Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Yukiya Amano, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, called on the UAE to share the experience it would gain over the years. Ravindranath K / The National
Yukiya Amano, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, called on the UAE to share the experience it would gain over the years. Ravindranath K / The National

United Nations watchdog hails UAE's Dh73 billion nuclear vision

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said the Emirates had made 'rare' progress on constructing its Abu Dhabi nuclear plant, saying the project was a good example for other countries.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said he was "impressed" with the progress of Abu Dhabi's nuclear plans and urged the UAE to share its experience with other nations, during a visit to the emirate to discuss matters including Iran's programme.

Yukiya Amano, the director general of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, flew to Abu Dhabi's Baraka construction site 300 kilometres west of the capital, where concrete is being poured for a US$20 billion (Dh73.46bn) power plant scheduled to come online in four years. The UAE's nuclear programme is symbolic for the industry as the first in the Arab world and the first new nuclear programme to be launched since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

"It is on schedule or even a little bit ahead of the schedule - this is very rare," he said. "It will be a good example for other countries."

He praised the UAE for cooperating with the IAEA and its non-proliferation policy. The UAE gave up the right to enrichment or reprocessing in a 2009 treaty with the United States.

Mr Amano, who came from meetings with leaders in Saudi Arabia over its civil nuclear plans, called on the UAE to share the experience it would gain over the years with other nations, including in using nuclear technology in fields such as cancer therapy and agricultural development.

"The UAE is now in the process of constructing a new reactor, but it is not the end," he said. "Safe operation is needed, preparation for emergencies is needed and down the road you need to address the waste issue. Embarking on nuclear power generation means a very extensive, long-term commitment."

Mr Amano toured the construction site at Baraka, where construction is under way on the first of four planned reactors, and later met with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss ways the UAE could share its nuclear expertise.

They also discussed Iran, which is scheduled on February 13 to hold its next round of talks with the IAEA over the scope of an investigation into whether its programme has military purposes.

"We do not know if Iran has delayed [negotiations] and therefore we cannot tell if every activity, every material is for peaceful purposes or not," said Mr Amano. "Our legs, hands should not be bound too much. In that case we cannot do verification, and that is not in the interest of Iran or the international community."

The IAEA negotiationsare progressing on a parallel track to talks between Iran and six world powers - the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China.

"At this stage we are at a very important moment for the future," said Mr Amano. "I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic because this is a very complicated negotiation. It has taken too long to come to agreement - still we are not yet at that point.

"Dialogue is not for the sake of dialogue."

Safety concerns for local residents have been raised after a reported explosion last week at Fordow, Iran's underground enrichment facility. Centrifuges at Fordow were enriching uranium to 20 per cent, rather than the 3.5 per cent required to generate nuclear power. Iran has denied that any explosion took place.

"We have asked Iran to clarify the issue," said Mr Amano. "We do not know if the reported accident took place or not."

ayee@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 Three generations of the Hakimi family tend to their stall Crawford Market in Mumbai. Subhash Sharma for The National

In pictures: Shopper’s delight at Crawford Market in Mumbai

Crawford Market is an old British-style covered market dealing in just about every kind of fresh food and domestic animal imaginable. Later on renamed Mahatma Jotirao Phule, the market remains popular among locals and visitors by its old name, taken from Arthur Crawford who was the first municipal commissioner of the city.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National