On 24-26 September 2012, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is participating in its first MDEP meeting as a new associate member, on the occasion of the MDEP Steering Technical Committee meeting which is being held in Beijing, China.
In commenting on this new membership, Mr. André-Claude Lacoste, MDEP Policy Group Chair and Chairman of the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de sûreté nucléaire, ASN), confirmed that the UAE's national regulator meets the criteria for associate membership in the MDEP, adding that the MDEP reviewed the role of the FANR in carrying out the safety design review of the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Company's (KHNP) advanced power reactor (APR1400), currently under construction at the Barakah site in the UAE.
Mr. Luis E. Echávarri, Director-General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), which acts as the Technical Secretariat for the MDEP, welcomed the FANR's associate membership and looks forward to the mutual benefit that this membership will bring to all MDEP members as they work to ensure the safety of new reactors worldwide.
MDEP associate membership is intended for national regulatory authorities of interested countries that already have commitments for new build or firm plans to have commitments in the near future for a new reactor design. They participate in the working group addressing the specific design and issue(s) of interest and, as approved by the MDEP Policy Group, a representative may attend the Steering Technical Committee meetings.
The Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP) was launched in 2006 by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) with the aim of developing innovative approaches to leverage the resources and knowledge of national regulatory authorities reviewing new reactor designs.
The full MDEP membership includes national regulatory authorities from Canada, China, Finland, France, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. The FANR will be the first associate member to join the MDEP.
The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) acts as the Technical Secretariat for the MDEP. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) participates in many of the MDEP activities, including harmonisation efforts.
The MDEP pools the resources of these 12 nuclear regulatory authorities for the purposes of 1) co-operating on safety reviews of designs of nuclear reactors that are under construction and undergoing licensing in several countries, and 2) exploring opportunities and potential for harmonisation of regulatory requirements and practices. It also produces reports and guidance documents that are shared internationally beyond MDEP membership (see related links below). The MDEP is a unique forum with growing influence on new nuclear reactor projects.
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NEA membership consists of 31 countries. The mission of the NEA is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co-operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.