(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The UAE's nuclear programme is the most cost-effective peaceful project in the world, the minister of energy and industry told Khaleej Times on Monday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the three-day Nuclear Power in the 21st Century Conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday, minister Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei said: "It is great to have this conference for the first time in a country that is newly entering the nuclear world. The UAE has delivered the fastest and most cost-effective programme in the world, with a creation of a full system in infrastructure and in just 10 years. No one has done it that fast and no one has delivered the project without significant delays".
Al Mazrouei said that as a recognition from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the ministerial conference was agreed to be held in the UAE, which has already seen an impressive turnout. The UAE is the first country in the Arab world to host the conference, which concludes on Wednesday.
"We have 64 countries participating and more than 700 delegates from various organisations - just from the attendance itself, we can already say that it is a successful conference."
He said the UAE's nuclear energy programme began more than 10 years ago. "The programme began as a sketch, back in 2008 and since then we have engaged with the IAEA to have approval for establishing a new programme."
He said since then, the independent regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), has been established.
"We also established a company to manage the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) of the project, which is the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec). We are approaching the completion of the programme, which is around 84 per cent.
"The first plant will be ready next year, with a current completion rate of around 96 per cent. All of this was done within 10 years, which is remarkable," the minister added.
The Barakah plant The UAE's Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is the world's largest nuclear plant that is currently under construction. Located in Al Dhafrah Region - approximately 53 kilometres south-west of the city of Ruwais - the project illustrates the UAE's steps towards delivering clean, efficient and reliable electricity to the country.
The site was selected for the UAE's first nuclear energy plant, based on an evaluation of a range of environmental, commercial and technical factors. The plant consists of four APR1400 reactors - a third-generation nuclear water reactor, with an operating life of 60 years.
The first unit of the plant is 96 per cent complete, the second unit is 86 per cent complete, the third unit is 76 per cent complete, while the fourth unit is 55 per cent complete. The plant will provide up to 25 per cent of the country's electricity needs by 2021, and contribute to the 50 per cent target of clean energy by 2050.