The United Arab Emirates passed the final hurdle in its lengthy quest to be the first Arab nation with a nuclear power plant.
The UAE’s nuclear regulator on Monday cleared the Barakah reactor to start loading fuel and begin commercial use in the coming months, according to Bloomberg. The country is set to become the first Arab state to achieve nuclear energy and will join 30 other countries in using the clean, although controversial, form of energy.
Barakah is part of a joint venture with Korea Electric Power Corp, and the oil-wealthy Arab country has plans for more such reactors. The UAE hopes to have four, including Barakah, up and running by 2023. The total cost to build the reactors is estimated to be around $25 billion, and they are expected to compose almost a fifth of UAE’s current installed generating capacity.
Mycle Schneider, an independent analyst, questioned the efficacy of the ambitious project as the cost of producing nuclear power has grown 26% over the past decade.
“Barakah was meant to be the showcase for the international nuclear industry,” Schneider said. “Grid connection is at least three years late, and there is no doubt that it is way over budget.”
Despite the price tag, the UAE is hoping to get its renewable energy usage up to about 75% by 2050. Other Arab countries also want to join the nuclear club, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt pushing for power plants.
This is not the first time Arab nations have tried to build nuclear energy capabilities. Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, worked on the Osiris research reactor when Israel bombed the facility in 1981 out of fears that the country was using atomic power as a front to build nuclear weapons.
The post First nuclear reactor in Arab nation cleared to begin operation appeared first on Washington Examiner.