Why the UAE must absolutely invest in nuclear energy
Dr. Kenneth Petrunik from the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, ENEC, discussed the critical role of nuclear energy in meeting global energy demand.
Dr. Petrunik was speaking at a panel discussion at the World Future Energy Summit 2014 entitled: "Nuclear Energy A Role To Place In A Sustainable Energy Future".
The panel discussed how global opinion regarding nuclear energy is evolving and if nuclear energy is resuming its place as a key electricity generation technology supporting the transition to a low carbon future. Recounting his 40-year experience in the global nuclear industry, Dr. Petrunik said no other energy source can provide the same volumes of clean electricity as nuclear energy. Dr. Petrunik also provided an overview of the progress of the U.A.E. s successful nuclear energy programme, which is globally heralded as a gold standard for other responsible nations considering new nuclear programmes. "ENEC has spent the last four years working to develop a safe, reliable and efficient nuclear energy programme for the U.A.E.," said Dr. Petrunik. "Today, we have our first two plants already under construction. We are also on track to break ground on our third plant later this year." By 2020, the U.A.E. will have four plants in commercial operation, producing 5600MW of clean electricity, which will meet up to a quarter of the country s energy needs. The programme will also save the U.A.E. approximately 12 million tons in greenhouse gas emissions every year.
"There are many more benefits to a world-class nuclear energy programme that the U.A.E. will also gain," continued Dr. Petrunik. "These include the economic growth and development of a new, high-tech industry, job creation for thousands of employees and enhanced training and development programmes through partnerships with world-leading academic institutions." Dr. Petrunik also highlighted the importance of public support in developing new nuclear programs. ENEC has striven to educate its communities about nuclear energy in order to build confidence and correct misperceptions. The latest research figures indicate that more than 80% of the U.A.E. population believes nuclear energy is important for the nation.
As part of its community awareness initiative, ENEC has been hosting a series of ongoing public forums all over the country to inform U.A.E. residents about the nation s peaceful nuclear energy programme, the progress of the plants under construction and how nuclear energy fits into the country s energy portfolio. The forums also educate residents about career opportunities for Emiratis interested in joining the flourishing nuclear energy industry.
The World Future Energy Summit /WFES/ 2014 is one of the foremost global events dedicated to renewable energies, energy efficiency and clean technologies. ENEC is participating in the Summit to discuss global energy solutions and share experiences and best practices with energy leaders from around the world.
ENEC also uses this global platform to network with potential candidates for its Energy Pioneers programme, which aims to attract and train the country s most talented science students and experienced professionals, and provide them with an opportunity to become pioneers of the emerging nuclear energy sector. To date, the Energy Pioneers programme has attracted more than 280 U.A.E. students to its scholarship programmes.