IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano visited the UAE from 28-29 January 2013. The visit served as an important opportunity for the Director General to see first-hand the progress made in the construction of the UAE's first Nuclear Power Plant at Barakah. The Director General also discussed with the UAE authorities the advancement of their nuclear programme and on-going close cooperation with the IAEA.
During the visit the Director General met Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. They discussed the on-going strong cooperation between the Agency and the UAE on its nuclear power programme and other areas. The Director General provided an overview of the IAEA's activities in supporting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as well as nuclear non-proliferation and the situation in Iran.
During his visit to the construction site of the Barakah Nuclear Facility, the Director General discussed the development of the project with Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE's Permanent Representative to the IAEA, and Mohamed Al Hammadi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), as well as senior officials from ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), which is leading the construction consortium building the Power Plant. They also discussed the IAEA's work in strengthening nuclear safety.
Noting the progress achieved in the construction of the Barakah Nuclear Facility thus far, the Director General stressed the importance of the UAE project, as the first country in 27 years to start construction on its first Nuclear Power Plant. He stated that the IAEA has supported the UAE programme since it was launched in 2008, and that the Agency would continue to work closely in cooperation with the UAE. He said that the UAE's safe and consistent progress in the introduction of nuclear power can serve as a model for other countries considering a nuclear power program.
The Director General also emphasized that the Barakah Nuclear Facility's construction is only the beginning of an extensive, long-term commitment that requires safe operation, emergency preparation and a plan to manage waste. He expressed the hope that the UAE would share its experience with other nations, as well as its experience in the use of nuclear technology in cancer therapy and agricultural development.
During his visit, the Director General also met officials from the Executive Affairs Authority and the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.
The UAE cooperates closely with the IAEA in the introduction of nuclear power. The country plans to supply up to 20% of the electricity consumed nationally through nuclear power by 2020 to help meet the rising demand for energy.
With a construction start in July 2012, the UAE was the first country to commence the construction of its first Nuclear Power Plant in 27 years, since China began construction of its first nuclear power plant in 1985.
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) poured the first nuclear safety-related concrete at the Barakah Nuclear Facility on 18 July 2012, after receiving a construction license from the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR). The first APR1400 unit, an advanced pressurised water reactor capable of producing 1 400 megawatts of electricity, is being constructed by a Korean consortium led by KEPCO, and is scheduled to be in operation in 2017. Three additional units are planned to be operational by 2020 and will deliver 5.6 GWe (A gigawatt, or GW, is equal to one billion watts or 1 000 megawatts. In the electric power industry, gigawatt electrical (GWe) refers to an amount of electric power).