Oil tyrants engage in nuclear energy, is it too much money?

2020-09-03 | Earth Knowledge Bureau Original |

As we all know, the most indispensable thing in the Gulf countries in the Middle East is energy. Under the vast sandy sea, there is a huge amount of "black gold" oil, the reserves are second to none in the world, which makes the Gulf countries not only able to "Lie earning petrol dollars, and its national electricity consumption and driving and refueling expenses are also cheaper than people in other regions imagine.

It is the huge oil wealth

Supporting a luxurious city rising from the desert

As if the power of mankind has contempt for nature

The capital of Saudi Arabia in the desert-Riyadh

Photo: Andrew V Marcus / Shutterstock▼

However, in such a place where there is almost no shortage of energy, there is a small country that is rich in oil. The UAE has come forward to play with nuclear energy, and also launched the first nuclear power plant in the Arab world this year.

It is said that the oil trench countries in the Middle East are not short of money or energy

Why bother to engage in nuclear energy▼

Obviously there is a mine at home, but still working so hard, behind this moving move of the UAE, what kind of national strategic interests are at work?

"Insufficient oil and water"

On the surface, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other countries are both oil tycoons, and they are all making fortunes along the Persian Gulf. However, the UAE’s oil and gas reserves cannot be compared with Saudi Arabia. But even if it is like Saudi Arabia, it needs to prepare for the economy.Transformation

With underground black gold may not necessarily be prosperous

Political factors are also critical. Those who suffer from it are Venezuela and Iran

And it is difficult to change from luxury to frugality, it is not easy to turn oil into economic competitiveness

Reference: wikipedia/US EIA▼

And the UAE is composed of seven emirates, the oil resources are mainly concentrated in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and other emirates have made arrangements for diversified economy earlier, such as the Emirate of Dubai, the successful ones

The largest area is the Emirate of Abu Dhabi

Oil resources are basically in Abu Dhabi the first population is Dubai ▼

The chiefs of the UAE have long realized that the benefits of black gold are not a long-term solution. Therefore, the leadership of the UAE, including the chief of Dubai, made it clear as early as the second half of the last century that the sale of natural resources would be a good idea.It is unsustainable. When there is no drop of oil, if there is no alternative industry in the UAE by then, wouldn't the whole country be over?

After all, Arabian Peninsula countries

If energy is not included, other resources are extremely scarce

People are concentrated in central cities and exchange oil and gas resources with foreign countries▼

At that time, you don’t always have to go back to the old road of sheep herding in the desert and pearl mining under the sea?

"My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, and I drove a Mercedes-Benz, my son would drive a Land Rover, and my grandson would drive a Land Rover, but my great-grandson would ride againCamel." Rashid bin Said, who has been the chief of Dubai for 32 years, said to his subjects, warning them not to dream of relying on oil to get rich forever.

Like dreaming, I'm afraid to think about it, but I still have to be prepared for danger in times of peace

Picture: shutter@Black Kings▼

The alarm bell sounded by the chief himself really made the people of the UAE sober from the mentality of sitting and enjoying the fruits. Since then, the international community has observed a very hard working UAE. While they continue to develop the oil and gas industry, they are also looking for anotherThe way out was to use the unique geographical location of the local area to start the transportation industry.

The close connection between the east and west ends of the mainland has created a number of maritime hubs

It will also be an aviation hub long ago

There are many big cities in the Middle East, and Dubai won this position▼

Located in the middle of East Asia, Southeast Asia and Europe, the UAE has not only established the first aviation hub-Dubai International Airport, but also built two free trades: Rashid Deepwater Port and Alishan Deepwater Port Port of MINA JEBEL ALIIn the port area, the same entrepot trade as the ancestors who did business from all over the world started.

Dubai International Airport, Rashid Deepwater Port, Alishan Deepwater Port

Picture: shutter@Voran▼

By the time the Alishan Deepwater Port was completed in 1979, more than 5,000 companies from more than 120 countries entered the Alishan Deepwater Port, making it the busiest port in the Middle East. In 1990, the Alishan Free Trade Zone was further expanded and even more soIt became the largest free trade zone in the world at that time.

2018 ranking of port container throughput

Only Dubai in the Middle East was selected

Picture: wikipedia-List of busiest container ports▼

In 2004, when the world's largest terminal building, Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport was completed, the throughput capacity of the airport was once again significantly improved.

UAE-Dubai International Airport

Picture: google map▼

Due to the early start of Dubai International Airport, the facilities of other airports in the Middle East were not complete at the same time, and it occupies an excellent geographical location. As a result, many airlines gradually moved their Middle East business focus to Dubai International Airport. Until 2014In 2004, the annual passenger throughput of Dubai International Airport exceeded the 70 million mark, and the revenue generated was as high as 26.7 billion U.S. dollars. And Emirates, based here, has also become a world-renowned airline with its high-quality services and abundant route options..

Going to the sky is only the first step, the next step is going to Mars

Photo: Fasttailwind / Shutterstock▼

However, the UAE people are still not satisfied. They still set their sights on the future and want to solve the potential energy crisis once and for all.

Put into science

After accumulating abundant original capital, the UAE began to focus on the development of science and technology, in order to inject continuous impetus into the country’s development.

Despite the booming economy of the UAE, the country’s education and scientific research has been slow to develop for a long time, and it is not considered a leader in Arab countries.

In fact, the Middle East countries are very keen to imagine the future

Not only a statement to the outside world, but also to give yourself confidence

But really need to do advanced technology, whether it is basic research or application

Still difficult

Picture: shutter@Black Kings▼

UNESCO data shows that the UAE did not have locally-trained doctoral students before 2010. In 2017, the number of doctoral students in the UAE accounted for only 0.7% of the country’s higher education population, which is half the average of Arab countries. And the UAE’sCollege students prefer majors that make money fast, such as business, and fewer people choose practical sciences such as medicine and physics or study for doctoral degrees.

After all, doing business is much faster than doing research, and money is much faster

The UAE has already got good tickets in the Middle East business world

The strength of UAE universities is also business school rather than scientific research

Photo: zoya / Shutterstock▼

Such a bad situation, if it is not improved in time, it will definitely affect the future development potential of the UAE.

For this reason, the UAE has chosen to launch a series of high-tech projects to increase young people’s interest in science and encourage them to learn science at the primary and secondary levels and even higher education. The UAE government has stated on many occasions that cutting-edge science such as space explorationThe project is a catalyst for the development of the country’s STEM science, technology, engineering, mathematics field.

This year, the UAE launched the "Hope" Mars probe into the sky, which is the display of the results of this series of basic science education.

I don’t know if there is a plan to build a space mosque

Picture: shutter@Black Kings▼

In addition, nuclear energy technology, which is difficult to tackle, is also a product of science education in the UAE.

In April 2008, the UAE government officially announced its intention to build a nuclear power plant in order to “meet the country’s growing demand for energy”. It didn’t take long for the UAE to establish its own nuclear energy company, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Company ENEC.But the UAE is also aware that its domestic energy talents are still cultivated around the oil and gas system, and cutting-edge physical brains are even more scarce. If the plan is to succeed, it has to introduce partners.

United Arab Emirates Nuclear Energy Company ENEC official website


In 2009, after intense bidding, the Korea Electric Power Corporation KEPCO, one of the world’s top 500 companies, won a nuclear power plant contract worth US$20 billion in the UAE. According to the contract, South Korea and Afghanistan will be located west of Rovas, Emirate of Abu DhabiA nuclear power plant with four APR-1400 pressurized water reactors will be built in Baraka, about 50 kilometers away.

On the west coast of the UAE, it is desolate and far from the city

It is very suitable for nuclear power plants▼

After two years of planning and preparation, on March 14, 2011, the Baraka nuclear power plant officially started. The then President of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak, also attended the groundbreaking ceremony in person.

From this, it is not difficult to see that South Korea and Afghanistan have extremely high expectations for this project.

However, at almost the same time, the Great East Japan Earthquake and the ensuing tsunami triggered the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, causing damage to an area almost the size of Nagoya City 337 square kilometers. Nuclear energy worldwide at that timeDevelopment has encountered resistance, and the voice of opposition in the UAE is also increasing.

This, who dares to go, who dares to do it

picture: shutter@boscorelli▼

In spite of this, the UAE government is still fighting against public opinion, and started construction of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant No. 1 reactor on July 18 of the following year in advance to demonstrate its determination to get rid of oil dependence.

In the next 4 years, construction of the remaining 3 reactors started one after another, and the entire construction site was in full swing. During the peak period of construction, as many as 18,000 workers in the Baraka nuclear power plant were sweating around the clock, and the tower crane hoisted again and againBuilding materials have gradually turned the UAE’s nuclear power dream into reality...

In 2013, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency visited Barakah under construction

Picture: wikipedia@IAEA Imagebank▼

Intriguing consideration

On December 17, 2018, after more than 6 years of construction, the Baraka Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 was finally completed.

After the test was successful, in January 2020, Unit 1 started refueling nuclear fuel, which was two and a half years later than the original plan.

There is a reason for the delay. The UAE Nuclear Energy Regulatory Authority FANR has discovered more than 400 technical, organizational and management problems in the Barakah nuclear power plant. If these problems are not resolved, the nuclear power plant will start operating.The consequences will be disastrous.

In 2017, the Baraka nuclear power plant under construction

Picture: wikipedia▼

On August 1, 2020, the UAE government announced that the No. 1 reactor of the Barakah nuclear power plant has started operation, and nuclear power plants in the UAE and the entire Arab world will be online from this.

Hamad Al-Ka'abi, the UAE representative of the International Atomic Energy Agency, wrote on Twitter with excitement: “This is a great way to provide the UAE with a new vision of clean energy.Historic milestone."

Picture: Hamad Alkaabi/twitter▼

Currently, except for Unit 1 that has already started operation, Baraka Unit 2 has also been completed and is also scheduled to start operation this year. As for Unit 3 and Unit 4, the construction progress is 92% and 85% respectively, which is also expectedPower generation will be put into production this year and next year.

If all 4 units are in commercial operation, the Barakah nuclear power plant is expected to meet 25% of the electricity demand in the UAE.

"Once the units are fully put into operation, it will be able to reduce carbon emissions by 21 million tons, which is equivalent to reducing the carbon emissions of 3.2 million cars per year." The UAE Nuclear Energy Company wrote confidently.

Large and large area on the coast-Baraka Nuclear Power Plant

Picture: google map▼

However, it is worth noting that the construction of nuclear power plants in the UAE may be more than just for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

As the price of renewable energy power generation including solar power has become increasingly low in recent years, the average cost of solar power generation has dropped by 89% in the ten years from 2009 to 2019. In some cases, renewable energyPower generation is even cheaper than using fossil fuels.

The UAE is located in a tropical desert and has great potential for the development of solar energy.

Obviously, the most important thing here is solar energy

There is also a large solar farm

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park

Picture: google map▼

Because of this, many analysts believe that the construction of nuclear power plants in the UAE is probably "Xiangzhuang dances a sword with the intention of Peigong".

"The new nuclear power plant does not seem to have any economic significance, so the UAE's interest in nuclear power plants may be hidden in front of us-the development of nuclear weapons." Duffman, a scholar at the Institute of Energy Research of University College London, pointed out.

Gillen, a researcher at the Baker Institute of Energy at Rice University in the United States, said bluntly that it is precisely because nuclear power plants are extremely important to the UAE’s national strategy that the UAE has relentlessly improved its nuclear capabilities and will become the third in the Middle East after Israel and Iran.A country with nuclear technology.

Oil wealth may not be able to exchange for a strong country and permanent regime

But nuclear weapons can bring a huge sense of security

This important ticket, Iran wants it, and the UAE wants it too▼

Among these two countries, Israel already possesses nuclear weapons, but it is only a secret. As for Iran, which has a territorial dispute with the UAE, it has restarted the uranium enrichment process because the Iran nuclear agreement was torn up by the United States.The dream of nuclear weapons was conceived during the dynasty.

All this is in the eyes of the ambitious UAE, after all, civilian nuclear technology is the stepping stone for further development of nuclear weapons in the future.

And when the UAE masters nuclear technology, there is even less space left for the big brother of the peninsula, Saudi Arabia.

*The content of this article is provided by the author and does not represent the position of the Earth Knowledge Bureau

Cover image: Fasttailwind / Shutterstock


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