In Pursuit of Nuclear

Today’s energy consumers have gradually moved towards cleaner energy sources in response to climate change and environmental pollution. Demand for clean energy like natural gas and renewables has continued to grow, especially in developing markets like China and India. However, in the Middle East, a different source has gained traction. Demand for nuclear powered electricity has grown significantly, as generation capacity is expected to increase from 3.5 GW in 2018 to 14.5 GW by 2028 in UAE alone, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Oil-dependent gulf countries, faced with their dependence on oil for economic continuity, are working to diversify their energy portfolios to gradually move their economies off of fossil fuels. One such method is through investment in nuclear facilities. The United Arab Emirates had led the race for nuclear, constructing four new nuclear reactors with help from Korea Electric Power Corp. The first of the four, Unit 1 of the Barakah complex, is expected to come online in 2021, once it meets all regulatory requirements.

Despite multiple countries utilizing nuclear energy for electricity generation, many countries that wish for this source of energy will find it difficult getting the okay for a new facility if it’s from the United States. To build a new reactor, the United States government must deem your country trustworthy, meaning the country can be trusted to not contribute to nuclear proliferation. As well, the US requires the receiving country to agree to the 123 Agreement, which involves the US’ production, processing, and handling of nuclear fuel.

Saudi Arabia has wished for nuclear facilities to balance their energy portfolio for some time. The country has been in talks with the US government for a number of new reactors, stressing “whatever the Iranian’s build, we will build”. However, the country demands the ability to produce its own fuel. This would give Saudi Arabia the nuclear technology it needs, as well as the possibility to pursuit nuclear weapons, which would cause a huge international power shift. Prince Mohammed has previously stated that Saudi Arabia would pursue the development of armed nuclear capabilities in haste if Iran was found to possess weapons of mass destruction.

Because of this high probability of nuclear proliferation, the United States has continued to deny construction of nuclear facilities unless it agrees to import enriched fuel from elsewhere. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid Al-Falih has rebutted this, stating that it is only natural to develop its own uranium deposits, and would continue to pursuit its own production of atomic fuel.

Will Saudi Arabia be able to come to a deal with the current US administration? With the current political opinion in the US of Saudi Arabia, it is highly unlikely, especially after the PR fiasco involving the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. We can only hope that Saudi Arabia does not turn to Russia or China to fulfill its goal of nuclear capability.

Good morning

6am: My faux sunrise lamp begins to emit its faint warm glow. I do not notice.

6:30am: The room is now filled with a comforting orange hue. Birds begin to chirp from this lamp, alerting me to the time. I still have not fully woken up.

6:45am: The birds are now much louder than they were at 6:30am. I press the lamp to turn off the birds. I am now awake, staring at the ceiling, stretching and pondering what is on my to-do list. Phone in hand, I go through my emails, check BBC’s app to see what news I missed during my sleep, swipe through instagram to see some inspirational posts (I follow a lot of self-love instagram accounts).

7:30am: I’m out of bed finally. Put water on the stove to make coffee. Grind the beans. Prep the french press. Cereal in the bowl, I open youtube and watch some educational video. The Defranco Show, Extra History, Bloomberg, and the Financial Diet are a few favorites. The water is boiled. Time to steep the coffee. Prep a quick salad for lunch. Coffee is done.

8am: Do a quick 15 minute yoga sesh. Shower. Get dressed. Listen to music.

8:30am: Brush teeth. Quick skin care. Get my bag together. Grab my lunch. Do the dishes quickly, then out the door!

8:45am: Off to class. Put on the news, or listen to a new podcast, or continue my audiobook (working through Hamilton’s biography at the moment). From then, it will be an hour and 15 minute drive to get to school.

This is my morning routine. I am very much a morning person, and if I don’t have my morning routine, I am a grumpy person for the rest of the day. However, I find myself lacking in enough time during the day to work on everything I want to work on. One of my goals for the year is the write and read more. I’m not much of an evening writer, as I’m much more awake in the morning. So, I hope starting tomorrow to begin waking up earlier to have an extra hour or so to practice writing, to get a further jump on my day.

To make this happen, I think an earlier bedtime would be helpful. Typically I go to bed around 10:30 pm, but perhaps a 9:30 pm bedtime would be better. That would allow for at least 8 hours of sleep. We shall see how this goes. Wish me luck!

In Another Life…

Have you ever had that moment when you watched a movie or seen in real life a character or person you wanted to be? Surely we’ve all found characters that sounded so fun to play or be.

For me, one of my other lives would be as the lone-wolf biker chick, the sexy, cool woman who travels on her own and doesn’t take shit from anyone. She doesn’t subscribe to social conventions and takes jobs here and there, but never gives up her freedom. She always seems so sure of herself in movies that have this character. When I walk down a street alone with my headphones in, that’s what I imagine myself like, as I strut to the Black Keys.

In another life, it would be a romantic to be a simple European housewife, whose job was to manage the home and cook to her heart’s content. Perhaps take in a book or two, and tend to the garden. A simple life, although entirely dependent on someone else’s salary. That I would not like. But having the time to enjoy the small things sounds lovely. It’s certainly a romantic fantasy.

And then, the powerful boss of a woman. She comes with the air of a commander, with a schedule filled with meetings, decisions to make, and business to be done. Her dress or suit is impeccably chosen, and she commands respect wherever she walks. Refusing to be unheard, she speaks with depth and grit behind every word, while still maintaining her femininity in the way she holds herself. Confident, sure of herself, she is a woman to be feared and revered.

Oh to be all three, if that was possible… Do any of these characters remind you of someone you know?

If I could sum up the qualities of these three women that I admire, it would be the freedom of spirit the first, the contentedness of the simple life of the second, and the self-confidence of the third. I hope this year to work on all three of them, to appreciate these different qualities in others as well as cultivate them in myself. One can be happy with who one is, while also striving to be a better you, the “you” you want to be.