UAE launches start-up operations at first Arab nuclear power plant

Andrew Cummings
August 3, 2020

It is Korea's first export of its self-developed reactor design of APR-1400 based on advanced pressurized water nuclear reactor.

The announcement, coinciding with the Muslim holiday of Eidul Azha, comes hot on the heels of the UAE's launch of the Arab world's first probe to Mars.

On Saturday, the UAE pushed the button on the first of the four reactors.

The UAE has not disclosed the total planned investment in the project.

"There have been delays in issuing the required licence (from the country's atomic regulator) to ensure the safety of the nuclear plant", the Gulf analyst said.

"It will provide up to 25% of the UAE's electricity needs once fully operational and will help prevent the release of 21 million tons of carbon emissions, equivalent to removing 3.2 millions cars off the road annually". The plant was originally due to open in 2017 but the start-up of its first reactor was repeatedly delayed.

Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi also tweeted, "We are proud to begin the operation of the Baraka nuclear power plant in line with the largest worldwide safety standards".

Nevertheless, it is spending billions to develop enough renewable energy to cover half of its needs by 2050. It is a part of UAE's initiative in generating clean electricity for the next 60 years. Barakah will soon be joined by reactors under construction in Belarus, Bangladesh and Turkey. Iran has its own nuclear power plant on the Gulf coast.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi congratulated on Saturday the United Arab Emirates on the operation of its Barakah nuclear energy plant, the presidency said on its official website.

Meanwhile Qatar, the target of a boycott by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and others since June 2017, past year said the plant poses a "flagrant threat to regional peace and environment".

It says it has welcomed more than 40 global reviews and inspection missions.

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