The United Arab Emirates has launched operations on the Arab world’s first nuclear energy plant, on the Gulf coast simply east of Qatar.
Nuclear fission has begun in one in every of 4 reactors on the Barakah plant, which makes use of South Korean expertise.
The plant was anticipated to open in 2017 however the start-up was repeatedly delayed due to numerous questions of safety.
The oil-rich UAE needs Barakah to satisfy 1 / 4 of its vitality wants, because it adopts extra sustainable vitality sources.
Simply two weeks in the past the UAE despatched a probe on a mission to Mars – one other high-profile scientific first for the Gulf nation.
The UAE can be investing closely in solar energy – a plentiful vitality supply within the Gulf. Some vitality specialists query the logic of Barakah – which implies “blessing” in Arabic. They argue that solar energy is cleaner, cheaper and makes extra sense in a area stricken by political tensions and terrorism.
Final yr Qatar referred to as the Barakah plant a “flagrant menace to regional peace and atmosphere”. Qatar is a bitter regional rival of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Throughout the Gulf lies Iran, hostile to the UAE, and topic to US sanctions due to its controversial nuclear programme.
Dr Paul Dorfman, head of the worldwide Nuclear Consulting Group, wrote final yr that “the tense geopolitical atmosphere within the Gulf makes nuclear a extra controversial problem on this area than elsewhere, as new nuclear energy gives the aptitude to develop and make nuclear weapons”.
In his analysis, the London-based scientist additionally raised issues about Barakah’s security on technical grounds, highlighting the danger of radioactive air pollution within the Gulf.
UAE leaders hailed the start-up on Saturday as an emblem of the nation’s scientific progress.
The Barakah plant was developed by the Emirates Nuclear Vitality Company (ENEC) and Korea Electrical Energy Company (KEPCO). Vitality will likely be generated by 1,400-megawatt pressurised water reactors, designed in South Korea, referred to as APR-1400.
The Worldwide Atomic Vitality Company (IAEA) – the nuclear trade’s major oversight physique – praised Barakah in a tweet, saying the plant’s Unit 1 had “achieved its first criticality” – that’s, era of a managed fission chain response.
“This is a crucial milestone in the direction of industrial operations and producing clear vitality. IAEA has been supporting [United Arab Emirates] from the start of its nuclear energy programme.”
The chief of Abu Dhabi, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, tweeted his congratulations “marking this milestone within the roadmap for sustainable improvement”.
— to www.bbc.com