The oil-rich United Arab Emirates announced the launch of their Barakah nuclear power plant on Saturday, a first for the Arab world.
“The UAE’s first nuclear reactor at the Barakah nuclear power plant has reached criticality and has been put into operation successfully,” tweeted Hamad Alkaabi, the country’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“This is a historic milestone for the nation with the vision of delivering a new form of clean energy for the nation,” he tweeted in English, along with a photo of technicians raising their arms in celebration.
The Prime Minister and ruler of the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, tweeted that work in Barakah “had successfully loaded nuclear fuel packages, carried out extensive tests and successfully completed the operation”.
“Congratulations on realizing this historic achievement in the energy sector and marking this milestone in the roadmap for sustainable development,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
The United Arab Emirates began loading fuel rods into the Barakah reactor in February after regulators gave the go-ahead for the first of the plant’s four reactors, paving the way for commercial operation.
The plant on the Gulf Coast west of Abu Dhabi was due to start operating in late 2017, but suffered a number of delays that officials attributed to security and regulatory requirements.
The Nawah Energy Company said at the time that Block 1 would begin commercial operation after a “series of tests” that led to the launch process.
During the process, the device is synchronized with the power grid and the first power is generated.
The UAE has significant oil and gas reserves, but with a power-hungry population of 10 million, it has made huge investments in developing clean alternatives, including solar energy.
The facility is a regional premiere – Saudi Arabia, the world‘s largest oil exporter, has announced plans to build up to 16 nuclear reactors, but the project is ongoing.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)