UAE Current Affairs - 2020

Arab World’s first ever nuclear reactor starts its operation

Oil-rich Gulf state UAE finally starts its first-ever nuclear reactor “Barakah” at Abu Dhabi on the Gulf coast. Barakah was expected to start its operation in 2017. However, due to various safety issue, it kept on getting delayed.

Barakah in Brief

Developed in a joint venture with the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) Barakah means “blessing” in Arabic. In association with KEPCO, the nuclear reactor power plant has begun the process of nuclear fission in one of its four reactors. The energy in the reactor plant will be generated by 1,400-megawatt pressurised water reactors, designed in South Korea, called APR-1400. For now, only one of four reactors are working, however, the aim of the country is to have its all four reactors set to the operational mode by 2023. This will produce around 5.6 gigawatts of the energy which will be enough to serve a quarter of the country’s need for electricity in a safe, reliable and emission-free way.

Other Developments

The watchdog of Nuclear Industry (IAEA) International Atomic Energy Agency in its praising tweet wrote that the “plant’s Unit 1 had achieved its first criticality – that is, generation of a controlled fission chain reaction. The oil-rich Gulf state UAE is seen investing heavily in solar power. A couple of weeks ago the country sent a probe on a Mars Mission which is also one of its first kind in the Gulf region.

New Natural Gas Reserves discovered in UAE

On February 2, 2020, the United Arab Emirates discovered shallow natural gas reserves of about 80 trillion cubic feet. The reserve was discovered between the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Highlights

In November 2019, UAE announced the discovery of 7 billion barrels of oil. This raised the crude reserves of the country to 105 billion barrels making it the sixth largest in the world. IT had also announced the discovery of 58 trillion cubic feet of gas. This puts the total reserves of natural gas of UAE to 273 trillion cubic feet conventional gas and 160 trillion cubic feet unconventional gas.

UAE

The UAE is formed by seven Emirates namely Dubai, Abu Dhadi, Ajman, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al-Quwain. Around 30% of the GDP of the country is directly based on oil and gas.

India-UAE

The India-UAE bilateral trade currently stands at 59.9 billion USD. India is the third largest investor in UAE. There are more than 2 million Indian population living and working in UAE. The total remittances from UAE to India in the year 2009 was 10 to 12 billion USD. This is one-third of the total remittances received by India and also highest among all the GCC countries.