UAE Poll Shows Continued Support For Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program


A national poll on nuclear energy shows that 85% of United Arab Emirates (UAE) residents believe that peaceful nuclear energy is important for the nation.

A national poll on nuclear energy shows that 85% of United Arab Emirates (UAE) residents believe that peaceful nuclear energy is important for the nation. The research shows increasing support for the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy program, with 47 percent becoming more favorable toward the program during the past six months.

The study also shows that members of the public are interested in where the proposed power plants will be built, emergency planning and training.

The poll was commissioned by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) as part of its efforts to communicate effectively with stakeholders throughout the country. ENEC is responsible for the construction and operation of the UAE’s first nuclear energy plants, which are due to begin providing electricity to the UAE grid in 2017.

The company has held two public forums this week, in the Western Region and Abu Dhabi, as part of its community outreach efforts.

“The findings demonstrate that UAE residents understand the important role nuclear energy will play in the UAE’s future energy mix,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of ENEC. “I am encouraged that this study shows a growing number of people understand and support this program. It also shows that people share our concerns about delivering a program that sets an international benchmark for safety, efficiency and operational excellence.”

More than 750 people were interviewed across the UAE as part of the study.

Key findings include:

• Support for Nuclear Energy as a Source of Electricity in the UAE Seventy-two percent of respondents believe that nuclear energy is important for meeting the future energy needs of the UAE. Support was highest among Emiratis, at 77%.

• Support for the Construction of Nuclear Energy Plants in the UAE Sixty percent of people polled support the construction of a nuclear energy plant in their Emirate. Twenty-three percent of people are indifferent towards the construction of plants. Support was stronger among Emiratis, with 67% of Emiratis supporting the construction of a nuclear energy plant in their Emirate.

• Response to Fukushima, Japan and Safety Considerations More than ninety percent of respondents (97%) were aware of the recent events at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, with 97% of those respondents describing the event as ‘serious’ or ‘very serious’. Respondents said that safety related considerations including a location far from population centers (73%), a well equipped and trained disaster management team (73%), a location far from earthquake zones (72%), well maintained equipment (71%), government regulation/policy on nuclear energy (71%), and well trained employees (70%) are essentials for constructing a nuclear energy plant.

• Reassured by International Support, Regulators, CO2 Emissions Reductions Respondents said their support of the program would be strengthened by: continued support from the international community and regulators (60%); support from local and federal entities and governments (49%); the role nuclear energy would play in decreasing the country’s carbon footprint (41%); and the employment opportunities created by the development of a nuclear energy industry (39%).

The research was conducted by independent global market research specialists TNS and is part of ENEC’s community outreach program, which involves a range of activities including public meetings and educational initiatives.

“ENEC is regularly and actively engaging with the public,” said Mr. Al Hammadi. “Our forums in the Western Region and Abu Dhabi this week provided a unique opportunity for people to come and hear about our progress and to ask questions or raise concerns.”

The UAE’s approach to the development of a civil nuclear energy program has received strong support from the international community. This program has been referred to as the “gold standard” for countries interested in exploring nuclear energy for the first time. The forums follow similar events hosted in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region during the past year to raise awareness and answer questions about the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy program.

A team from ENEC presented the latest information about the preferred site for the UAE plant near Braka, the advanced safety features of the APR 1400 nuclear reactor and ENEC’s safety culture. The team also discussed the Fukushima accident in Japan and provided all attendees with the opportunity to ask questions of the panel.

“Safety, effectiveness and excellence are the most important issues to ENEC as we work under the guidance of the IAEA and the regulation of FANR, and others around the world to better understand and learn from Fukushima,” said Mr. Al Hammadi. “These forums, along with our discussions with experts around the world, are important to ensure we proceed with a clear focus and the understanding and continued support of the local and international community.”

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