The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is to implement its planned nuclear power programme with the help of CH2M Hill, which has signed a ten-year contract with the country’s newly-created Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
CH2M Hill, a US-based engineering and services management company, will act as a managing agent for the nuclear power programme, which is currently under evaluation.
Under the contract, CH2M Hill will assist ENEC in ensuring the successful implementation of the nuclear programme, which could involve the construction of several gigawatts of new nuclear capacity in coming years. Its responsibilities will include prime contractor selection and oversight, implementation of owner's responsibilities to comply with International Atomic Energy Agency recommendations, master programme planning, and licensing and permitting associated with nuclear and support facilities.
CH2M Hill is already active in the UAE’s zero-carbon Masdar initiative and employs some 500 staff in the country.
The UAE has made nuclear cooperation agreements with France, the UK and the USA, while Areva, Total and Suez have already formed a partnership to propose construction of a 1600 MW EPR unit in the country. Electricity demand in the UAE is expected to more than double by 2020.
ENEC was established in August with the help of the IAEA and USA-based Thorium Power. The UAE is also planning to establish an independent nuclear regulatory agency – the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation – again with the help of Thorium Power.