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The United Arab Emirates announced on Saturday that it had started one of the four reactors at the Barakah nuclear power plant, the first in the Arab world, whose commissioning has been repeatedly delayed.

The United Arab Emirates announced, Saturday 1er August, the entry into service of their civilian nuclear power plant in Barakah. “We are announcing today that the United Arab Emirates have successfully commissioned the first reactor at the Barakah power plant, the first in the Arab world,” tweeted Sheikh Mohammed bin Rached al-Maktoum, Prime Minister of the Emirates and ruler of Dubai.

“This is a historic moment for the Emirates in their goal of providing a new form of clean energy to the nation,” said Hamad Alkaabi, the representative of the Emirates to the International Atomic Energy Agency. (IAEA).

A start postponed several times

The Emirati authorities had given the green light in February to the operation of the nuclear power plant located in the northwest of the country, without giving a date for its commissioning.

Founded in 2016, the Nawah Energy Company is to eventually operate and maintain the four reactors to be installed there, according to the company’s website.

Construction is being carried out by a consortium led by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and the South Korean company Korea Electric Power Corporation, at an estimated cost of $ 24.4 billion.

The first of the four reactors was to be commissioned at the end of 2017 but the start date has been postponed several times to meet, according to officials, the legal safety conditions.

Growing electricity needs

When fully operational, the four reactors will have the capacity to produce 5,600 megawatts of electricity, or about 25% of the needs of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.

The federal state made up of seven emirates has a population of 9.3 million, of which around 80% are expatriates. Electricity needs are increasing due in particular to the use of air conditioning during scorching summers.

Emirati officials have insisted on the “peaceful” nature of their nuclear program and ensure that it contains no military component, in a context of increased regional tensions.

With AFP

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