While uranium prices may be low, the demand outlook for the commodity improves by the day, with more and more progress made when it comes to nuclear power plants.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is moving forward with its nuclear power ambitions, making it the first Gulf state to have a peaceful nuclear energy program. The company’s Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is scheduled to launch next year. Originally, it was supposed to be this year but the project was delayed due to technical reasons. After the UAE, ally Saudia Arabia has also said it aims to develop a peaceful nuclear energy program.
By 2020, the UAE’s nuclear energy program will be in full gear, with four nuclear reactors providing nearly 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs, according to the state-run Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
Back in 2006, six Gulf member states announced that they were commissioning a study into nuclear energy. Iran pledged assistance to this program, but that came with setbacks following the sanctions implemented on the country due to its contest nuclear program. Still, progress was made with the UAE leading the way on nuclear power development in a region where up into now, it has been largely absent.
Meanwhile, in China, fuel loading has begun at unit 3 of the Tianwan nuclear power plant in Jiangsu province, according to Russian state nuclear company Rosatom. The Russian-supplied VVER-1000 is scheduled to enter commercial operation next year.
According to World Nuclear News, Andrey Lebedev, vice-president for projects in South Asia for ASE Group, said the “physical start up of the unit has been started ahead of schedule”. He noted that the unit is expected to be connected to the grid by the end of 2017. Commercial operation of Tianwan 3 is planned for 2018.