Poll shows strong support for UAE peaceful nuclear energy program

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Barakah site all four units are more than 88 percent complete. — Courtesy photo

ABU DHABI — An independent national poll on nuclear energy shows the UAE public strongly supports the use of peaceful nuclear energy, with 82 percent of residents in favor of using nuclear energy for generating electricity and 91 percent stating that peaceful nuclear energy is important for the nation.

Global figures from similar polls conducted in other countries demonstrate that the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program enjoys the highest acceptance levels in the world.

The poll was commissioned by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and conducted by independent global market research specialists Nielsen. The survey is part of ENEC’s commitment to community engagement and serves to assess UAE residents` attitude to the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program.

“ENEC continues to maintain a strong commitment to transparency and public engagement to ensure widespread awareness and understanding about nuclear energy in the UAE,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, chief executive officer of ENEC. “It is encouraging to know that so many UAE residents are aware of the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy and actively support the work we are doing at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, with 96 percent of respondents believing that ENEC is building the plant to the highest standards of quality and safety.”

In comparison to the previous opinion poll conducted in 2016, awareness of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program has risen by seven percent. More specifically, understanding and acceptance of the construction of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant amongst residents of Al Dhafra region and UAE nationals throughout the UAE remains high.

“ENEC is encouraged by the results of the study as UAE residents continue to support the development of peaceful nuclear energy and understand the strategic role it plays in powering the future growth of our nation. The UAE’s nuclear energy industry has already created thousands of high-value jobs in the country and continues to support the development of a knowledge-based economy and industrial capacity,” added Al Hammadi.

ENEC is committed to providing the UAE community with accurate and up-to-date information about the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program in line with the UAE’s commitment to complete operational transparency. As a low carbon energy source, nuclear energy will play an important role in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, as well as supporting the delivery of the strategic initiatives identified in the Abu Dhabi Plan.

“ENEC runs a comprehensive engagement and communication campaign to build the public perception and attitude towards nuclear energy and conducts regular public opinion surveys to measure the efficacy of the campaign. Results of the 2017 survey conducted by Nielsen have revealed that there is significant support amongst residents for the peaceful use of nuclear energy in UAE,” said Arslan Ashraf, managing director, Arabian Peninsula & Pakistan of Nielsen.

“The survey also shows an improvement in perceptions with regards to nuclear energy and a high level of engagement with residents continues."

As part of the public opinion survey, over 1,000 people were interviewed across the UAE, comprising of respondents that reflect the demographics of the UAE. Key findings include:

• 91% of residents believe in the importance of having a peaceful nuclear energy program.

• Awareness of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program has risen to 58%, up 7% from 2016.

• Support for the construction of peaceful nuclear energy plants in the UAE has risen to 83%, up 4% from 2016.

• 94% of UAE nationals believe that the UAE program will serve as a model for other nations, up 5% from 2016.

• 88% of residents perceive that safety and security are the overall priorities of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program.

• 82% of Al Dhafra region respondents consider nuclear energy is a safe, clean reliable and efficient way for electricity production.

• And 96% of residents believe that ENEC is building the plants to the highest standards of safety and quality.

The UAE’s approach to the development of a peaceful nuclear energy program continues to receive strong support from the international community, as a benchmark for countries interested in exploring nuclear energy for the first time. Working as part of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and under the guidance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ENEC continuously seeks to implement the highest international standards of quality, safety, security and operational transparency for the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program.

Since its inception in 2009, ENEC has focused on the safe delivery of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program. Construction began in 2012 and construction of Unit 1 is now complete, while all four units are more than 88 percent complete. The plant will deliver clean, efficient and reliable electricity to the UAE grid, and will save up to 21 million tons of carbon emissions each year, equivalent to removing 3.2 million sedan cars from the roads. — SG


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