Successful operation of first nuclear energy reactor in Barakah


UAE has announced the successful operation of the first peaceful nuclear energy reactor in the Arab world, at Barakah Nuclear Energy Stations in Abu Dhabi.

With the Unit 1 of the Power Plant operational, UAE will be the first Arab country to use nuclear energy to meet its sustainable energy needs.

The milestone achievement was announced through a tweet on Saturday by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“We announce the UAE’s success in operating the first peaceful nuclear energy reactor in the Arab world, at Barakah Nuclear Energy Stations in Abu Dhabi .. The work teams succeeded in loading nuclear fuel packages, carrying out comprehensive tests and successfully completing the operation,” tweeted Sheikh Mohammed on Saturday.

“I bless my brother Mohamed bin Zayed for this achievement,” he added.

Sheikh Mohammed said the goal is to operate four nuclear power stations that will provide a quarter of the state’s need for electricity in a safe, reliable and emission-free way.

“The UAE splits the atom … and wants to explore the galaxy … a message to the world that the Arabs are able to resume their scientific path … and compete with the rest of the great nations,” said¬†Sheikh Mohammed lauding the country’s achievement.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said the country has made a ‘quantum leap’ in the UAE energy sector and an important step on the road to sustainable development.

We proudly witness the start of Barakah nuclear power plant operations, in alignment with the highest international safety standards. Congratulations on realizing this historic achievement in the energy sector & marking this milestone in the roadmap for sustainable development.

“The first station of Barakah Nuclear Energy plants begins its operations in accordance with the highest global safety standards.” Tweeted Sheikh Mohamed. He said Barakah is another feather in the cap of Emirate’s long list of unique achievements.

Mohamed Al Hammadi, chief executive of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, said the historic achievement is “the culmination of more than a decade of vision, strategic planning and robust program management.” “Despite the recent global challenges, our team has demonstrated outstanding resilience and commitment to the safe delivery of Unit 1. We are now another step closer to achieving our goal of supplying up to a quarter of our Nation’s electricity needs and powering its future growth with safe, reliable, and emissions-free electricity,” he said.

Today’s announcement marks another significant milestone for the UAE towards achieving its nuclear programme vision. The UAE has become a role model for nuclear newcomers to build and operate a nuclear programme in a short span of time.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) completed the construction of unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power plant I 2018. Construction of Unit 2 was completed last year and FANR issued a 60-year operating licence to Nawah in February of this year. Fuel loading was completed in early March. Construction of units 3 and 4 are 92 per cent and 85 per cent complete, respectively, while the construction of the plant as a whole is now 94 per cent complete. Once the four reactors are online, the facility will provide around 25 per cent of the country’s electricity and avoid the release of up to 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions that would otherwise be produced by burning fossil fuels for electricity generation.

Operating license for Unit 1 was issued early this year and FANR carried out rigorous reviews in the nuclear power plant to ensure its safety and security and its compliance with FANR’s regulatory requirements.

Experienced Emirati nuclear experts led the regulatory oversight of Unit 1 of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. The UAE Nuclear Energy Programme, including the nuclear law and regulations, conforms to the Safety Standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the international best practices. The UAE has time and again reiterated its committment towards applying highest standards of transparency, which it is one of the foundations of its nuclear policy. The UAE is a party to over 13 international conventions such as the IAEA’s Safeguard Agreement and its Additional Protocol and the Convention on Nuclear Safety and other instruments.

The UAE received in the past decade 11 major peer review missions from the IAEA to review and assess various aspects from nuclear infrastructure, the legal and regulatory system, nuclear safety, nuclear security, emergency preparedness and non-proliferation. Such missions lauded UAE efforts to ensure its peaceful nuclear programme.

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