The United Arab Emirates(UAE) has become the first Arab country to produce nuclear energy, after it switched on a unit of the Abu Dhabi-based Barakah nuclear power plant on Saturday.
According to The National newspaper, commercial operations of the reactor are expected to begin later this year.
President Sheikh Khalifa led congratulatory messages saying he was proud of the Emiratis involved.
“We are proud of this achievement and confident in the abilities of our young scientists…It is one of the inspiring moments we live today that will be remembered with great pride by generations to come,” he said.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced the successful operation of the plant, on Twitter.
“Today we announce the UAE’s success in operating the first peaceful nuclear reactor in the Arab world at Barakah Nuclear Plant Abu Dhabi,” he said.
“The teams succeeded in loading nuclear fuel packages, running comprehensive tests and successfully beginning operation. I congratulate my brother Mohamed bin Zayed for this achievement.
“The goal is to operate four nuclear power plants that will provide one quarter of the country’s energy needs in a safe, reliable and emission-free way.
“The UAE split the atom, and wants to explore the galaxy. Our message to the world is that the Arabs are able to resume their scientific ambitions and compete with the rest of the great nations. Nothing is impossible.”
Rafael Mariano Grossi, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency applauded the UAE achievement.
“The IAEA supports United Arab Emirates & other countries that opt for introducing nuclear power, which plays a key role in achieving clean & affordable energy and in tackling #ClimateChange,” Mr Grossi wrote on Twitter.