x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Nuclear go-ahead

After careful study, regulators have approved the start of work on nuclear power reactors for the UAE; this is welcome news.

Nuclear power is a charged topic. For some, it immediately raises the spectre of the accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. A more pragmatic assessment is that it is a reliable energy source that is sustainable, secure and, with appropriate safeguards, environmentally safe.

News that the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has begun construction on two reactors at Barakah in Abu Dhabi's Western Region should, therefore, be greeted with optimism. Enec had been waiting for a construction license for its project, which the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (Fanr) awarded yesterday.

Fanr says it is "committed to ensuring the peaceful, safe, secure, effective use and control of nuclear material", and it would appear that the approval process, which took 18 months and involved more than 200 technical experts, has been thorough and rigorous.

Given a continued commitment to transparency, and to adhering to world's best practices in the construction and operation of the reactors, the UAE has everything to gain and nothing to fear from being the first country in the Arab world to peacefully adopt nuclear power.