UAE working with regional countries on nuclear power

Awad Mustafa
Awad Mustafa - Staff writer, Al Arabiya English
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As the United Arab Emirates prepares to launch the first nuclear power plant in the Arab-world regional powerhouses, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are expected in Abu Dhabi next month to participate in the first major nuclear conference in the region.

According to the UAE’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Hamad al-Kaabi, the UAE has been continuously providing assistance to regional countries interested in launching nuclear programs.

The IAEA’s International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century will be held for the first time in a Middle Eastern county between October 30 and November 1 al-Kaabi added.

“The conference will discuss the role of nuclear power and will engage in a strategic dialogue between senior officials, ministers and experts from around the member states of the IAEA to highlight the role of nuclear power but also addressing challenges talk about investment that’s needed,” al-Kaabi said.

In 2012 and 2015, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have announced their plans to launch peaceful nuclear power programs.

“Regionally we have shared our experience with all the interested partners and this goes with the assistance and support we can provide in the development of resources, approaches, regulations when it comes to building and licensing a power plant,” al-Kaabi told Al Arabiya English.

The UAE looks forward to more cooperation with countries from the region interested in developing nuclear energy programs, al-Kaabi said.

“When the UAE developed its approach for nuclear power it looked for a responsible approach with a commitment to the highest standards of nuclear safety and nonproliferation, part of it was to share that information with other countries who are interested in nuclear power,” he added.

Egypt signed a deal with Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation to establish the first Egyptian nuclear power plant, which will make it the largest Russian-Egyptian project since the Aswan Dam in the 1960’s.

Saudi Arabia is currently conducting their feasibility and design studies for its first two commercial nuclear reactors.

UAE energy minister Suhail al-Mazroui furthermore said that the first nuclear reactor would be operational by next year. He said that the first nuclear reactor was 96 percent complete.

Al-Kaabi told Al-Arabiya English that the overall completion rate for the four power plants is at 82 percent. “Commissioning is expected for the first unit next year as we go through the final completion of construction and also as we turn in to the commissioning phase of the project,” he said.

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