At the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), today, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano provided an overview of the role of nuclear power in coming years, highlighting the importance of nuclear safety and security. He also commended the UAE for the progress in the construction of its first nuclear power plant at Barakah.
“Use of nuclear power looks set to continue to grow in the coming decades,” Mr Amano said. Many countries are looking at nuclear as a possible source of energy to address development, energy security and to help mitigate climate change, he noted.
The Summit brings together international thought leaders and pioneers to engage in dialogue to help improve the lives of citizens worldwide. At the event, Mr Amano underscored the lessons learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident in 2011, highlighting the IAEA’s central role in nuclear safety and security. “After Fukushima no one challenges that safety must come first,” he said. “And we have learned many lessons from this accident. I see the changes in every nuclear power plant I visit.”
Mr Amano also noted progress in dealing with high-level nuclear waste and spent fuel from power plants through geological disposal, pointing to the progress made by Finland, Sweden and France in this area.
After the Summit, Mr Amano met Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Minister of Energy Suhail Mohammed Faraj Al Mazroui, to discuss the progress in the construction of the UAE’s nuclear power plant. They also discussed the joint preparation of the IAEA’s International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, to be held in Abu Dhabi from 30 October to 1 November this year.
UAE’s nuclear programme
A rapidly developing economy and rising demand for electricity prompted the UAE to embark on a nuclear energy programme in 2008. Nuclear power is expected to contribute up to 25% of the UAE’s peak electricity demand by 2020.
The UAE was the first new country to start building a new nuclear power plant in three decades, when it started constructing the Barakah plant in 2012.
“We will continue to work very closely with the UAE as they complete all four units at Barakah, and throughout the operating life of the facility and beyond,” Mr Amano told Mohamed Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, in charge of the construction at Barakah. “I welcome very much that the UAE is now sharing their experience with other newcomers to nuclear power.”