Barakah: Nuclear Power Plant In Arab World

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Meher Azeem Hakro
The United Arab Emirates has launched a nuclear power plant, the first in the oil- rich Arab world. The Barakah nuclear power plant is the UAE's first nuclear power plant in the Arabian Peninsula. The site is in the Gharbiya region on the coast, close to Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Its total capacity is 5,600 MW to supply up to 25% of the UAE's energy needs. Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) awarded this project to Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) on $24.4 billion bid to build the first nuclear power plant in the UAE. According to the UAE government, they have worked closely with
international nuclear bodies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, in developing the plant. It is an environmentally friendly project and will not emit carbon gases. Moreover, the project will help boost the economy and create thousands of jobs from nuclear production. The plant system will be constantly monitored over the time. The quality has also been tested to ensure that it meets the best international standards of safety, quality and security, in addition to all regulatory requirements. The
UAE leadership has assured the international community that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Authorities have also made it clear that uranium enrichment programme or nuclear reprocessing technologies will not begin. Israel and Iran, two other countries in the region, have already nuclear capabilities. Israel has undeclared nuclear weapons and Iran has a controversial uranium enrichment program. The Yemeni-based Houthi rebel group claims to have attacked the Barakah plant during construction in 2017. Nevertheless, the UAE denied the claim that the Houthis fired a missile toward the country. Qatar, which last year lodged a complaint with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the Barakah plant, described it as a serious threat to the stability of the region and
its environment. Neighboring Saudi Arabia also plans to build 16 nuclear reactors while pursuing a nuclear cooperation deal with the United States. However, the work has not yet begun. Egypt also plans to build a power plant with four nuclear reactors. Pakistan has various sources of electricity generation, of which 24.4% are generated by hydroelectricity, 65% thermal, 7.7% nuclear and 2.9% by renewable sources. There are five nuclear power plants operating on two sites in the country, one unit namely Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) at Karachi and four units at Chashma. The four units of Chashma
are amongst the best performing electricity generating plants in the country, in terms of endurance and availability. The UAE has extensive oil and gas reserves, but it has made huge investments in developing alternative energy sources, including nuclear and solar. Pakistan is currently going through a severe electrical power crisis. Therefore, Pakistan should also increase energy capacity to overcome its power shortage. Therefore Pakistan needs to build more nuclear power plants to provide energy relief and for
the socio economic uplift of the country. At present Pakistan is only getting 7.7% of its electricity from nuclear power and it needs to be further increased.