Dr. Mohamed Al-Hada, Secretary General of Yemen’s National Atomic Energy Commission (NATEC), and Mr. Basheer Abdulmoiz, director of licensing department of the NATEC, paid a scientific visit to Korea in early December. During this one-week stay in Korea, they said that they had a good time learning about Korea’s advanced nuclear system and meeting many good Korean scientists and engineers.
Q. Is this your first visit to Korea?
Dr. Al-Hada: This is the second visit for both of us. When I first visited Korea, I participated in a workshop. The workshop was about medical uses of nuclear radiation materials.
Mr. Abdulmoiz: I visited Korea last time to take part in a training program of Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS).
Q. During your stay, where did you visit?
We went to Daejeon on Tuesday, the second day of our visit. We visited Nuclear Engineering & Technology Institute (NETEC), a division of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd. (KHNP). From the visit, we could learn about the Korean nuclear history which started in the 1970s, and the Korean-type Next Generation Reactor. We also learned a great deal of useful information on nuclear safety and regulations. Also, we had a good time meeting with many nice scientists and engineers. Actually, we went there by car, and the journey was also nice. The scenery outside the window was very beautiful.
Q. Which field of nuclear energy are you particularly interested in?
We are interested in the overall nuclear industry – from beginning to end, including nuclear safety, security, human resources, and regulations. We think that Korea is a good example of the overall development and management of nuclear energy. An example, in particular, would be Korea's export of four nuclear power plants to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). We, Yemen, hope to follow suit and develop the nuclear industry.
More specifically, we are interested in medical uses of nuclear radiation materials. Nuclear radiation materials have a wide range of applications from a nuclear crop breeding technology to a technology for sterilizing bacteria to a technology for food products. They can also be used to develop surgical equipment. Such medical uses not only have a big potential for growth, but are also very useful to many people. This is why we’re interested in these applications of nuclear energy and hope to develop them.
Q. What’s the current status of Yemen’s nuclear energy development?
Yemen has one nuclear power plant now. But, it is not for commercial operation. To further develop Yemen’s nuclear industry, a governmental decision must precede. We’re trying to collect scientific data from countries with advanced nuclear technologies and also to learn from those countries so that we can persuade our decision-makers into developing Yemen’s nuclear industry.
Q. Yemen is one of the oil-exporting countries in the Middle East. Could you explain the reason for the nuclear energy development?
Yemen has both oil and gas reserves. Although we export oil, our oil reserves are not so much compared to other Middle East countries like the UAE. The quantity also continues to decrease. We want to develop nuclear industry since we want to have energy options in the future. Nuclear power is energy for future.
Q. What’s your plan for the future?
As mentioned before, we will do our best to build a solid foundation for the development of Yemen’s nuclear industry by making a concerted effort with policy decision-makers and scientists. The goal of developing nuclear industry is not a short-term but time-consuming work, which needs cooperation from many divisions. We will make steady and persistent effort to achieve the goal.
Q. Would you tell me about the NATEC?
Yemen’s National Atomic Energy Commission (NATEC) is a government-run organization. The Prime Minister is the head of the organization, and four Ministers of Finance, Oil & Gas, Electricity & Energy, and Health also belong to the NATEC. Currently, about 40 scientists work for this organization. The structure can be divided into two bodies. One is the regulatory body, whose works are mostly linked with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The other is the promotion body, and its main job is to promote various applications of nuclear energy to people in related industries and educate them.
Q. Please add your last comment about relations between Yemen and Korea for nuclear energy development.
We hope that relations between Korea and Yemen can become closer through the cooperation on nuclear energy development. We were impressed by Korea’s current nuclear technology and status. Also, Korean people are all very polite and kind. It is desirable that the relations of the two countries become more and more strengthened through this cooperation.