The United Arab Emirates (UAE) strongly believes that nuclear energy is the best choice to meet growing energy demand, energy minister Suhail Al Mazrouei has said.
The UAE, which expects to see its first nuclear power plant start up next year, is preparing to host an international ministerial conference on nuclear power.
The 2017 International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century takes place from 30 October to 1 November. It is organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in cooperation with the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and hosted under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Energy in collaboration with the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).
Al Mazrouei said Abu Dhabi's hosting of the conference was a "recognition" of its "successful efforts" and "leading international position" in the development of its peaceful nuclear energy program. The minister pointed out that the under the UAE's Vision 21 - a national agenda set in 2010 - the country adopted a policy of diversification of energy sources in such a way as to reduce fuel and natural gas consumption.
Its National Energy Strategy 2050, published in January, gives priority to nuclear energy and aims to promote the use of "environmentally friendly" energy over the next three decades.
The minister said the UAE is confident that nuclear energy is "the best choice to meet the growing demand for energy", and said its nuclear energy plant would contribute to meeting the country's electricity needs and support the goals of sustainable development.
Initial construction of the UAE's first power reactor, Barakah 1, was completed in May and operating company Nawah Energy Company is now awaiting approval from national regulators before the final stage of loading fuel and bringing it into service.
Operations are scheduled to commence in 2018. This will make the UAE "the first country to implement a new peaceful nuclear energy program in three decades", the Ministry of Energy said last week.