Nu­clear power to drive UAE econ­omy by 2021


Gulf News - - Nation - ABU DHABI BY SAMI ZAATARI Staff Re­porter

A t least 25 per cent of the UAE’s elec­tric­ity will come from nu­clear en­ergy by 2021, a top UAE of­fi­cial said at an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence in Abu Dhabi yes­ter­day.

Or­gan­ised by the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) ev­ery four years, the In­ter­na­tional Min­is­te­rial Con­fer­ence on Nu­clear Power in the 21st Cen­tury brings to­gether mem­ber states to dis­cuss the im­por­tance of mit­i­gat­ing cli­mate change by means of clean and sus­tain­able en­ergy sources — par­tic­u­larly nu­clear power.

“We have now reached the fi­nal stages of con­struc­tion for our first nu­clear power plant with the com­mis­sion­ing process well un­der­way. The con­struc­tion of all four re­ac­tors con­tin­ues to progress with an over­all com­ple­tion of 84 per cent,” Suhail Mo­ham­mad Al Faraj Al Mazroui, Min­is­ter of En­ergy and In­dus­try, said.

“Once all re­ac­tors are fully op­er­a­tional, they will pro­duce up to 25 per cent of the UAE’s en­ergy needs by 2021.”

Al Mazroui also said that the UAE was com­mit­ted to achiev­ing a clean en­ergy plan by 2050 that would see car­bon diox­ide emis­sions be­ing re­duced by 70 per cent in the coun­try.

“Ear­lier this year, we launched our na­tional en­ergy strat­egy for 2050, through which we aim to cut CO2 emis­sions by 70 per cent, and in­crease the use of clean en­ergy by 50 per cent. Nu­clear en­ergy forms an in­te­gral part of our ef­forts to re­duce CO2 emis­sions in our en­ergy use,” he said.

Al Mazroui also stressed the UAE’s firm pol­icy to­wards abid­ing by in­ter­na­tional frame­works for nu­clear en­ergy, and en­sur­ing the non-pro­lif­er­a­tion of nu­clear weapons.

Fukushima ac­ci­dent

Yukiya Amano, di­rec­tor­gen­eral, IAEA, said that gain­ing pub­lic con­fi­dence in nu­clear power was still a chal­lenge, in large part be­cause of the Fukushima nu­clear power plant ac­ci­dent in Ja­pan in 2011.

“Pub­lic con­fi­dence in the safety of nu­clear power was deeply shaken by the Fukushima ac­ci­dent in 2011. The postFukushima IAEA ac­tion plan on nu­clear safety made a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to im­prov­ing safety. Coun­tries with nu­clear power plants re­assessed all as­pects of safety and made im­prove­ments where nec­es­sary,” he said.

“[Another] key rea­son for pub­lic con­cern about nu­clear power is the prob­lem of nu­clear waste. There ex­ists per­cep­tions that there isn’t a so­lu­tion for nu­clear waste, but de­spite this per­cep­tion the nu­clear in­dus­try has been manag­ing [nu­clear] waste dis­posal suc­cess­fully for more than half a cen­tury,” he said, ad­dress­ing another pub­lic con­cern with nu­clear power.

“Dozens of stor­age fa­cil­i­ties for low level and in­ter­me­di­ary level [of] nu­clear waste are in op­er­a­tion through­out the world,” he added.

En­ergy de­mands

Wil­liam D. Mag­wood, di­rec­tor gen­eral, Nu­clear En­ergy Agency of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment, said that the fu­ture of meet­ing the world’s en­ergy de­mands would be a ma­jor chal­lenge, and even more so as the pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ued to in­crease.

“The un­cer­tainty about the fu­ture of en­ergy is higher than it has ever been … The fu­ture en­ergy port­fo­lio of the world will need to adapt.

“The fu­ture en­ergy port­fo­lio must also re­flect the as­pi­ra­tions of 1.2 bil­lion peo­ple in the world to­day who are cur­rently with­out ac­cess to elec­tric­ity, and 2.7 bil­lion peo­ple who lack clean cook­ing fa­cil­i­ties,” he added.

“[We] will also need to re­spond to the 6.5 mil­lion peo­ple a year who die pre­ma­turely be­cause of air pol­lu­tion. Th­ese chal­lenges are likely to grow, not shrink, as global pop­u­la­tions ex­pands from 7.5 bil­lion peo­ple to­day to 10 bil­lion [peo­ple] by 2050.”


■ His High­ness Shaikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Com­man­der of the UAE Armed Forces, re­ceives Yukiya Amano, Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral, IAEA, in Abu Dhabi, along with Shaikh Tah­noun Bin Mo­ham­mad Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Eastern Re­gion, Dr Amal Ab­dul­lah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the FNC, and Suhail Mo­ham­mad.

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