The world’s major nuclear energy powers will meet for the first time in four years in Abu Dhabi next month.
The International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century gathers 30 nations already producing nuclear generated electricity and a similar number who are developing plans for their own nuclear power.
They include the UAE, where the Barakah nuclear power plant in Al Dhafra is expecting to begin operating in the New Year, eventually providing around a quarter of the country’s electricity supply.
It is also the first time the conference has been held in the region. Hamad Al Kaabi, the permanent representative of the UAE to the UN and IAEA, said the choice of Abu Dhabi reflected the UAE’s “responsible approach” to nuclear energy.
“This is the first time it’s in the Middle East and also a country that has no nuclear experience,” he said.
The 2017 conference is organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in cooperation with the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Currently 60 new nuclear power plants are being built by 15 countries around the world. The UAE is constructing four reactors at Barakah.
Top among the issues to be discussed will be the world’s growing demand for energy, combined with the potential of the nuclear industry to cut carbon emissions attributed to climate change. It has been calculated the Barakah plant will will save the atmosphere from 21 million tonnes of CO2 a year.