BU DHABI-- President Yoon Suk Yeol visited the Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi on Monday, South Korea's first overseas nuclear power plant project and a symbol of the two countries' cooperation.
Yoon traveled to the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi to visit the power plant together with UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the third day of his four-day state visit to the country.
The two leaders toured the facility, including Units 1 and 2 that are already in operation, and celebrated the commencement of operations of Unit 3 while checking progress on the construction of Unit 4, Yoon's office said in a press release.
"Of the four units that have been planned, two are in operation and two are about to begin operation soon," Yoon said in commemorative remarks. "The Barakah nuclear power plant carries large symbolic meaning as a representation of the special strategic partnership between South Korea and the UAE."
The Barakah nuclear power plant project, which was won by South Korea in 2009, is also the first civilian nuclear power plant in the Middle East. Units 1 and 2 are in operation, while Unit 3 is ready for operation and Unit 4's construction is due for completion next year.
When all four units are in operation, the plant will supply up to 25 percent of the UAE's power needs.
"Based on the success of Barakah, South Korea and the UAE should join forces to produce greater achievements, such as through cooperation on additional nuclear power plants in the UAE and joint expansion overseas," Yoon said.
Barakah means "blessing from God" in Arabic.
"I hope my state visit will become a turning point for the two countries to seek areas for comprehensive and strategic energy cooperation beyond nuclear energy to hydrogen, renewable energy and carbon capture, utilization, and storage," Yoon added.
President Mohamed hailed the special strategic partnership between the two countries, saying it has brought significant benefits to both nations and enabled cooperation in key sectors, including nuclear power.
"Thanks to the completion of Unit 3 through the efforts of all the workers from the UAE, South Korea and other nations on site at the Barakah nuclear power plant, I am extremely proud to have strengthened the UAE's clean energy portfolio and set a global standard in nuclear power plant projects," he said.
The ceremony was also attended by business executives from companies involved in the Barakah project, including Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung.
Source: Yonhap News Agency