IranMiddle East

Iran Voices Concern about Safety of UAE’s N. Reactor

Head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali said that Tehran and several regional states are concerned about the safety of the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant.

“Many countries in the region and even some specialized associations have serious questions about the safety and security situation of this power plant, and even a country like Qatar has reflected these concerns to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” Jalali said on Saturday.

He underlined the need for the UAE to respond to the regional states’ concerns about the safety and security of the power plant.

“Countries that want to use advanced nuclear energy should also be able to meet the advanced safety and security standards,” Jalali said.

The nuclear regulator in the UAE issued an operating licence for the second unit of the Barakah nuclear power plant, an official from the regulator said in March.

The plant in the Al Dhafrah region of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates making up the UAE and the nation’s capital, is the first nuclear power station in the Arab world but it has raised safety concerns among the neighboring states.

Barakah’s Unit 1 was connected to the national power grid in August and in December reached 100% of reactor power capacity during testing.

Unit 1’s commercial operations are expected to start this year, Hamad Al Kaabi, deputy chairman of Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and the UAE’s representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told journalists.

The project has faced delays, some related to training staff as the country builds a nuclear industry from scratch.

Construction on Unit 1 began in 2012 and the plant was expected to start up in 2017, but FANR did not grant a licence to the operator Nawah Energy Company until February 2020.

Nawah first applied to FANR for licences for the two units in 2015.

When completed Barakah, which is being built by Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), will have four reactors with 5,600 megawatts (MW) of total capacity – equivalent to around 25% of the UAE’s peak demand.

Construction of Unit 3 is 94% complete and Unit 4 is 87% complete, Kaabi said.

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