12:15 GMT26 January 2020
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    In March, Qatar lodged a complaint with the International Atomic Energy Agency over an UAE nuclear power plant which Doha claimed poses a serious threat to regional stability and the environment, allegations that were rejected by Abu Dhabi.

    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.

    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.

    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.


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    arms race, nuclear power plant, construction, Qatar, United Arab Emirates
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