The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced on Saturday that operations have been launched at the first nuclear power plant in the Arab world, located at Barakah.
The UAE has “succeeded in loading nuclear fuel packages, carrying out comprehensive tests and successfully completing the operation,” UEA Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum tweeted.
“Congratulations on realising this historic achievement in the energy sector and marking this milestone in the roadmap for sustainable development,” added Al-Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai.
This is “a historic milestone” for UAE “with a vision set to deliver a new form of clean energy for the nation,” tweeted Hamad Alkaabi, UAE’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The UAE authorities had given the go-ahead for the start-up of the plant, located in the northwest of the country, in February, without mentioning a date.
It will eventually have four reactors, operated and maintained by the Nawah Energy Company, founded in 2016.
The construction is being done by a consortium led by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) of South Korea at an estimated cost of 24.4 billion dollars.
The first of the four reactors was to have been in operation by late 2017, but the start-up date was postponed repeatedly in order to meet the legal security conditions, according to officials.
When fully operational, the four reactors will have the capacity to produce 5,600 megawatts of electricity, equivalent to about 25% of the energy needs of the oil-rich country.
The UAE, made up of seven emirates, has 9.3 million inhabitants, 80% of them migrant workers.