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IAEA Director-General reviews progress of Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant



ABU DHABI, 15th December, 2021 (WAM) — The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, has visited the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi Emirate.

Grossi was welcomed by Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the IAEA, Engineer Ali Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of Nawah Energy Company, the operation and maintenance subsidiary of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), and Nasser Al Nasseri, Chief Executive Officer of Barakah One Company, ENEC’s subsidiary managing the commercial interests of the Barakah Plant.

Grossi witnessed the major progress that has been made at the Barakah Plant, which is now generating clean electricity and rapidly decarbonising the Nation’s power sector with Unit 1 commercially operational. Grossi also toured Unit 2 of the Plant, which was connected to the UAE grid in August and recently achieved 50% power for the first time as part of the power ascension testing prior to commercial operation of the Unit. He visited Units 3 and 4 which are in the final stages of commissioning, with Unit 3 already undergoing operational readiness preparations. The development of the Barakah Plant as a whole is now more than 96 percent complete.

Al Kaabi commented: "The IAEA has provided a clear path for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program to follow that has guided our every step since inception in 2009, along with continuous guidance and regular inspections to support the UAE Program since its launch in 2009. This support has helped to ensure that the Barakah Plant meets the highest international standards of nuclear safety, security, quality and non-proliferation. The UAE remains committed to international collaboration, knowledge sharing and development of best practices to help ensure the continued advancement of the nuclear energy industry."

Al Hammadi added: "It is a pleasure to welcome DG Grossi to the UAE and to the Barakah Plant to witness the remarkable progress that has been made here. With the support and of the IAEA, the UAE became the first country in the Arab world with a multi-unit operating nuclear plant and is today leading the largest decarbonisation effort in the region. The close cooperation with the IAEA contributed significantly to establish the UAE Program as a role model for other new nuclear energy projects globally. The Barakah Plant is powering a clean and sustainable future for the UAE by generating abundant clean electricity around the clock to fulfil growing demand while in parallel tackling climate change. We look forward to many more years of cooperation with the IAEA and wider international nuclear energy community."

DG Grossi met with Emirati engineers, reactor operators and other young talent working at the Barakah Plant. With more than 1,100 employees under the age of 35 and more than 500 Emiratis having graduated through the Energy Pioneers training program, ENEC is committed to the development of nuclear energy professionals and clean energy leaders for the UAE. ENEC’s Emirati-led nuclear operations teams are fully-equipped with the skills and expertise to support one of the newest nuclear energy programs in the world and achieve international and local sustainability goals.

"It was very impressive to visit Barakah and see first-hand all what the UAE has achieved over the past decade in becoming the first Arab country to build and operate a nuclear power plant. The world needs nuclear power – and more of it – as an indispensable part of the solution to the climate crisis. Nuclear is a low-carbon energy source that can also provide round-the-clock baseload power in all types of weather to complement wind and solar. The UAE is one of the 32 countries that currently operate a total of 442 nuclear power reactors around the world, producing about 10 per cent of global electricity and more than a quarter of all low carbon electricity. As countries step up efforts to decarbonise their economies, interest in nuclear power is growing," DG Grossi said.

ENEC is progressing smoothly towards supplying a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs completely carbon free. When fully operational, the four Units of the Barakah Plant will prevent 21 million tons of carbon emissions every year for more than 60 years. The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program is playing a leading role in helping the country achieve the goals of its Net Zero 2050. By 2025, the Barakah Plant is forecast to be the largest contributor to cutting Abu Dhabi Emirate’s carbon emissions by 50 percent, demonstrating the significant abilities of nuclear energy in producing baseload clean electricity.

The Barakah Plant is powering thousands of businesses and households with abundant, clean electricity from Unit 1, the largest single electricity generator in the Arab World. When fully operational, the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of free carbon electricity for the next six decades.

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Zee Stores becomes Ghitha Holding in strategic expansion



ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — Zee Stores, the trading and distribution firm listed on the ADX Second Market, has announced that it will rebrand to Ghitha and expand its strategy to become a Key Player in the food industry, which will support the UAE’s food security agenda.

The holding company will add a number of related businesses to its existing portfolio, through future acquisitions and subsidiaries’ formation, which will enhance its core capabilities in wholesale importing and trading fresh and canned foods; packaging; and providing food services to industrial sites such as gas and oil fields. Its ticker symbol will then change to GHITHA from ZS.

The new strategic direction will enable Ghitha Holding to become one of the largest and most important players in the regional food trading sector.

Mohammed Somar Ajalyaqin, Chairman of Ghitha Holding, said, "With the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy aiming to make the Emirates the world’s most food-secure nation by 2051, expanding operations in food and agriculture presents an ideal opportunity to deliver shareholder value through commercial success while supporting the national development agenda. This transformation of Zee Stores into Ghitha Holding represents the next stage in the company’s journey, and through our growing operations we will continue to play an even greater role in this sector."

Ghitha Holding is a subsidiary of International Holding Company (IHC), the Abu Dhabi-headquartered multi-sector conglomerate which has implemented an ambitious strategy of consolidating and listing subsidiaries to transform them into powerful multi-sector operators. IHC holds an extensive portfolio in its Agriculture and Food & Beverage verticals and has developed deep expertise in food farming, trading and processing, empowering it to make significant contributions to the UAE’s food security strategy.

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26,189 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered during past 24 hours: MoHAP



ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has announced that 26,189 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given in the past 24 hours.

The total number of doses provided up to today stands at 23,339,861 with a rate of vaccine distribution of 235.99 doses per 100 people.

The vaccination drive is in line with the Ministry's plan to provide the vaccine to all members of society and acquire immunity, which will help reduce the number of cases and control the spread of the virus.

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UAE to head ALECSO’s Permanent Committee for Arab Culture



ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) member countries have unanimously chosen the UAE to head the Permanent Committee for Arab Culture.

Salma Al Darmaki, Secretary-General of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, has been appointed to chair the Permanent Committee.

The decision comes after the 22nd edition of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers, held in December 2021 at Expo 2020 Dubai. Al Darmaki is the second woman appointed to this position in ALECSO's history.

The Permanent Committee for Arab Culture is responsible for coordinating the work of various ALECSO member states in cultural fields. The Standing Committee is also mandated to prepare for the Conference of Arab Ministers of Culture.

On this occasion, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, Chair of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, said, "The UAE's selection to chair the Permanent Committee for Arab Culture reflects its pioneering position in the field of cultural and creative industries and is an affirmation of its ability to establish strong communication links between Arab countries."

"The UAE enjoys excellent cultural relations regionally and globally. The impact of its cultural project which aims to enhance people’s awareness and enhance their contribution to culture, comes in line with unique initiatives that reaffirms the UAE’s position as a global cultural hub, and an incubator for creativity and talent. The UAE’s strategic plan seeks to invest in culture as a crucial tool in developing communities and people alike," the minister added.

For her side, Al Darmaki said, "Thanks to the UAE's leadership and their long-term vision that today, Emirati talent is being acknowledged not just locally and regionally but also globally. The UAE has been investing earnestly in its youth, which has been instrumental in the success of young Emirati talent and the achievements of Emirati women. Our leadership's strategy, vision, and continuous guidance and support have helped us reach new heights of success in the Arab region and around the world."

"I will be working closely with ALECSO’s Permanent Committee for Arab Culture to launch new initiatives and projects to strengthen the role of Arab culture in our present and future endeavours," she added.

Al Darmaki has been an Assistant Under-Secretary for Knowledge and Cultural Policy at the Ministry of Culture and Youth since 2018. She has served as a Research Fellow at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development from 2017 to 2018. She was a researcher at the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the United Nations in Switzerland from 2016 to 2017; an expert on Social Policy in the General Secretariat of the Executive Council in Abu Dhabi from 2011 and 2016, and a parliamentary researcher in the General Secretariat of the Federal National Council from 2009-2010. She also worked for the Abu Dhabi Government Restructuring Committee in 2008.

Al Darmaki holds a post-graduate degree in International Law from the University of London, a Master's in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom, and a bachelor's degree in International Studies from Zayed University in the UAE.

As Secretary-General of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Al Darmaki managed the campaign for securing a seat for the UAE on the UNESCO Executive Board from 2019 to 2023. She played a crucial role in the first decision submitted by the UAE to the Executive Council of UNESCO on "A Framework for Arts and Culture Education" and the passing of a resolution on the "Building on the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development through Consolidated Action". Some of her other achievements include the declaration of World Futures Day by UNESCO as an annual international day after being proposed by the UAE. The UAE secured a seat in the intergovernmental committee of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Al Darmaki has been working with the national authorities to further the cause of cultural, educational and scientific endeavours, such as extending the registration of the falconry file for the fourth time in the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage to become the largest file in the history of the organisation. She also manages the UAE partnership with UNESCO in the pioneering "Revive the Spirit of Mosul" initiative. In addition to supporting the nomination of Abu Dhabi as a Creative City for Music, she has helped make Abu Dhabi the third Emirate to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network along with Dubai and Sharjah.

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