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The Arab world’s first nuclear reactor was completed in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, symbolizing the region’s slow march towards renewable and alternative energy sources.
By 2020, the Barakah plant will add three more reactors to its facility, making it capable of fulfilling 25 percent of the nation’s 5,600 MW energy demand for the next 60 to 100 years.
Natural gas powers roughly all of the UAE’s energy needs, and the new nuclear power plant, named Barakah, is set to begin contributing to the grid in 2018. The UAE Energy Plan 2050 will lower the contribution of gas to 38 percent, while that of clean fossil fuels, nuclear and renewable energy will be raised to 12 percent, 6 percent and 44 percent, respectively, by 2050.
Technical assistance from Iran and France and financial investments from Gulf partners allowed to the project to come to fruition, according to The Daily Caller.
France is a known international leader in nuclear energy because the country meets three-fourths of its energy demand with nuclear power.
The global community levied six years of sanctions against Iran over suspicions regarding the nature of the country’s nuclear program. In January 2016, Tehran struck a deal with a group of Western powers, allowing Iran to restart the sale of its oil in global markets and continue its nuclear power plan under strict supervision from the International Energy Agency and other partners.
The decision to build a nuclear power plant in the UAE was made in 2009, to satisfy the country’s growing electricity needs, which were estimated to double between 2009 and 2020.
The $20 billion project was awarded to a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Co and also included Westinghouse, Samsung, Hyundai, Japan’s Toshiba, and Doosan Heavy Industries.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…