Young Emiratis are today’s clean energy champions and climate change leaders

    18 Aug 2021

    As the world continues to face the realities of climate change, a generation of young talented UAE national engineers and specialists are driving the nation’s transition to clean energy, WAM reports.

    With wildfires burning, temperatures rising and ice caps melting around the world, the urgency to educate and equip youth with the skills to make a change to the way we generate cleaner energy has never been more incredible. In the UAE, this transition to clean electricity is firmly underway. Thousands of kilotonnes of carbon emissions have been removed from the UAE since the start of commercial operations of Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, which the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) is developing in Al Dhafra Region.

    The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program has been inspiring, training, developing and powering youth jobs for young professionals and creating a brighter future for them since its inception more than a decade ago. Young Emiratis working with multi-national and experienced teams at Barakah Plant are at the core of its operations.

    In just over ten years, the UAE has, through its comprehensive capacity building programme, developed highly skilled jobs for more than 3,000 employees. Of these more than 1,100 of them are under 30 years old, with 60 percent UAE Nationals, 20 percent females and more than 500 young UAE engineers that have been trained through ENEC’s ‘Energy Pioneers’ programme launched in 2009. These are not only highly trained and equipped engineers and reactor operators, but some are also talented lawyers, cybersecurity specialists, training experts and more. At ENEC and its operation and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company, there are several youths that have already a number of significant achievements in their young careers.

    Falah Al Hammadi, a Senior Enterprise Risk Management Analyst at ENEC has spent time training on Nuclear Fuel Management in Daejeon, South Korea with KEPCO Nuclear Fuel. Today, he ensures that risks are proactively managed to support safe, effective and efficient delivery of the Barakah Plant.

    He was selected as a youth affiliate for the second round of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academy of Scientists and was also selected to be part of ADQ’s game changer programme in collaboration with London Business School. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in engineering as a part-time student at Khalifa University, having already published two journals and 4 conference papers in the field of microfluidics.

    “The dedication towards education and training has helped to build the foundation for my career in nuclear energy, for which I’m grateful to the Leaders of the country for in establishing the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program,” said Al Hammadi.

    Asma Al Zaabi a Senior Emergency Preparedness Training Engineer at Nawah Energy Company is an Energy Pioneer graduate. She has been trained at the Barakah Plant systems and is today a lead controller in drills and exercises related to Barakah Emergency Response Organization.

    “There are several opportunities for youth to purse technical careers in the UAE and our hard work is recognized. The opportunity for learning and growth has been a great motivator for me personally. said Al Zaabi.

    Ali Al Khawajah, a Nuclear Fuel Mechanical Design Engineer at ENEC, won first place in the National Korean Speech Contest in 2018 and represented the UAE in the World Korean Speech Contest 2019 in Seoul, where he was ranked among the top 16 in the world. He also successfully completed the Government Leaders Programme in 2019. As part of his daily tasks, he analyses fuel performance within the Barakah Plant and evaluates fuel rod designs for operations.

    “Nuclear fuel performance analysis is a crucial job in the nuclear energy industry, like most others and I’m honoured to be given this opportunity to be able to contribute to the sustainable energy future for our nation,” said Al Khawajah.

    These are just some of the remarkable examples of the successes and achievements of youth.

    With the International Youth Day being a reminder to celebrate such milestones around the world and also inspire the next generation of leaders. Through education, sharing of knowledge, best practices and innovation, youth will continue to support sustainability today and for decades to come.

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