UAE launches Arab world's first nuclear power plant

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) said on Saturday it had successfully opened a nuclear power plant, becoming the first Arab country to produce nuclear energy.

The $22.4 billion (19 billion) Barakahplant on the Gulf coast west of Abu Dhabi is being developed by a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation.

On Saturday, the UAE, a federation of seven emirates, pushed the button on the first of the four reactors.

"Today we announce the UAE's success in operating the first peaceful nuclearreactor in the Arab world at BarakahNuclearPlant in Abu Dhabi," vice president and ruler of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid said.

"The aim is to operate fournuclearpower plants that will provide a quarter of the country's energy needs in a safe, reliable and emission-free way," he added.

When fully operational, the four reactors will generate 5,600 megawatts around 25% of the UAE's electricity with zero carbon emissions, according to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation. 

Commercial operation is planned for later this year. Unit 1 of the plant would be ready to connect to the UAE's electricity grid, delivering the first megawatts of electricity to homes and businesses in the country.

Read more: What's the science on the Emirates Mars Mission?

'Peaceful' purposes 

The energy-hungry Gulf Arab state has a population of 10 million, is home to massive glass skyscrapers and intense air-conditioning systems to beat the desert heat. 

"This is part of the UAE's drive to diversify its energy economy, reduce....

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