UAE to host emergency exercise at Barakah nuclear plant this week

Complex operation will involve drills and simulations over 36 hours

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The UAE will host a two-day international emergency exercise, known as ConvEX-3, at Barakah nuclear power plant on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

The ConvEx-3 exercises are designed to test response capabilities and early notification protocols in cases of nuclear or radiological emergencies, in line with international emergency conventions.

The simulations will include several emergency scenarios within units of the Barakah Plant and its vicinity and aim to highlight any potential areas of improvement in the safety management of the plant, as well as ensure it meets international standards.

More than 170 countries and international organisations and more than 10 local entities will take part in what is one of the most complex exercises.

Organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the drill will be carried out under the supervision of the UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, and in accordance with the legislative framework of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.

Abu Dhabi Police warned members of the public to "avoid the area for public safety" and not to take any photographs.

In an update posted on Twitter, the force said: "Sirens and emergency alerts may be heard in the vicinity of the plant, as well as moving military vehicles. The public is urged to avoid the area for public safety and not to take any photography."

Preparations for the exercise started last month, with robust rehearsals and drills simulating nuclear emergency scenarios carried out over the course of 36 hours.

Barakah is the region’s first operational multi-unit nuclear plant.

Its power generation will significantly reduce the country's use of gas-fired power stations to generate electricity.

The UAE started up the second unit at Barakah nuclear power plant in August this year, only four months after commercial operations began using the first reactor.

Once fully up and running, the four reactors will meet about 25 per cent of the country's energy needs.

Updated: October 25, 2021, 11:52 AM