All signals are go for the United Arab Emirate’s nuclear power station located in Barakah in Abu Dhabi.
This makes the UAE as the first Arab nation to operate a nuclear power plant and the 32nd country worldwide to embrace nuclear energy as source of electricity.
Despite the negative notions, experts vouched on the safety and reliability of nuclear energy to provide sustainable power source.
For the UAE, this step is in line with its goal to incorporate clean energy to minimise its carbon footprint. It is no doubt a daring move considering the country’s rich supply of natural but less eco-friendly sources like oil and gas.
How nuclear energy works?
It is produced from the splitting of uranium atoms. This process is called fission and it generates heat to produce steam, which is then used by a turbine generator to create electricity. There’s no fuel involved so no greenhouse emissions are produced.
Is it safe?
Safety has always been a concern no thanks to the catastrophes that befell the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine in 1986 and the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 2011.
However – and while these concerns are reasonable – it’s also worth saying that the dangers of nuclear energy are slim and declining because of modern technology and improving precautionary know-hows.
Need to know
So with all that being said, here are some facts to know about the Barakah nuclear power plant…
- The plant is located in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra region and approximately 53km west-southwest of Ruwais.
- The plant will feature four APR-1400 nuclear reactors capable of supplying up to 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity needs.
- The UAE’s foray into nuclear energy began in April 2008.
- The UAE is working closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure that the facility conforms to the highest international standards of safety and peaceful nuclear energy programme.
- The Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) serves as the plant’s main contractor.
- November 2016 saw the Barakah One Company signing a nuclear energy power purchase agreement with the then Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company (later renamed to Emirates Water and Electricity Company).
- The Federal Authority for Nuclear Energy (FANR) issues operating license for Unit 1 of the power plant in February this year.