UAE launches nuclear power plant

UAE's Barakah nuclear power plant is a first for the Arab world and follows the country's launch of the Arab world's first probe to Mars.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

(illustration)
(illustration)
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The United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced the startup of its Barakah nuclear power plant, scoring another first for the Arab world, AFP reports.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the UAE's launch of the Arab world's first probe to Mars.

"UAE first nuclear reactor at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has achieved first criticality and successfully started up," tweeted Hamad Alkaabi, the country's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"This is a historic milestone for the nation with a vision set to deliver a new form of clean energy for the nation," he tweeted in English, along with a photograph of technicians raising their arms in celebration.

The UAE premier and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, tweeted that work at Barakah had "succeeded in loading nuclear fuel packages, carrying out comprehensive tests and successfully completing the operation".

"Congratulations on realizing this historic achievement in the energy sector & marking this milestone in the roadmap for sustainable development," Sheikh Mohammed said.

The UAE started loading fuel rods into the reactor at Barakah in February, after regulators gave the green light for the first of the plant's four reactors, opening the way for commercial operations.

The plant on the Gulf coast west of Abu Dhabi had been due to go online in late 2017 but faced a number of delays that officials attributed to safety and regulatory requirements.

Barakah was built by a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation at a cost of some $24.4 billion.

When fully operational, its four reactors have the capacity to generate 5,600 megawatts of electricity, around 25 percent of the nation's needs. The remaining three reactors are almost ready for operation.

The Barakah plant, on the coast facing Iran across the Gulf, stands just 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Saudi border and closer to Qatar's capital Doha than to Abu Dhabi.

The UAE has stressed it will not be developing a uranium enrichment program or nuclear reprocessing technologies and has repeatedly said its nuclear ambitions are for "peaceful purposes".

The plant is a regional first, noted AFP. Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has said it plans to build up to 16 nuclear reactors, but the project has yet to materialize.

Like the UAE, Saudi Arabia has promised that its nuclear program will be used to supply domestic electricity, enabling the country to export more of its oil. Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has warned, however, that "without a doubt" if Iran develops nuclear weapons, "we will follow suit as soon as possible."

Israel has requested that the Americans remove all the nuclear fuel used from Saudi Arabia so that it would not be reprocessed.



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