate provisions regarding the designing of the nuclear facilities. In the opinion of the researcher, these provisions are adequate to provide for the safety of the plants.
However, the outcome found that the conditions of UAE are more similar to those of the UK; but UK has more strict legislations. UAE can follow the recommendations of IAEA in the matter of designing of the nuclear installations. However, the country has to make suitable modifications to include the latest technological developments in designing the nuclear power plants.
The recommendations of FANR in respect of the allocation of responsibilities seem to be adequate. However, outcomes suggest that UAE has to follow the recommendations of IAEA in allocating responsibilities, as the country cannot follow the UK example, which involves too many authorities and legislations in the matter of allocation of responsibilities for emergency preparedness.
Because of the difference in the location factors and vastness of the area, UAE cannot follow the procedures adopted by the USA.
In respect of media issue, outcomes suggest that UAE has to adopt a response approach for emergency preparedness in between the UK conditions and USA conditions. FANR, though have specified the authorities responsible for informing the public, the authority has not specified any specific media or the ways in which such media can be used.
Protection to the Workers
FANR has made specific provisions for the training and protection of workers. Outcomes provide for protection of workers in accordance with the recommendations of IAEA.
Protection to the People
Though not extensive, the regulations formulated by FANR provide for the protection to the public. Outcomes suggest that UAE has to adopt the recommendations of IAEA in the matter of protection to the public. The Authority has to establish detailed procedures for the evacuation and sheltering of the people in case of an emergency.
FANR has not made any specific recommendations on the protection of environment against nuclear emergency. Outcomes suggest that the country can follow its own legislations in respect of environmental protection, as the procedures adopted by both the USA and the UK are not found suitable to the conditions of UAE and IAEA has not made any recommendations in this regard.
Communication with Other Countries
Outcome of the discussion on the special characteristic of the UAE suggest that the country needs to follow the procedure adopted by the UK because of the similarities between the countries in this regard. UAE because of difference in the location of nuclear plants and the factor of bordering countries cannot follow the procedures of USA. FANR has not made any specific recommendations in this respect.
Emergency Preparedness Plan Suitable for UAE
The UAE government has formed the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) to be responsible for licensing and regulating nuclear installations in the country. FANR has several important objectives in the area of controlling nuclear activities in the country.
One of the important objectives of FANR is to ensure that the licensees and the prescribed government agencies take necessary precautionary measures to secure the public from the effects of any nuclear or radiation emergency.
Under the regulations of FANR, all the licensees have to prepare detailed plans to meet any likely emergency in their operations.
“FANR will liaise with the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA), and other relevant bodies to protect people from being harmed in the unlikely event of a significant emergency,” (FANR, 2010). Federal Law created under Decree No 6 of 2009 regulates the peaceful uses of nuclear energy within the country of the UAE.
This paper recommends the following emergency preparedness procedures for the UAE. The recommendations for the procedures are made taking into account the special characteristics of UAE affecting the unclear emergency preparedness plans and a comparison of the current emergency preparedness plans provided by FANR in “Regulation for Emergency Preparedness for Nuclear Facilities, (FANR-REG-12), -Version 0”.
Recommendations for Preparedness Plans
The general recommendations consist of the definitions of various items and issues connected with the preparedness plans for nuclear emergency.
The foremost requirement for the country UAE in the matter of developing a nuclear emergency preparedness plan is to establish a good, strong and continuous communication between the UAE and other countries, so that the country can update its knowledge in containing any nuclear emergency and it can get the help of other countries during an emergency.
In general, it is the responsibility of the UAE government to ensure that a nuclear facility is not located in thickly populated areas. The first nuclear power plant project promoted by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, (ENEC), meets the requirements of FANR for a nuclear site that the site is near to water and existing power grid.
The location “Barqa” is a sparsely populated area of the desert and it lies far from large populated centers. This place also has a stable seismic history (Zawya.com). However, the proposed nuclear power plant is near to the oil industry employing several workers. This makes the need to have an established procedure for nuclear preparedness very important.
The location of the nuclear plant is important to ensure that only limited number of people from the public is affected by any nuclear emergency under normal and accident conditions. UAE government has to ensure that this level is maintained at “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) level. In order to meet this objective, the government may divide the area around the nuclear power plant into different categories.
Presently there are (i) Precautionary Action Zone (PAZ) and (ii) Urgent Protective Action Planning Zone (UPZ) as recommended by FANR which classification should be redefined specifying the accurate radial distance from the nuclear organization in operation (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, 2004).
In this respect, it is recommended that UAE follow the recommendations of the IAEA in making the accident zoning for meeting any emergency in nuclear power plants. The recommendations of IAEA have to be modified suitably to include the zoning of the emergency-prone areas nearer to oil installations and refineries.
Obviously, UAE cannot follow the zoning practices of the USA, since USA has a vast landed area and the location of the nuclear power plants are in remote areas, which is not the condition with the UAE. Because of differences in population density, UAE cannot follow the procedures of UK in the matter of zoning. Therefore, the country has to adopt the recommendations of IAEA suitably modified to consider the locations of NPPs.
Considering the location of the nuclear power plants near the oil installations and refineries, the emergency preparedness plan should provide for the training of the employees of the oil refineries to combat radiation release effectively in association with the nuclear plant personnel.
The study observes that FANR has made elaborate provisions regarding the designing of the nuclear facilities. The study recommends that these provisions are adequate to provide for the safety of the plants. However, the outcome found that the conditions of UAE are more similar to those of the UK.
However, the conditions for designing the nuclear facilities are more stringent and legislation-oriented, which UAE cannot follow considering the conditions prevailing in the country. The design policies in the USA though take into account the safety aspects, are oriented more towards business objectives, which does not suit the UAE conditions.
Therefore, UAE can follow the recommendations of IAEA in the matter of designing of the nuclear installations. However, the country has to make suitable modifications to include the latest technological developments in designing the nuclear power plants.
For designing of the nuclear power plants, there should be clear provisions made for the design, construction, commissioning and operation of the nuclear plants strictly in accordance with the prescribed safety standards. The safety standards are to be prescribed through appropriate legislation.
The licensee has to write and present an appropriate on-site emergency plan to FANR and this plan should be approved by the agency as being up to the level of its satisfaction.
The nuclear organization should be made to undertake the responsibility for preparedness and swift responses to emergencies. The licensee should nominate the authority/officer within the organization that will decide on the nature and classification of the emergency and decide on the protective actions to be taken.
The on-site emergency plan should be elaborate indicating the personnel within the organization responsible for initiating the emergency plan and for communicating with the local authorities in connection with off-site protective actions for meeting the emergency. The plan should be documented in the form of a manual containing detailed steps to be taken in case of nuclear and radiological emergencies.
The name and designation of the officer responsible for classifying the emergency should be included in the manual for the information of all concerned. A copy of the manual is to be presented for approval of FANR and the copies of the approved emergency planning manual should be made available in all the departments functioning within the organization.
It is important that the manual contain the names designations and contact details of the local authorities who should be intimated about any on-site emergency and about the need for taking off-site protective actions.
Allocation of Responsibilities
In the matter of allocation of responsibilities, this study recommends that UAE follow the guidance and recommendations of IAEA.
The study has found that UAE cannot follow the UK policy of allocating the responsibilities, as there are a number of authorities and responsibilities involved in the matter of sharing the responsibilities for the nuclear emergency, which UAE cannot practice. US model will also be not applicable as the location of nuclear power plants and the population density of UAE are different from those of the USA.
UAE has to adopt legislations for allocating the responsibilities with regard to preparedness and to respond to a nuclear or radiological emergency to be undertaken by parties at three different levels –
- off-site and
At the plant level, the licensee must identify and allocate the responsibility to an operator being an individual qualified to operate equipments containing dangerous sources. The operator must be responsible to identify an emergency and to take immediate action to protect the people against the consequences of the emergency.
The individual must be authorized to take such protect actions to protect the individuals on site and within the area under the control of the operator. The individual must be responsible to decide and declare the class of emergency and notify the off-site officials.
He may also provide the offsite officials recommendations on the necessary protective actions and offer technical assistance if there is the need. For this purpose, the operator has to maintain an ongoing communication with off-site officials. The operator can provide maximum assistance to the off-site officials in keeping the public informed and help in countering false information and inappropriate reactions from the public.
If possible, the operator can also provide radiological monitoring and necessary technical advice in the matter of protection against the emergency as provided in the IAEA Safety Standards, 2007. The operator shall be the first person to take up complete responsibility for any emergency in communicating with off-site officials.
UAE government should identify the local authorities for the allocation of responsibilities at the off-site level during an emergency. The government has already established FANR being “an independent federal agency charged with regulation and licensing of all nuclear energy activities in the UAE with public safety as its primary objective,” (UAE Embassy, 2010).
This agency has to take the overall responsibility to perform emergency response actions off the nuclear site. FANR can delegate this responsibility to local authorities in the individual emirates and the local police stations within the local areas where nuclear installations will function.
The off-site officials in the countries must be made responsible to implement the plans for protective actions to be undertaken within the emergency zones as may be decided by the government through FANR.
UAE should establish an organization to act and react at the international level. This organization is to be made responsible for providing the international assistance, as laid down by the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organizations. Presently FANR is the national coordinating authority for emergency preparedness.
The government may choose FANR to function as the national coordinating authority. The national coordinating authority has the responsibility for making threat assessment for threats that are likely to arise within the State. The coordinating authority must ensure that there is clear allocation of functions and responsibilities to the licensees and response organizations in off-site.
It is the responsibility of FANR to ensure that licensees and local authorities understand their roles and responsibilities unambiguously. According to Walid A. El-Mowafi – Emergency Specialist, FANR, in accordance with the established procedures in this connection, FANR has established and has sent communications with regard to preparedness in nuclear emergency to almost 22 authorities in the UAE.
This communication shows the individual responsibilities of the authorities. It is disheartening to note that none of these authorities has responded positively to FANR on their roles and responsibilities.
“The UAE would be fully aware that the spent fuel rods could be temporarily stored on-site at their nuclear plants until emerging options for waste management have been examined and chosen. Therefore, the nation will have to make sure that all security concerns relating to the temporary storage of the spent fuel are addressed” (Chew, 2010).
In respect of media issue, the study recommends that UAE has to select the media for informing the public as a part of emergency preparedness in such a way that the approach is somewhat in between the procedures adopted by the UK and the procedures followed by USA.
FANR, though have specified the authorities responsible for informing the public, the authority has not specified any specific media or the ways in which such media can be used.
Informing the public about the emergency and the possible protective actions and make, them understand the implications is of vital importance in any preparedness plan for an emergency. The public should receive unambiguous and consistent information about the risks of exposure and about the protective actions from the officials, media and other people.
Inconsistency and confusion is likely to result from the fact that the operator, local officials, and national officials address the news media without proper coordination.
Therefore, it is essential that arrangements are made for providing useful, consistent and appropriate information to the public in case there is a nuclear or radiological emergency. FANR should fix the channels of communication and persons/authorities responsible for passing information to the public.
Protection to the Workers
The actions during emergency should be both on-site and off-site depending on the nature of emergency identified. The response actions in the nuclear emergencies are to be undertaken without any delay for the protection of workers.
If there is no proper arrangements for meeting any emergency, which could facilitate a coordinated response for both on and off site protection within minimum time possible, it may lead to significant harm to the personnel inside the nuclear plant as well as to the public off-site.
This calls for the prompt identification of the potential radiological emergency and deciding on the appropriate level of response. It is important that the operator is capable of identifying the actual class of emergency to help initiating prompt actions at the appropriate level on and off the site.
Protection to the Public
This study recommends that FANR should develop Organizational Intervention Levels (OILs) as a part of the process of preparedness. The OILs that need to be developed must provide the standard procedures for various protective actions during an emergency. In respect of the most of the radiological emergencies, it is the responsibility of the first responders to initiate the initial urgent protective action.
Generally, in a nuclear emergency, public officials tend to make recommendations in respect of the protective actions that the public should adopt. It may so happen that both the officials as well as the public may not fully understand the principles or terminology involved in the protection against radiation.
The arrangements for initiating protective action should therefore encompass an explanation made out in a plain language as to the manner in which the protective actions ensure safety to the public.
Especially considering the UAE context of the educational standards and awareness of the people, it is essential that the standard emergency procedures are translated in Arabic language with pictorial explanation wherever possible so that majority of the public will understand the need and nature of protective action in case of an emergency.
The study observes that there are no specific recommendations made by FANR in the matter of protection of environment against nuclear emergency. the procedures adopted by both the USA and the UK are not found suitable to the conditions of UAE and IAEA has not made any recommendations in this regard It is recommended that the country can follow its own legislations in respect of environmental protection.
Communication with Other Countries
Outcome of the discussion on the special characteristic of the UAE suggest that the country needs to follow the procedure adopted by the UK because of the similarities between the countries in this regard.
UAE because of difference in the location of nuclear plants and the factor of bordering countries cannot follow the procedures of USA. Since FANR has not made any specific recommendations in this respect, UAE can follow the procedure adopted by the UK for communicating with the neighboring countries.
Other Special Considerations
Apart from the specific aspects discussed in the previous section, there are some other important considerations, which are exclusive to the circumstances of the UAE. The following sections describe the special considerations.
The definitions have to cover elaborate explanations of the terms emergency, accident, incident, operational intervention level (OIL), coordinating authority, cooperating agencies, planning zones, emergency response actions, teams, contact point, notification, verification, national warning point, transnational emergency, national competent authority, and significant event.
Appropriate classification of emergencies should be made to decide on the necessary protective action on-site and off-site. The official within the organization must have the technical capabilities to determine and declare the right type of emergency. It is necessary to define the responsibilities and initial response actions for each class of emergency.
The current research observed a number of natural and geographical conditions of the UAE have significant impact on the unclear emergency preparedness plans of the country. UAE has to take consider the effect of these factors in formulating the preparedness plans. The preparedness plan has to consider the impact of the high temperature and humid conditions of the country and make suitable modifications to the emergency preparedness plans.
The proposed site and its vicinity shall be evaluated for identifying the geotechnical hazards like erosion, landslides or other hazards, which has a strong influence on the nuclear emergency preparedness plans. There is the need to test the geotechnical characteristics of the subsurface materials and a soil profile determined for designing the nuclear power plant.
Design of long-term heat-removal systems must be evolved to consider the site characteristics such as air temperature and humidity. It is essential that a meteorological description of the region is developed including regional topography to identify wind direction and speed.
The country should bring in new technology in to the country, which can be used to monitor the direction and speed of the wind. Considering the natural environment of UAE, this technology upgrading is important to ensure efficient preparedness protection.
Such advanced technological equipments would help in following the speed and directions of the radiation in any emergency. The country should add to its strength of specialist hospitals and ambulances trained in treating people with radiation illness. Presently the country does not appear to have been well equipped in this respect.
The political factors discussed within this report have a serious impact on the formulation of emergency preparedness plans of the country.
It is essential that the country evolve a clear-cut policy on its relationship with the neighboring countries with respect to nuclear emergency and all concerned in the country are educated and trained to follow the procedures laid down by the country strictly, without interference from the other countries.
UAE has to take considerable efforts in educating the public about the need for understanding and observing the emergency preparedness procedures, to break the barriers of their lack of knowledge and beliefs. The government must use all the available media to address this issue.
Training of people living in the nearby localities to the nuclear installations and mock drills for combating radiation releases will help the authorities to make the people react in the appropriate way to meet any emergency.
Special Meeting Room
Based on the interview conducted by the researcher with the Swedish nuclear authority, this research recommends the construction of a meeting room, where all the concerned authorities can meet at the time of emergency to discuss about the possible remedial actions. This meeting room must be insulated from radiation effect.
Similarly, the interview had with the British nuclear expert, this study recommends the provision of a special room inside the premises of the nuclear plant, for taking the necessary action in an emergency. This room must also be insulated from the effects of any radiation. Provision of gamma rays alarm is another important provision, which must be made by the authorities to support the emergency preparedness programs.
In the context of nuclear emergency preparedness of the UAE, FANR has made several provisions and has instituted the procedures for making the nuclear plants prepared for any emergency.
The lessons learnt from the accidents happened in Chernobyl and Three Miles Island has enabled the IAEA to make various changes and improvements in its recommendations for emergency preparedness. Based on the recommendations of IAEA, countries like UK and USA have evolved their own nuclear emergency preparedness plans.
This research could achieve all of its objectives by the research design engaged by it. The first objective of making an in-depth study of the emergency preparedness plans in the UK and USA including the recommendations of IAEA, by making an analytical study of the preparedness plans of these authorities. The report presented the salient features of the preparedness plans of UK, USA and IAEA.
The research made a critical review of the emergency preparedness procedures of NRC (USA), HSE (UK) and IAEA and presented a table containing the reasons for the differences for an easy understanding of these different preparedness plans.
This table enabled achieving the second objective of comparing the emergency preparedness procedures and methods of the UK, the USA and the recommendations of IAEA and report on the differences between the emergency preparedness plans.
The third objective of studying and presenting the peculiar circumstances affecting the nuclear emergency preparedness in the UAE by comparing and contrasting them with the emergency preparedness in the UK, the USA and the recommendations o the IAEA.
The main part of the research report consisted of presenting a comparative review of the UAE preparedness plan with those of the UK, USA and IAEA pointing out the similarities and differences between the UAE plan and the plans of other authorities.
In order to achieve the fourth objective, the study prepared an outcome of the preparedness plan for the UAE based on the critical review of the UAE preparedness with the other plans.
An analytical review of the current FANR plan and the comparison with the outcome of the preparedness plan for the UAE enabled achieving the fifth objective of evaluating the current emergency preparedness plans of the UAE and recommending suitable improvements to preparedness plan for the UAE considering the peculiar environment and other factors
Based on a comparative review this study has made few recommendations for improving the suitability of the current nuclear emergency preparedness plan for UAE. In this review, the study has analyzed the current emergency preparedness plan suggested by FANR.
Overall, this research recommends FANR to study all these changed recommendations and incorporate in its own recommendations for planning the protective actions by the nuclear installations in the UAE. One major concern in the UAE is communicating with the public in the case of emergency and making them understand the need for taking protective actions.
The initiatives may be impeded by distance between villages due to the geographical nature of the country and the poor understanding by the rural nationals.
FANR has to take into account, these two impediments while devising the emergency preparedness plans and demand the licensees and the local authorities to make a translation of the emergency procedures in plain local language understandable by the public. The authority has to take necessary steps to educate and train the public to make the preparedness plan effective.
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