The approval of the operating licence for the second nuclear reactor at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant marks yet another major achievement in the UAE’s pursuit of a peaceful nuclear programme — adding great momentum to the nation’s journey to preserving its environment while preparing for a post-oil future.
Following the approval from Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), work will now begin for fuel loading and power ascension for the second unit — and then the eventual connection to the UAE power grid, powering homes, offices, factories and the future of the UAE. The first unit of the Barakah plant is already the largest source of electricity in the UAE.
Indeed, as with its steadfast determination with the Mars mission, the UAE has once again shown that it does not back down from pursuing its ambitious goals due to a pandemic — especially since peaceful nuclear power provides a clean source of energy and remains among the nation’s top strategic priorities to diversify its economy and battle climate change.
As noted by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the end goal of the UAE’s peaceful nuclear programme is for nuclear power to provide one quarter of the country’s energy needs, reducing its carbon footprint by 21 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.
Converting that ambitious goal into reality has placed the UAE as a role model for countries joining the nuclear energy sector, building and operating its nuclear plant in a record time.
Along with speed, one of the cornerstones of the UAE’s nuclear programme has been its commitment to implementing the highest standards of transparency and compliance with global safety benchmarks, signing more than 13 international nuclear energy agreements in the process.
Since the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Authority (FCA) received the request for operating license to the second reactor in 2015, it has conducted rigorous review of the plant to ensure its safety and compliance with regulatory requirements. An Emirati and international cadre of nuclear energy experts supervised the second unit, and the licensing process involved 11 missions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the global nuclear watchdog. Last year, the UAE’s efforts to safeguard the peaceful nuclear programme drew abundant praise from Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the IAEA.
As the first Arab country in the region to operate a nuclear power plant, the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy programme has thus not only ushered a new era of opportunities and empowerment for Emirati talent, but also given the entire Arab world renewed hope of a brighter and cleaner future.
(Update: The UAE has stepped into a historical phase as the first 5,600 MW Barakah nuclear power plant has become operational.
The peaceful nuclear energy station has started supplying the country’s electric network with the debut production of its nuclear energy.
The historical achievement has been announced on April 6, 2021 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.)