ABU DHABI: he oil-rich United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced the startup of its Barakah nuclear power plant, scoring another first for the Arab world. The announcement, coinciding with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, comes hot on the heels of the UAE’s launch of the Arab world’s first probe to Mars. “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.
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”. The plant is a regional first — Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, has said it plans to build up to 16 nuclear reactors, but the project has yet to materialize. 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. — AFP