The Energy Pioneers Programme, launched in 2010, aims to develop and train UAE Nationals to operate the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant once it opens. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: As the UAE continues on its path towards a peaceful nuclear energy programme, young Emirati nuclear engineers are aiming to be at its forefront as they look to ensure the future sustainability of the country’s nuclear sector.

“My journey to become a part of the nuclear sector started from a young age when I had a curiosity for science and engineering. I always had a deep desire for success and to do something that would help support the national growth of my country, which is why I was very eager to join the Energy Pioneers scholarship. The programme is a great way for UAE nationals to start a career in the nuclear sector,” said Abdullah Al Nuaimi, 23, one of the 195 recent graduates of the programme.

 It’s good to open the nuclear industry to young Emiratis, because in the future we are going to be the ones who will operate the nuclear plant …”

 - Hajar Al Ansaari | EPP graduate


Launched by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) in 2010, the Energy Pioneers Scholarship — which is now managed by Nawah Energy Company, a subsidiary of ENEC — aims to develop and train UAE Nationals to operate the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant once it opens.

“I was able to learn a lot after I joined the Energy Pioneers Programme, especially about the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant and what it takes to successfully operate it. There are a lot of challenges that come with running such a sophisticated nuclear energy plant, but my goal is to contribute what I can and to hopefully also become a leader in the nuclear field,” Al Nuaimi added

Al Nuaimi spoke positively on giving young engineers the chance to play a role in the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy programme.

 It’s important in the long-term to have UAE nationals leading the way with the UAE programme. That’s why I think it’s a very good thing that entities … are investing in the youth.”

 - Abdullla Al Nuaimi | EPP graduate


“It’s important in the long-term to have UAE Nationals leading the way with the UAE programme. That’s why I think it’s a very good thing that entities like ENEC and Nawah are investing in the youth and giving us the platform to excel. All of this falls in line with the vision of our leadership and the creation of a sustainable, knowledge-based economy.

Another graduate of the program, Hajar Al Ansaari, 21, said she was highly motivated to be a part of something new.

 Peaceful nuclear energy is a new sector …. I wanted to be one of the pioneers of the sector and be able to apply and share the knowledge I gained during my studies abroad.”

 - Fatima Al Mazroui | EPP graduate


“I’ve had a passion for science and technology since my early childhood, I always wanted to do something different and special. Nuclear energy is a new and important chapter for our country, it’s going to give us an efficient, safe and reliable source of clean energy, and that is something that I want to be a part of.

“The Energy Pioneers Programme was great because we learned about all the technical aspects of having a nuclear power plant, and also got hands-on experience that went beyond the classroom,” she added.

4
reactors will generate power at Barakah plant

“It’s good to open the nuclear industry to young Emiratis, because in the future we are going to be the ones who will operate the nuclear plant, so it’s important to have local expertise working side-by-side with global experts,” she said.

Al Ansaari also said she was happy to show that women could become nuclear engineers.

“Women can also become nuclear scientists, this is not a profession for men only. As women, we can be anything we want to be and nothing can stop us. Here in the UAE we also have a leadership that supports us and gives us every opportunity.”

Fatima Al Mazroui, 27, who also joined and graduated from the Pioneers programme said her interest to join the nuclear sector was because she wanted to help the environment and to curb carbon emissions.

25%
of UAE’s electrical needs will be covered by the plant

“I am fond of science and engineering and how they shape our daily lives. I believe the UAE’s implementation of peaceful nuclear energy will positively impact our environment by contributing to a reduction in carbon emissions while also providing our country with the energy it needs to grow and prosper.

“Peaceful nuclear energy is a new sector in the region. I wanted to be one of the pioneers of the sector and be able to apply and share the knowledge I gained during my studies abroad,” she added.

Al Mazroui said she was looking forward to operating the nuclear power plant in Barakah and to help other young Emirati nuclear engineers.

“My next goal is to be one of the pioneers who will help Nawah successfully operate the Barakah plant’s first Unit. I want to be an influential and valuable asset to Nawah.

“I am looking forward to continuing my training and professional development in order to be able to share what I have learned with the next generation of students interested in peaceful nuclear energy,” she added.