The United Arab Emirates (UAE) received an operating licence from its nuclear regulator for the first reactor at the Barakah nuclear power plant, confirmed a senior official. Hamad al-Kaabi, deputy chairman of Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), told a news conference that licence has been granted to Nawah Energy Company, plant’s operator, for 60 years.
Barakah nuclear power plant, the first nuclear power station in the Gulf region, is currently under construction and will have four reactors with a total capacity of 5,600 megawatts (MW). Taking to Twitter, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, called it a “new chapter” in the journey of “peaceful nuclear energy”.
Today marks a new chapter in our journey for the development of peaceful nuclear energy with the issuing of the operating license for the first Barakah plant. As we prepare for the next 50 years to safeguard our needs, our biggest strength is national talent.— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) February 17, 2020
Calling a ‘historical moment’ for the UAE, Hamad al-Kaabi, who is also Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said that it was a culmination of 12 years of efforts in building such a programme.
In an interview to IAEA in 2017, Hamad al-Kaabi had talked about the UAE’s nuclear power programme after it started building the first unit of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in 2012. Al-Kaabi said that the UAE’s decision to pursue a nuclear power programme was based on the need to meet the country’s increasing energy demand.
“We chose nuclear power for its commercial and environmental competitiveness,” said the Ambassador.
When asked about how the UAE can develop a strong nuclear regulator while developing a nuclear power programme, Al-Kaabi said that they established the right framework through a comprehensive nuclear law that gives the regulator the power, independence and resources it needs to carry out its mandate.