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Mena N-plans make waves
Issac John / 20 August 2012
Huge investments in nuclear projects by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have made the Middle East and North Africa, or Mena, one of the booming global markets of the nuclear industry with $300 billion worth of construction and operation projects under way, according to organisers of an industry conference.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have already made significant headway with their nuclear energy programmes, said the Nuclear Energy Insider, which is organising the third Annual Mena Nuclear Construction Conference in Dubai next month.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah City of Atomic and Renewable Energy aims to produce zero carbon dioxide emissions through an energy mix of nuclear power and other renewable sources. This complex and sizeable new nuclear project is by far the region’s largest, with an individual budget of over $350 billion to secure 16 new nuclear units by 2030. The UAE’s nuclear-power programme is a joint venture between state-owned Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp, or Enec, and Korea Electric Power Corp, or Kepco, and was last year reported to have cost $30 billion.
Recently, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, or FANR, gave the UAE project the green light and building work has begun on the facility that will house the country’s first nuclear reactor.
The FANR granted the Enec a licence to build Units One and Two at the Barakah Nuclear Facility following an 18-month review of the application, with Enec pouring more than 1,500 cubic metres of concrete to form a portion of the foundation slab of the Barakah Unit 1 Reactor Containment Building.
Enec has been authorised to construct two Korean-design advanced pressurised water reactors, which will each be capable of producing 1,400MW.
Last year, the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission announced a single 1,000MW unit to be constructed at Majdal, Mafraq Province in central Jordan. Jordan is planning a suite of six plants of around 1,100MW each, intending to begin building the first in 2013. Turkey has plans to commission four large plants (1,200MW), the first by 2018. They country has contracted with the Russian State Atomic Energy Company to commence building in 2013.
Kuwait has plans for four supersize (1,700MW) plants. The Kuwait National Nuclear Energy Committee has only confirmed a more modest policy to build 1,100MW power stations by 2022. Kuwait has signed an international cooperation agreement with Japan and established a national nuclear energy commission in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Egypt plans to build four 1,000MW plants by 2025 and is currently in discussion with reactor suppliers.
IN May, Iran said it would build a new nuclear power plant, alongside its sole existing one in the southern city of Bushehr, by early 2014. The head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organisation said.
Iran would build a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bushehr next year.
The current Bushehr nuclear plant was started by German engineers in the 1970s and was completed by Russia, which continues to help keeping it running and provides fuel for it. Inaugurated in 2010, it is due to come fully on-line in November this year.
In addition, Iran has a research reactor operating in Tehran that is used to make medical isotopes for patients with cancer and other illnesses
If the Middle East develops production of nuclear power as planned, it is predicted that the region will eventually be producing around 25,000 tonnes of nuclear waste every year.
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