UAE Launches Start-up Operations at 1st Arab Nuclear Plant
The United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced the startup of its Barakah nuclear power plant, the first in the Arab world.
"UAE first nuclear reactor at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has achieved first criticality and successfully started up," tweeted Hamad Alkaabi, the country's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"This is a historic milestone for the nation with a vision set to deliver a new form of clean energy for the nation," he tweeted in English, along with a photograph of technicians raising their arms in celebration.
The UAE premier and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, tweeted that work at Barakah had "succeeded in loading nuclear fuel packages, carrying out comprehensive tests and successfully completing the operation.”
"Congratulations on realizing this historic achievement in the energy sector & marking this milestone in the roadmap for sustainable development," Sheikh Mohammed said.
The UAE started loading fuel rods into the reactor at Barakah in February, after regulators gave the green light for the first of the plant's four reactors, opening the way for commercial operations.
The plant on the Gulf coast west of Abu Dhabi had been due to go online in late 2017 but faced a number of delays.
Barakah was built by a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) at a cost of some $24.4 billion.
When fully operational, its four reactors have the capacity to generate 5,600 megawatts of electricity, around 25 percent of the nation's needs. The remaining three reactors are almost ready for operation.