N-Plant a Step Closer

  • 20 November 2007

The first stage of a feasibility study into plans for a nuclear power plant in the Gulf has been completed, it was revealed yesterday.

The study was being carried out jointly by the GCC and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Ali bin Abdullah Al-Owais, Under-Secretary at the UAE’s Ministry of Energy.

Nuclear power was the ultimate solution to meet future energy demands and challenges, he told the 13th Annual Energy Conference of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi.

The country—with its rapid growth in all sectors—could not always depend on hydrocarbon energy. Nor could it fully rely on renewable energy sources such as solar power.

Al-Owais told Emirates Today: “Once the final feasibility study is ready in four or five years’ time it will be submitted to the Supreme Council of the GCC for approval. Following that the project will be executed.” He said the scheme will be completed under the supervision of the IAEA, which had already given the green light  to the plans.

In his keynote address, Al-Owais said: “The demand for energy is growing fast—last year it rose by 15 per cent and it is growing further.
There are many questions that need to be answered—for example, how long will our natural resources last?”

The consensus for going nuclear has been growing in the GCC countries and finally it has been decided that the region will have a joint atomic power plant.” The GCC Supreme Council launched its joint nuclear power project last year and asked the IAEA for help to build the plant.

“The GCC nuclear power project is in progress and is expected to take at least 15 years to complete,” added Al-Owais. “The plant is expected to be operational in 2025.”

It will be constructed in a safe area.” But he declined to name the GCC country where the plant would be built. All other energy sources—such as solar and other renewable forms—would be supporting elements. But the ultimate solution was atomic power.

Nuclear energy is considered the optimal means of generating electricity in the world today. In 2006, there were 442 nuclear plants in 44 countries.
He said: “The demand for power in the region is the highest in the world. We need a huge supply of energy as our growth continues.”