UAE nuclear program gaining popular support

20 June 2011

A national opinion poll has found strong support for the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) nuclear energy program, with 85% of the respondents believing in the importance of peaceful nuclear energy for the nation.

UAE poll (ENEC)
Attendees view the UAE's nuclear energy project timeline at a public forum (Image: ENEC)
The study of 750 UAE residents was commissioned by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and was carried out by independent global market research company TNS. It forms part of an ENEC community outreach program that also includes public meetings and educational initiatives.
Support for the UAE's fledgling nuclear power program has strengthened recently, ENEC says, with the poll finding 47% of people becoming more favourable over the past six months. While 85% of residents believe that nuclear power is important for the UAE, 72% of those polled believe that it will be important for meeting the country's future energy needs and 60% would support the construction of a nuclear power plant in their own emirate, or state.
Nearly all the respondents - 97% - said they were aware of the recent events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, describing it as "serious" or "very serious". The location of nuclear power plants, emergency planning and employee training were highlighted as areas of particular public interest.
ENEC CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi said the study's findings were encouraging. "The findings demonstrate that UAE residents understand the important role nuclear energy will play in the UAE's future energy mix," he said. "It also shows that people share our concerns about delivering a program that sets an international benchmark for safety, efficiency and operational excellence," he went on.
The UAE is a confederation of seven states, or emirates, the largest being Abu Dhabi. A South Korean consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) was selected in 2009 to build the country's first four nuclear power plants. A groundbreaking ceremony for the first unit at the site, at Braka, was held in March, and the APR-1400 unit is scheduled to enter service in 2017.

Researched and written

by World Nuclear News