The Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute (GNEII) at Khalifa University’s Abu Dhabi campus commemorated the conclusion of the fourth year of the program with a two-day symposium on nuclear safety, security, and safeguards May 18-19. The event concluded with a graduation ceremony for this year’s participants. NSSPI Deputy Director Dr. David Boyle, who was among the GNEII instructors, and Texas A&M University Nuclear Engineering Department Head Dr. Yassin Hassan attended the symposium and graduation ceremony on behalf of Texas A&M and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). Other attendees and speakers at the event included Ambassador Michael H. Corbin, The United States of America Ambassador to the UAE, Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the IAEA, Dr. Tod Laursen, President of Khalifa University, and representatives from the US Department of Energy, US Department of State, and Sandia National Labs.
GNEII is the result of a partnership between Khalifa University, Sandia National Laboratories, and Texas A&M University through NSSPI. It was designed to give future nuclear energy leaders the necessary knowledge to support them in future decision making processes by providing an enhanced understanding of the safety, safeguards and security aspects of nuclear energy, as well as, offering the international community a model for an educational institute that addresses the integrated 3S (safety, safeguards and security) methodology.
This year’s GNEII fellows came from the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR), Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA), all in the UAE. The instructors for the course were from Khalifa University, Texas A&M, Sandia National Laboratories and the World Institute for Nuclear Security.
This year marked the beginning of a transition to GNEII as an autonomous, regionally-supported institution staffed entirely by Khalifa University. Whereas in the past the faculty coordinator was Dr. Michael Schuller of Texas A&M, this year the faculty coordinator role was taken over by Khalifa Assistant Professor Dr. Alexander Solodov. This move is an important first step toward a fully self-sufficient GNEII and the development of nuclear security expertise within the region.
The success of the GNEII program has been recognized by the White House, and this year the American Nuclear Society will be devoting a special session to GNEII at its 2014 Winter Meeting in Anaheim, California. Participants in this session will include GNEII graduates, faculty, and organizers.