1st UAE Nuclear Power Plant to Operate Soon

1st UAE Nuclear Power Plant to Operate Soon1st UAE Nuclear Power Plant to Operate Soon

A South Korean venture with the UAE is edging closer to switching on the Arab world’s first commercial atomic energy plant.

Korea Electric Power Corp. has completed the construction of the Barakah Unit 1 reactor, and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp.’s handover of operations at the plant to the Nawah Energy Company joint venture is “almost complete”, Christer Viktorsson, the UAE’s top nuclear regulator said, Bloomberg reported.

"Additional tests and adjustments need to be done before the government will allow the plant to operate. I have to make sure that everything is tip-top before I give the operating license,” Viktorsson, director general of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, said in his office in the UAE emirate of Abu Dhabi.

“They have 60 or 80 years to operate, which is the typical lifetime of a nuclear reactor. So, why rush for two months or three months or a year?”

Officials at Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp., the facility’s state-run developer, had no immediate response to a request for comment. The UAE, with about 6% of the world’s proven oil reserves, plans to bring a total of four nuclear plants into operation by 2021, the Persian Gulf nation’s Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said in September.

The reactors are estimated to cost $25 billion and produce a combined 5,600 megawatts of power, a vital component in the country’s program to diversify its energy supply and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. Other Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, have also announced nuclear projects to help provide electricity to their growing populations and industries.

Saudi Arabia targets building at least 16 nuclear plants over the next 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion and it is considering working with contractors from the US, Russia, China and other countries. The UAE’s first Barakah reactor plans to begin loading fuel next month, South Korea’s Energy Ministry said in March in an emailed statement.

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