Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 5 August 2020

UAE's Barakah nuclear plant an important milestone for generating clean energy, says IAEA

Unit 1 was successfully switched on for the first time on Saturday

The activation of the Barakah nuclear plant is an important milestone in the pursuit of clean energy, the International Atomic Energy Agency has said.

Director general Rafael Mariano Grossi said news of first reactor going live had been welcomed around the world.

On Saturday, the UAE said it had loaded nuclear fuel packages, run comprehensive tests and started operations at Unit 1 at the facility in Abu Dhabi.

Commercial operations of the reactor are expected to begin later this year, which will help power businesses and homes across the nation with clean energy.

“The IAEA supports United Arab Emirates and other countries that opt for introducing nuclear power, which plays a key role in achieving clean and affordable energy and in tackling #ClimateChange,” Mr Grossi wrote on Twitter.

He also shared a post by the IAEA which said it was “an important milestone towards commercial operations and generating clean energy.”

Christer Viktorsson, director general of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, which supervises the operation of the plant, said hitting the milestone while the world was living under the cloud of Covid-19 was a “significant success” for everyone involved in the project.

''For the time being, we have six inspectors permanently located at Barakah site. They live there and work there 24/7 to make sure the work continues on time at the nuclear power plant,” he said.

“In addition, we have some 50 experts in the headquarters in Abu Dhabi. They support the resident inspectors with expert advice. We also send some teams from the headquarters to go and check certain things on site in order to support resident inspectors.''

Leaders around the world joined in the congratulations.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi said the step was yet another milestone in the UAE's record of achievements, “embodying the dream for the Arab nation to be a trailblazer in leadership, distinction and excellence in all fields that serve humanity”.

The ambassador of Bahrain to the UAE, Sheikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, also congratulated the UAE, and noted how closely it followed the historic launch of the Hope Probe to Mars last month.

Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman, said the achievement would go down in the “annals of history”.

Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, said it was a “step forward on the path toward ensuring excellency in the nuclear energy sphere”.

On Saturday, President Sheikh Khalifa said he was proud of the Emiratis involved in the project and confident in the abilities of the country’s young scientists.

“It is one of the inspiring moments we live today that will be remembered with great pride by generations to come," he said.

Updated: August 2, 2020 04:33 PM

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