Nuclear power is clean source of energy - GulfToday

Nuclear power is clean source of energy


COP27 participants arrive at the Sharm El Sheikh International Convention Centre, Egypt. Agence France-Presse

As the UN Conference on Climate Change, COP27, began at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, United Arab Emirates’ Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) Director-General Christer Viktorsson told Arab News’ Frankly Speaking television show that nuclear power is one of the solutions to dealing with the crisis of climate change, though it is not the only solution.

He cited UAE’s nuclear reactor at Barakah, with its technology for safety in the light of the accidents at Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011, as the ideal project for handling nuclear power as a clean source of energy. He said that there were hazards but technology has been developed to integrate safety elements into the construction of the reactor.

While expressing concern at the threat of nuclear weapons being used in the Russia-Ukraine war, he said that the Barakah was protected from possible terrorist threats, and cyber security measures were also incorporated against Houthi threats of firing a missile at Barakah.

 Viktorsson said that “nuclear safety in general has improved significantly since Chernobyl. It improved further after the Fukushima accident. Many safety enhancements have been done.”

Nuclear power has been an attractive alternative source, and it is both feasible and it is clean.

There have been sceptics in the West and elsewhere about the safety aspect, especially with regard to its radiation aspect.

But compared to alternative renewable sources of energy like solar and wind, nuclear power plants have a workable technology. It is of course costly, and the gestation period for constructing and commissioning a nuclear power plant takes between five and 10 years. But once the conditions are met, it offers assured and clean power supply.

The UAE has been one of early movers in the region to opt for a nuclear power option, and now Saudi Arabia has been also working on its first nuclear reactor at the King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST). The UAE officials have toured the KACST. Victorsson said that cooperation between UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on nuclear power is an ideal model for other countries to follow, where the two countries follow transparent protocols and share technological know-how.

With the controversial Iranian nuclear programme with its suspected military dimension makes the UAE nuclear power project an ideal counterpoint, and the cooperation between the UAE and KSA also shows how to keep the suspicions at bay as to the use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

Even when the other green technologies of generating power are available, as pointed out by Viktorsson the nuclear power option remains one of the realistic options, which should not be overlooked.

And it becomes all the more important that the nuclear power projects are implemented in full international view leaving no room for doubts about its military use.

Viktorsson has explained the cooperation part very clearly in the interview. He said, “There are may things to learn from each other’s practices. I mean, we have in the UAE recently built three reactors and Saudi Arabia is starting to build.

So, of course there (are) a lot of interest in common. And the UAE and FANR is willing to share, because one of our principles is transparency and openness to civil nuclear technology.”

And he rightly points out that the nuclear cooperation between the UAE and KSA is a model, which could serve as an example for other countries. It is understood that the climate change challenge cannot be solved by each country separately, but it has to be done collectively.

And the most practical way of doing this is to increase cooperation between countries in sharing technology as is being done by the UAE and KSA.

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