Nuclear energy is a key source of energy for responsible nations looking to diversify energy portfolios, according to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec).
In a speech yesterday at the World Energy Congress in Daegu, South Korea, Mohammed Al Hammadi, Enec’s chief executive, underlined nuclear energy’s importance as an energy generation technology capable of providing continuous, safe and efficient electricity with near-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Al Hammadi is also the chairman of the Global Agenda Council on Energy Security of the World Economic Forum.
“Energy policymakers across responsible nations require increasing levels of clean energy, particularly base-load electricity, which is the uninterrupted, reliable and safe supply of electricity needed to power national growth industries to secure social and economic growth,” he said.
The UAE had pursued strategic investments in nuclear and renewable energy since assessing its energy portfolio in 2008, he said, in order to diversify its portfolio, increase energy security and achieve higher quotas of sustainability.
One of the key challenges linked to the adoption of nuclear power was the education of the public about the opportunities that nuclear power offers, together with many of the myths that still surrounded the technology in certain countries.
The UAE had been assertive in educating its population about the benefits of nuclear power technology, as well as dispelling many of the myths associated with nuclear radiation, he added.
“Ever since the launch of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme, we have ensured that we raise the bar when it comes to public outreach and the active engagement with our community.”
As a result of such public awareness programmes, 82 per cent of the country’s population was in favour of using nuclear energy to meet domestic energy supply needs, said Mr Al Hammadi.
Nuclear power is forecast to account for up to a quarter of the UAE’s domestic electricity needs by 2020.
The country’s nuclear energy programme was launched in 2008 with the release of a policy white paper entitled Policy of the United Arab Emirates on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy, following its endorsement by the UAE Council of Ministers.
Enec was formally established by a decree in 2009 by Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE.
That same year, the company awarded a US$20 billion contract to Korea Electric Power Corporation for the construction of four nuclear reactors.