The Barakah nuclear power plant (NPP), which is under construction in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), may fuel a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, Paul Dorfman, chairman of the Nuclear Consulting Group, said in a report on Saturday.
Dorfman, who is also an honorary senior research associate at University College London's Energy Institute, and a former nuclear adviser to the British government, warned that the NPP may add to the risk of a Chernobyl-style disaster in the Persian Gulf.
Those are zoom-in images of the 5.6GW @Barakah nuclear power plant (NPP) @construction site which show land preparation from June 26, 2014. New buildings were constructed on February 28, 2015, and additional structures were shown in the image of May 20, 2017 and August 4, 2019. pic.twitter.com/TaRWozE1Ux— SI Imaging Services (@SI_Imaging) August 22, 2019
A breakdown at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant led to massive nuclear fallout which took place on 26 April, 1986 contaminating 19,300 square miles in Ukraine, as well as parts of Russia and Belarus.
Dorfman claimed that the Barakah (“Divine Blessing” in Arabic) NPP lacks key safety features and poses an environmental threat. Additionally, the facility remains a potential target for terrorists and could be part of plans to obtain ingredients for the production of nuclear weapons, according to Dorfman.
He also insisted that the NPP is vulnerable to climate change and extreme temperatures that could allegedly damage its cooling system.
Barakah NPP will consist of 4 nuclear power generating units with a combined capacity of approximately 5600 MW pic.twitter.com/SgAyAiQwyQ— Emirates Nuclear (@ENEC_UAE) June 3, 2016
Apparently referring to the UAE in a separate interview with The Telegraph, he claimed that “the motivation for building this [NPP] may lie hidden in plain sight” and that “they are seriously considering nuclear proliferation”. The UAEA’s Foreign Ministry has yet to comment on the matter.
Qatar Files Complaint to IAEA Over Barakah NPP
Dorfman’s remarks come after the Qatari government claimed in March that the Barakah NPP posed a security threat to the region, filing a relevant request to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Abu Dhabi vehemently rejected all the allegations.
In 2009, the UAE picked the South Korean company Korea Electric Power Corporation to build the Barakah NPP in a 20 billion dollar bid. Although the plant’s Unit 1 was declared complete last year, it is not expected to be put in operation until late 2019 or early 2020.