The UAE is committed to working with the international community to keep the world safe from global proliferation threats and to fully support the goals of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). 

The principles, commitments and strategies outlined in the UAE policy on the evaluation and potential development of peaceful nuclear energy demonstrate the UAE’s peaceful and transparent intentions.  The policy also is fully consistent with the UAE’s longstanding support for the NPT, as well as the UAE’s support for a Middle East region completely free of weapons of mass destruction.

The UAE joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1996. The UAE also is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and cooperates with the Missile Technology Control Regime.  The UAE is a partner nation on the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

The UAE has expressed a deep concern over Iran’s nuclear development and its impact on peace and stability in the entire region. The UAE fully supports and enforces United Nations Security Council resolutions barring shipment of sensitive materials and technologies to Iran.

Other non-proliferation initiatives include:

  • The UAE is working with the US Department of Energy to implement the Megaports Initiative, a cooperative effort aimed at deterring terrorists from using the world's seaports to ship illicit materials; detecting nuclear or radioactive materials if shipped via sea cargo; and interdicting harmful materials so they cannot be used by terrorists.
  • The UAE is a signatory to the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which is aimed at stopping shipments of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials worldwide.
  • The UAE participates in the US Container Security Initiative (CSI), a security regime that includes a team of US Customs and Border Protection officers permanently stationed inside Dubai's ports, where they work closely with Dubai Customs to screen containers destined for the United States.
  • Ports operated by Dubai Ports World participate in the Secure Freight Initiative, a US Department of Homeland Security pilot program to test the methods used to screen US-bound cargo for radiation.
  • Dubai Ports World has been certified as a partner in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, a government-business cargo security initiative led by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection component.
  • The US Department of State, through its Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance program, is helping the UAE improve its enforcement and licensing capabilities aimed at curbing the transshipment of elicit materials.

Nuclear Energy and Non-Proliferation

The UAE has formally endorsed a set of guidelines on the potential establishment of a peaceful civilian nuclear energy program in the UAE:

  • The UAE is committed to complete operational transparency
  • The UAE is committed to pursuing the highest standards of non-proliferation
  • The UAE is committed to the highest standards of safety and security
  • The UAE will work directly with the IAEA and conform to its standards in evaluating and potentially establishing a peaceful nuclear energy program
  • The UAE hopes to develop any peaceful domestic nuclear power capability in partnership with the governments and firms of responsible nations, as well with the assistance of appropriate expert organizations
  • The UAE will approach any peaceful domestic nuclear power program in a manner that best ensures long-term sustainability

In an effort to limit the danger of proliferation, the Government of the UAE has also adopted a policy renouncing the development of any domestic enrichment or reprocessing capabilities in favor of long-term arrangements for the external supply of nuclear fuel.

To support the UAE’s ability to meet that obligation, the UAE pledged $10 million to support an IAEA-administered international uranium fuel bank initiative, resulting from a proposal by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).  The fund is designed to provide assurances against supply disruptions, while strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Non-proliferation instruments already concluded by the UAE:

  • IAEA Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1995)
  • IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (2003)
  • IAEA Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (2003)
  • UN Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (2000)
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)
  • UN International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005)

Non-proliferation instruments to be concluded by the UAE:

  • IAEA Additional Protocol to Safeguards Agreement:  After the UAE accepted the model Additional Protocol text developed by the IAEA, the latter submitted a request for approval in Feb 2009 to the Agency’s Board of Governors.  In March, the Board approved the text and authorized the Director General to sign it with the UAE. 
  • IAEA Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection: The UAE Cabinet has approved the text.
  • Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Export Guidelines:  These will be concluded only if the UAE chooses to deploy nuclear power plants; however, discussions have begun.

The UAE has already taken into account the obligations that stem from the Additional Protocol and other international instruments in its draft nuclear law and upcoming regulations. The UAE is developing the required physical and legal infrastructure to ensure the obligations under these instruments are met by the time they are brought into force.

Status of UAE Nuclear Safety Commitments

Safety instruments concluded by the UAE:

  • IAEA Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident (1987)
  • IAEA Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency (1987)

Safety instruments to be concluded by the UAE:

  • IAEA Convention on Nuclear Safety
  • IAEA Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management

Status of UAE Nuclear Liability Commitments

Liability instruments to be concluded by the UAE, only if the UAE chooses to deploy nuclear power plants:

  • IAEA Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage
  • IAEA Protocol to Amend the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability
  • IAEA Joint Protocol on the Application of the Vienna and Paris Conventions
  • IAEA Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage