Four nuclear reactors being built in the United Arab Emirates could spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and leave the Persian Gulf at risk of a Chernobyl-style disaster, a leading nuclear scientist has claimed. In a report, Dr Paul Dorfman, chairman of the Nuclear Consulting Group, warned the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant lacks key safety features, poses a threat to the environment, is a potential target for terrorists and could be part of plans to develop nuclear weapons. “The motivation for building this may lie hidden in plain sight,” Dr Dorfman told the Telegraph. “They are seriously considering nuclear proliferation.” Dr Dorfman, who is also an honorary senior research associate at University College London’s Energy Institute, has served as a nuclear adviser to the British government and led the European Environment Agency response to the Fukushima disaster. The increase in transportation of radioactive materials through the Persian Gulf when the plant goes into operation could also raise the risk of potentially fatal collisions, explosions, or equipment and material failure. Any radioactive discharge resulting from accidents could easily reach population centres on the Gulf coast and have a potentially devastating impact on delicate Gulf ecosystems, including rare mangrove swamps. The plant is also vulnerable to climate change and extreme temperatures that could affect its cooling system, Dr Dorfman’s report says. The International Panel on Climate Change has said that extreme sea level events are now likely to happen more frequently, meaning coastal power plants such as Barakah could become defenseless against rising sea levels, tidal ingress and storm surges. High average sea water temperatures in the Gulf could also make it more difficult to cool the reactor using sea water. The cost of the 1986 Chernobyl accident has been recently estimated to be around $235 billion (£179 billion).
Telegraph 28th Dec 2019 read more »
Irish Independent 28th Dec 2019 read more »
‘Gulf Nuclear Ambition’ Report.
NCG 28th Dec 2019 read more »