DUBAI, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Unit 1 out of four units of United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant will be ready to operate "by the end of 2019 and early 2020," the project operator Nawah Energy Company said Saturday.
The plant, located in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi, will be loaded with nuclear fuel assemblies required to commence nuclear operation.
The statement added Nawah had completed "a comprehensive operational readiness review to generate an updated schedule for the start-up of the nuclear energy reactor."
The scheduled review was carried out in "strict accordance" with the principles of "a healthy nuclear safety culture," the statement said.
"Our review relied on global nuclear standards to analyze the remaining work required for nuclear operations," said Nawah's CEO Mark Reddemann.
He added that "by achieving high standards in Unit 1, Nawah is setting a robust precedent for the subsequent operation of Unit 2, 3 and 4, as well as for the regional industry."
Nawah said it is also seeking independent assessments by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and the World Association of Nuclear Operators in London to ensure all aspects of the 20 billion U.S. dollars plant meet "the highest international standards of nuclear quality and safety."
The UAE, a major oil supplier, aims to become less dependent on oil and gas for domestic energy purposes. According to the government's website, the "UAE energy strategy 2050" aims to lead to a domestic energy mix with clean energy, gas, clean coal and nuclear power taking up 44 percent, 38 percent, 12 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
The UAE's neighbor Saudi Arabia has also taken steps to establish nuclear power.