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UAE’s first nuclear plant begins commercial operations

Dubai: In a first for the Arab world, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday announced the first nuclear power plant that has started commercial operations.

The authorities say that the nuclear power plant in Barakah has gone into operation and commenced commercial operations, and that it will eventually provide a quarter of the country’s energy needs.

“The first megawatt from the first Arab nuclear plant has entered the national power grid,” wrote Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Twitter.

“The effort of 10 years and 2,000 engineers and Emirati young men and 80 international partners… and the vision of a leader who put the UAE in an unprecedented developmental position…”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, said, “Today, the first peaceful nuclear energy stations of Barakah begin commercial operation … a historic Arab achievement” for the country, which this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding.

The construction of the Barakah plant faced disruptions as the UAE builds the sector from scratch.An operating license for the plant’s first unit was issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2020, three years after the planned start of operation of the plant in 2017.

The project is part of an effort by the UAE, a major oil producer, to move away from the use of fossil fuels.

The UAE is the fourth-largest oil producer in OPEC. Its economy is built on oil, but it is spending billions to develop enough renewable energy to cover half of its needs by 2050.