The growing interest in nuclear energy among Middle Eastern states calls for a sustainable, institutional, and regional mechanism for responsible nuclear energy infrastructure development.

Within this infrastructure development a critical human resource need defines the context for establishing educational and professional development capabilities on nuclear energy safety, safeguards, and security topics in the region. As the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a regional leader in progressing toward a commercial nuclear power capability, this need for professional development and education is acute.

Recognizing this need, the Khalifa University of Science Technology and Research (Khalifa University) in Abu Dhabi, UAE – under the aegis of the Memorandum of Understanding 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 of April 21, 2008 – began working with the United States Government (USG) Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), the USG’s Department of State (DOS), and several key UAE partners to establish a center aimed at such nuclear power program human resource development.

This regional center has become known as the Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute (GNEII – pronounced “genie”) – and is designed to be a strategic partnership with a long-term vision of developing a responsible and informed nuclear nonproliferation, energy safety, safeguards, and security culture in individuals who will be making decisions within Middle Eastern nuclear energy programs.

The key UAE partners, participants and supporters of GNEII include:

Khalifa University Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC)
Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA)

Under the guidance and support of the US DOE/NNSA and DOS, the key USG implementing partners include Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and the Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute (NSSPI) of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, a member of The Texas A&M University System.

As the implementing partners, Khalifa University, SNL, and NSSPI – with support from key UAE and USG stakeholders – have developed the curriculum, established the facilities, provided the instructors, and plan to prepare Khalifa University staff and GNEII program alumni to become the permanent GNEII faculty.

This strategic partnership with Khalifa University acting as the primary implementer, has allowed for the leveraging of expertise to produce a successful regional and education-based institute capable of indigenizing global norms and standards in nuclear energy infrastructure development, safety, safeguards, and security.

GNEII’s primary objective is to immerse future nuclear program decision makers in safety, safeguards, security, and nonproliferation concepts and to familiarize them with how these concepts apply in a regional and international context.

The Institute

From its inception, GNEII has been based on three key design features:

Regional Educational Strategic
GNEII is designed to be a regional institute,  is  hosted and located in the Gulf region  and sustained by demand-driven interest from regional professionals interested in nuclear energy GNEII is designed to be an educational institute that moves beyond narrowly focused topical training courses to provide a more broadly–based, comprehensive forum through which regional nuclear professionals are prepared to assess a variety of situations , to lead, and to have long-term impacts within their nuclear energy programs GNEII is designed to be a strategic institute, sustained through regional financial and operational ownership, and representing a long-term investment for the development of responsible, indigenous nuclear energy programs throughout the region

Taken together, these three key design features make GNEII a novel institute uniquely positioned to institutionalize nuclear energy safety, safeguards, and security culture in future Middle East regional nuclear energy program decision-makers.

GNEII’s Mission GNEII’s Vision
“To develop a responsible nuclear energy culture and institutionalize key safety, security and nonproliferation norms in the future decision-makers of Gulf-region nuclear energy programs through professional development and training.” “To provide the Gulf, and surrounding region, with a continual source of indigenous nuclear energy professionals with whom the global community can effectively partner and collaborate to achieve broader nuclear energy security and safety priorities.”

GNEII’s Goals:

  • Establish GNEII as a regional educational, training, and research hub for a nuclear safety, safeguards, and security culture
  • Maintain regional relevancy among participating Middle East states, through regular participation by a broad range of Gulf fellows and membership on the GNEII International Partners’ Council by regional state representatives
  • Establish a sustainable educational institute  at  Khalifa University by transitioning full operational responsibility of GNEII  and a majority of educational duties to regional instructors

GNEII is a small piece of a much larger, multi-faceted, multi-national and loosely coordinated effort to develop human infrastructure needs for nascent nuclear energy programs throughout the world.

Nevertheless, GNEII does offer significant local, regional, and global benefits:

  • Locally, in addition to individual reward for the fellows, GNEII furthers the UAE’s interest in supporting the development of an intellectual and academic hub in the Gulf area
  • Regionally, the institute provides the various national energy programs with an enhanced understanding of all aspects of nuclear energy, thus improving these nations’ energy-related decision-making processes
  • Globally, GNEII offers the international community a model for an educational institute that addresses the policy/technology attributes of nuclear energy safety, safeguards, and security

Finally, GNEII also promotes both UAE and U.S. stakeholders’ interests in developing an internationally shared nuclear energy security, safeguards and safety culture (integrated “3S” culture), increasing collaboration between the nuclear energy communities, and implementing current global standards to ensure  peaceful nuclear energy expansion.

Contact Us

Address: P.O. Box 127788, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Telephone: +9712-401 9198

Fax: +9712-4472442

Email: gneii@ku.ac.ae