UAE fires up first nuclear plant in the Arab world

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The teams successfully conducted comprehensive tests. (Twitter)
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Barakah is the first nuclear plant in the Arab world. (Twitter)
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The teams successfully conducted trial operations at Barakah. (Twitter)
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Updated 02 August 2020

UAE fires up first nuclear plant in the Arab world

  • Barakah’s Unit 1 will be ready to connect to the UAE’s electricity grid after several tests
  • When fully operational, Barakah will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity

DUBAI: The UAE has successfully conducted start up operations at Barakah, the first nuclear plant in the Arab world.
Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has been successfully started up by Nawah Energy Company, a subsidiary of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, state news agency WAM said.

“The teams successfully loaded nuclear fuel and carried out comprehensive tests … I congratulate my brother Mohamed bin Zayed for this achievement,” Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum earlier posted on Twitter.

Firing up one of Baraka’s units “is the most historic milestone to date in the delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program, as part of the process towards generating clean electricity for the Nation for at least the next 60 years,” WAM reported.
The start-up of Unit 1 marks the first time that the reactor safely produces heat, which is used to create steam, turning a turbine to generate electricity, it added.
Unit 1 will be ready to connect to the UAE’s electricity grid, delivering the first megawatts of clean electricity to the homes and businesses, once numerous safety tests have been conducted.
“Today is a truly historic moment for the UAE. It is the culmination of more than a decade of vision, strategic planning and robust program management,” Mohamed Ibrahim Al-Hammadi, the CEO of ENEC, said.
“We are now another step closer to achieving our goal of supplying up to a quarter of our Nation’s electricity needs and powering its future growth with safe, reliable, and emissions-free electricity.”
The UAE is the first country in the Arab World, and the 33rd nation globally, to develop a nuclear energy plant to generate safe, clean, and reliable baseload electricity. 
The Barakah plant is significantly contributing to the UAE’s efforts to move towards the electrification of its energy sector, and the decarbonization of electricity production. 
When fully operational, the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity while preventing the release of more than 21 million tons of carbon emissions every year, equivalent to the removal of 3.2 million cars from the UAE’s roads annually.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi congratulated Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on the successful launch of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, WAM reported.
Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Ambassador to the UAE Sheikh Khalid bin Abdullah bin Ali bin Hamad Al-Khalifa has also congratulated the country’s leadership on the operation of Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.
The ambassador said the launch is a significant step made by Emirati hands toward the production of clean energy, which reflects the vision of the country's leadership.
The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Naif bin Falah Al-Hajraf commended the start of the Arab World’s first peaceful nuclear energy plant. He also congratulated the UAE’s President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan for the successful launch, state news agency SPA reported.
“The UAE has long sought to build human capabilities and huge scientific, research, technical and administrative cadres. And over the years, it achieved tremendous accomplishments in several fields, and hereby announced the success of the operation of the first peaceful nuclear energy reactor in the Arab world in Abu Dhabi,” he said.
The Director General of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, FANR, Christer Viktorsson has also commended the successful startup of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, saying that while the world is under the impact of coronavirus, the delivery of this milestone is an important success to the UAE, WAM reported.


Iran cries victory after UN rejects US bid to extend arms embargo

Updated 15 August 2020

Iran cries victory after UN rejects US bid to extend arms embargo

  • Only two of the Council’s 15 members voted in favor of the US resolution seeking to extend the embargo
  • The result increases the likelihood that the US will try to unilaterally force a return of UN sanctions

TEHRAN: Iran on Saturday hailed a UN Security Council vote rejecting a US bid to extend an arms embargo on the Islamic republic, saying its foe has “never been so isolated.”
President Hassan Rouhani said the United States had failed to kill off what he called the “half alive” 2015 deal with major powers that gave Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
“The United States failed in this conspiracy with humiliation,” Rouhani told a televised news conference.
“In my opinion, this day will go down in the history of our Iran and in the history of fighting global arrogance.”
Only two of the Council’s 15 members voted in favor of the US resolution seeking to extend the embargo, highlighting the division between Washington and its European allies since President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear accord in May 2018.
Washington’s European allies all abstained, and Iran mocked the Trump administration for only winning the support of one other country, the Dominican Republic.
“In the 75 years of United Nations history, America has never been so isolated,” said foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi.
“Despite all the trips, pressure and the hawking, the United States could only mobilize a small country (to vote) with them,” he tweeted.
The result increases the likelihood that the US will try to unilaterally force a return of UN sanctions, which experts say threatens to plunge the Council into one of its worst-ever diplomatic crises.
“The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The embargo on conventional arms is due to expire on October 18 under the terms of a resolution that blessed the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Since Trump pulled out of the JCPOA and slapped unilateral sanctions on Iran under a campaign of “maximum pressure,” Tehran has since taken small but escalating steps away from compliance with the nuclear accord as it presses for sanctions relief.
European allies of the United States — who, along with Russia and China, signed the deal with Iran — have voiced support for extending the 13-year-long conventional arms embargo, saying an expiry threatens stability in the Middle East.
However, their priority is to preserve the JCPOA.
The US text, seen by AFP, effectively called for an indefinite extension of the embargo on Iran, which diplomats said would threaten the nuclear agreement.
Iran says it has the right to self-defense and that a continuation of the ban would mean an end to the nuclear deal.
Pompeo announced that members had failed to back the proposal around 30 minutes before Indonesia, the current president of the Security Council, announced that the official results included two votes against and 11 abstentions.
Russia and China opposed the resolution.
“The result shows again that unilateralism enjoys no support, and bullying will fail,” China’s UN mission tweeted.
Ambassador Gunter Sautter of Germany, which abstained, said “more consultations are needed” to find a solution that is acceptable to all council members.
During a call between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, the leaders “discussed the urgent need for UN action to extend the arms embargo on Iran.”
Hours earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on China, France, Russia, Britain, the US, Germany and Iran to convene an emergency video summit to avoid an escalation of tensions in the Gulf.
Washington has threatened to try to force a return of UN sanctions if it is not extended by using a controversial technique called “snapback.”
Pompeo has offered the contested argument that the US remains a “participant” in the nuclear accord as it was listed in the 2015 resolution — and therefore can force a return to sanctions if it sees Iran as being in violation of its terms.
European allies have been skeptical on whether Washington can force sanctions and warn that the attempt may delegitimize the Security Council.
Nevertheless, the US is expected to deliver the snapback letter next week, AFP understands.
Analysts suspect that Washington purposefully put forward a hard-line draft that it knew Council members would not be able to accept.
“The fact is that everybody at the UN believes this (resolution) is just a prelude to a US effort to trigger snapback and sink the Iranian nuclear deal,” Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the International Crisis Group, told AFP.