Khalifa University today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station of Texas A&M University System to develop and operate the Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute (GNEII).
This agreement furthers the principles signed between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Arab Emirates, concerning cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy in April 2008. This accord formalizes the agreed terms of the letter of intent signed between TEES/NSSPI, SNL and Khalifa University in March 2010 – which is supported by key nuclear stakeholders, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
GNEII will provide the Gulf, and surrounding region, with a continual source of indigenous nuclear energy professionals with whom the global community can effectively collaborate to achieve broader nuclear energy safety, safeguards, security, and non-proliferation priorities. This will be delivered through the developing and operating GNEII as a regional educational, training and research hub for promoting a nuclear safety, safeguards, and security culture. The GNEII hub will be located at Khalifa University, where students and regional stakeholders will interact with one another by participating in the GNEII programs of study.
HE Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA and Special Representative for International Nuclear Cooperation stated at the event, “This Memorandum represents a great milestone for the UAE and its partners. It is consistent with the UAE framework for Nuclear Energy. With Khalifa University, Sandia National Laboratories and Texas Engineering Experiment Station of Texas A&M University System, the UAE will be well placed to achieve excellence in the field of Nuclear Energy as well as becoming a key regional player.”
Douglas C. Greene, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the Unite States of America, Abu Dhabi, UAE, said; “The Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute is an excellent example of the diversity of the strong U.S.-UAE partnership and a clear demonstration of President Obama’s commitment to pursuing science and technology ties in the Gulf and the Muslim world more broadly.”
Professor Tod A. Laursen, commenting on the agreement stated, “Khalifa University is delighted to enter into this partnership, we are committed to educating young nuclear engineers for the new nuclear power plants planned in the Emirates. So far, The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) have both provided tremendous support into GNEII’s creation. Khalifa University is ready and able to lead and guarantee the Emirati contribution to GNEII’s development.”
Jill Hruby – Vice President, Energy, Non-proliferation, and High Consequence Security, Sandia National Laboratories commenting on the agreement stated, “In response to President Barak Obama’s call to introduce ‘centers of scientific excellence’ in the Middle East in his June 2009 speech in Cairo, Sandia National Laboratories is excited to have developed GNEII as an innovative, technical hub.”
As a regionally serving, indigenous capability that will educate the next generation of Middle East nuclear professionals on nuclear energy safety, safeguards, security, nonproliferation, and infrastructure development, GNEII is a shining example of the strong partnership developed between Sandia National Laboratories, Khalifa University and Texas A&M University.”
Raymond Juzaitis – Department Head, Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University stated, “Texas A&M is proud of its core values which has been demonstrated time and again through its history. In that spirit, we are honored to serve the best interests of the global nuclear enterprise and its development in this critically important region of the world. GNEII’s contribution to the implementation of safe, secure nuclear energy in the Gulf region will be crucial. Texas A&M is proud to partner with Khalifa University and Sandia National laboratories to help make it happen.”