Written by Prakriti Panwar, a grade 11 student.
Recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) become the first Arab country to launch its own Nuclear Power Plant. Though they claimed that this was meant only for energy supply purposes, questions about its long-term effects were raised.
As claimed by the officials, the power plant has been set up to ‘decrease its reliance on oil’ as is solely meant to fulfill the nation’s energy needs. Designed in South Korea, this plant will provide electricity to about one-fourth of the nation.
To ensure safety and quality, the PAT process was conducted extensively over a period of several months to ensure the highest standards which were also in accordance with the most basic rules and regulations. Moreover, the plant is being developed in accordance with the 2008 UAE Policy on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy.
The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) too, gave the project a thumbs up on the basis of the receipt of the Operating Licence. The FANR is also working with the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure that UAE setting up its plant in accordance with nuclear non- proliferation.
However, Paul Dorfman, a researcher at University College London’s Energy Institute, mentioned that “UAE’s investment in these four nuclear reactors risks further destabilizing the volatile Gulf region, damaging the environment and raising the possibility of nuclear proliferation”
Questions were also raised as to why UAE opted to go for Nuclear instead of solar energy, or other renewable energy resources. The UAE replied by saying that it was only nuclear energy that seemed feasible enough to satisfy the country’s energy needs.
The Middle East, known for its ‘nuclear secrecy’ managed to further taint UAE’s peaceful intentions. To keep away from allegations of the same, the UAE signed up for United Nation’s ‘Additional Protocol’, for advanced ‘inspection capabilities’
The UAE is now focusing on investing their money in this plant and they aim for it to cover half of its energy needs by 2050. Currently, the four operators are capable of generating energy for 25 percent of its population. Barakah, which literally translates into ‘blessing’ in Arabic has indeed proven to be one for the UAE. As it has correctly been pointed out by a gulf analyst, “This is part of the UAE’s drive to diversify its energy economy, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and project its image as a regional leader in science and technology”
What is a nuclear power plant?
A nuclear power plant is a power station in which the heat comes from a nuclear reactor. This heat is used to create steam that powers a turbine, which is connected to a generator that produces electricity (a turbine is a machine that produces continuous power where a kind of a wheel revolves by the force of a fast-moving flow of water, steam, gas, air, or other fluid).