UAE nuclear ambitions on track

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UAE Nuclear Enery Plant - Barakah 1
Construction begins on Abu Dhabi’s Barakah nuclear reactor unit #2.

The UAE’s nuclear ambitions are right on track as Abu Dhabi prepares to launch work on its second nuclear reactor and it presses ahead with the construction of the Arab world’s first atomic power plant.

The construction site of the nuclear power plant at Barakah, in Al Gharbia, UAE, will be visited by Yoon Sang-jick, the South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, and top Emirati officials. Being developed at a cost of about USD 20 billion, the power plant is expected to meet up to one-fourth of Abu Dhabi’s energy needs within the next decade.

Hamad Al Kaabi; “So far this is the most aggressive deployment of a new programme from scratch. Given what happened in the past two years with Fukushima and the attention that the global community paid to nuclear safety, to be able during this time to continue not only on the original plan but also adapt lessons learnt as we go on, this in itself is quite an achievement.” — Hamad Al Kaabi, UAE permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency and board member of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation

Government officials are celebrating the achievement as one of the fastest deployment schedules for nuclear power in history. The project is also South Korea’s first nuclear contract in the overseas market. Korea Electric Power Corporation, the state nuclear company, is the primary contractor for four reactors that are scheduled to come online between 2017 and 2020, in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE is also the first nation to adopt a nuclear power project since the 1986 meltdown at the former Soviet Union’s Chernobyl plant. Earlier this year, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation had filed a 10,000-page construction license application for launch of the third and fourth reactors. However, the UAE still must develop a strategy for the disposal of radioactive waste.

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