Nuclear power plants are not often associated with thriving animal populations, but one Emirati nuclear facility is putting the ‘three-eyed fish’ stereotype to shame.
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC)’s and Nawah Energy Company’s most recent survey of the marine environment off the coast of the Barakah nuclear energy plant has revealed the presence of numerous marine species in the facility’s artificial reef.
The survey has identified more than 63 species making use of the plant’s breakwater habitats and 35 in the artificial reef, created in 2014.
Construction on the breakwaters, barriers built to protect the facility from the force of incoming waves, was started in early 2011. The quarry rock and concrete structures have a combined length of roughly 15 kilometres.
Part of the reason that the barriers have become such favourable habitats is the restriction on fishing within their boundaries. Creatures spotted in the area include the orange-spotted grouper, locally known as the ‘hamour,’ the near-threatened Indian Ocean humpback dolphin, and the critically endangered hawksbill turtle.
The reef is located 3.8 kilometres from the the Barakah shoreline, covers almost 6,700 square metres and is made of waste-moulded concrete. Other plants and animals in the area includea variety of species of algae, invertebrate species, and several species of fish.
“We are consistently looking for ways to protect and enhance our natural environment,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of ENEC. “The findings of this recently conducted survey reveal that ENEC’s proactive approach to conservation and sustainability is having a positive impact. It is wonderful to hear that a variety of marine life, including endangered species have been able to settle in the waters around Barakah.”