In a first for the Arab world, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has begun start-up operations in the initial unit of its first nuclear power plant, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has said. The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant on the Gulf coast west of Abu Dhabi, a major oil producer, is being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). The plant was originally due to open in 2017 but the start-up of its first reactor was repeatedly delayed. ENEC on Saturday said its subsidiary Nawah Energy Company "has successfully started up Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in the Al Dhafrah Region of Abu Dhabi". The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, wrote on Twitter that nuclear fuel had been loaded into the first of four units of what he called "the first peaceful nuclear energy reactor in the Arab world".
The United Arab Emirates has launched operations at the Arab world's first nuclear power plant, on the Gulf coast just east of Qatar. Nuclear fission has begun in one of four reactors at the Barakah plant, which uses South Korean technology. The plant was expected to open in 2017 but the start-up was repeatedly delayed because of various safety issues. The oil-rich UAE wants Barakah to meet a quarter of its energy needs, as it adopts more sustainable energy sources. Just two weeks ago the UAE sent a probe on a mission to Mars - another high-profile scientific first for the Gulf nation.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – South Korean President Moon Jae-in has visited a nuclear power plant his country is building in the United Arab Emirates. The state-run WAM news agency reported Monday that Abu Dhabi's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan traveled with Moon to the Barakah nuclear power plant. On the trip, closed to other media, the two leaders declared work on the first reactor at Barakah complete. The $20 billion nuclear plant is Seoul's first attempt to build an atomic reactor abroad. The first of its four reactors, being built in the UAE's western desert near the Saudi border, is scheduled to come online this year, making it the first nuclear power plant on the Arabian Peninsula.
Three days after a tsunami battered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak was celebrating. It was March 14, 2011, and he was in the United Arab Emirates, on a dusty, featureless stretch of desert 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the nearest village. Lee was presiding over a groundbreaking ceremony for a construction project that the two countries said marked the start of a "hundred-year friendship." A retinue of dark-suited South Korean officials and Emirati dignitaries in flowing white thawbs toured the site. Then Lee and the UAE's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed smiled and posed for photographs on a red carpet. Two years earlier, a South Korean consortium had won an $18.6 billion contract to build four nuclear reactors on the ground where Lee now stood--at the time, the single biggest reactor deal in history. The plant--named Barakah, after the Arabic word for a divine blessing--was a personal triumph for Lee, who had reportedly swung the deal with a desperate 11th-hour phone call to bin Zayed, and a victory for his country, whose Korea Electric Power Corporation, Kepco, had led the bid and won out against more experienced French competition.