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Sun 09-04-2017 21:45 PM

Cabinet holds session at Barakah Nuclear Power Plant

ABU DHABI, 9th April, 2017 (WAM) -- The UAE Cabinet held its extraordinary meeting at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in the Al Dhafra region to highlight the UAE’s pursuit to be a global leader in peaceful nuclear energy that upholds the highest standards of quality and safety and is operated by qualified Emirati cadres.

The meeting was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, “Under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the directions of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the UAE is paving the way to be at the forefront of clean and renewable energy with promising projects operated by qualified Emirati cadres.”

On the sidelines of the meeting, the Cabinet was briefed on the latest developments in the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme, which is considered the largest peaceful nuclear energy project currently under construction globally. The briefing was delivered by Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), along with a number of UAE engineers working at ENEC and Nawah Energy Company, which is leading the operations of the plant in accordance with the highest international standards of safety and quality.

A presentation on the project and operational readiness was given by Maryam Qasem, Head of Nuclear Fuel Procurement, and Ali Al Nuaimi, Senior Reactor Operator. 

The Cabinet toured the facility with Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO of ENEC, and Mohammed Sahoo Al Suwaidi, Acting CEO of Nawah. The tour included a briefing in the simulator training centre by Amani Al Hosani, Deputy Head of Simulators. The centre provides extensive training necessary to obtain the nuclear reactor operator certificates. 

"We are proud of our young people who work in the world's largest energy programs and are the engine of future achievements," said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. "Energy is a key component of the UAE Centennial Plan 2071, and safe nuclear energy will play an important and vital role," His Highness added. "Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is a national strategic project in which 60% of the employees are Emiratis and 20% are women, and it will provide quality jobs in the fields of engineering and advanced technology in order to contribute to the development of our industrial and modern sectors, benefiting generations to come.” His Highness concluded.

Sheikh Mohammed also stressed the role of safe and clean nuclear energy in supporting the local economy and the energy sector in the UAE. The project will provide a quarter of the country's electricity needs.

On a different topic, the Cabinet adopted a number of resolutions and laws on the agenda of the meeting, including the approval of a Higher Committee to oversee the implementation of the Emirates Standarised Test system headed by the Minister of Education, and the issuance of a federal law on the regulations and organisations of mosques. The resolutions also included the approval of an amendment to previous decisions of the Cabinet, Decision No. 42 of 2009 on the minimum capital requirement for insurance companies. The Cabinet also approved and ratified a number of international agreements in the framework of strengthening international cooperation. 

The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme has succeeded in establishing a strong basis for future achievements with the objective of providing safe, reliable and clean electricity to the United Arab Emirates.

The total cost of the project amounts to over AED 89 billion, of which more than AED 11 billion worth of contracts have been awarded to 1,400 Emirati companies up to the end of 2016. This indicates the economic and competitive opportunities available to companies that allow them to develop their quality and safety policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the highest quality standards of the nuclear energy sector. 

The Government of the United Arab Emirates has been keen on continuing close cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and various relevant governmental bodies in order to adopt the best practices for the development of peaceful nuclear energy, which will help in meeting the requirements of the Paris Convention on Climate Change signed in 2015 and ratified In 2016 aimed at reducing carbon emissions for power generation.

The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program of the United Arab Emirates has been praised by experts in the nuclear field, and government officials around the world, who consider the UAE’s nuclear energy programme a reference for all countries wishing to develop a new peaceful nuclear programme for the production of electricity.

Since its establishment in 2009, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has been keen to complete the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in accordance with the highest standards of safety and security. Construction started in 2012, and the completion rate in the first unit has reached 94%, while the total combined completion rate of the four units has reached 78%. With completion of all units, the project will provide around a quarter of the UAE's safe, sustainable and clean electricity needs.