The UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) is not yet ready to award an operating license for the first reactor of the country’s first nuclear power plant, threatening to further retard a scheduled start-up which has already been delayed by a year to 2018.

Although Korean contractor Kepco E&C has almost completed the construction of the first 1.4GW reactor at Barakah on the Gulf coast 50km west of Ruwais, FANR has still to approve the handover of the first...