The UAE believes that the most environmentally friendly and most sustainable solution to its energy requirements is electricity generated by nuclear plants. Therefore, nuclear reactors are destined to become the UAE’s second most important source of energy in the UAE after natural gas, producing about 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity by 2020 and ensuring the continued economic development of the nation.
In 2009, highly important milestones were achieved in the country’s nascent civilian nuclear programme. Most significantly, UAE President, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, issued a decree on 23 December 2009 that formally established the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) as the entity in charge of implementing the UAE’s nuclear programme. ENEC will oversee the construction and operation of nuclear plants and coordinate the distribution of electricity across the country with federal authorities.
In an address on the occasion of the UAE’s thirty-eighth National Day, Sheikh Khalifa explained the UAE’s approach to nuclear energy:
“Our interest in renewable energy is inseparable from our project to develop a peaceful programme of nuclear energy to meet our growing energy requirements, based on the highest standards of transparency, safety and nuclear security, in accordance with international laws, and in full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency… The model we have adopted is consistent with our support of and conformity with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and our rejection in principle to the existence of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, calling on Israel to dismantle its military nuclear facilities and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty and subject its nuclear facilities to international inspections. We also urge Iran to continue cooperation with the international community to allay fears and doubts about the nature of its nuclear programme. We call on the parties concerned to reach a peaceful agreement on this to ensure the security and stability in the region and its peoples.”
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs described the UAE's nuclear program as “an example of transparency in providing the energy needs by commitment towards non enrichment or recycling, with the help of some governments and institutions of other countries, and under the supervision of IAEA.”
In October 2009, the Federal Government had approved a law that formally set the nuclear programme in motion, with the creation of an independent nuclear safety regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), which will be responsible for the oversight of the peaceful nuclear energy sector within the country and the enforcement of nuclear safety and radiological protection standards. FANR will also be responsible for the licensing of operators in the nuclear sector and the monitoring of radiological materials.