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UAE begins nuclear energy production at Barakah plant

UAE begins nuclear energy production at Barakah plant

The UAE is the first Arab country, and the 33rd nation globally, to produce nuclear energy

barakah nuclear energy uae

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said on Saturday that its operating and maintenance subsidiary Nawah Energy Company (Nawah) has successfully started up Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in the Al Dhafrah Region of Abu Dhabi.

The UAE is the first Arab country, and the 33rd nation globally, to produce nuclear energy.

When fully operational, the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity while preventing the release of more than 21 million tons of carbon emissions every year, equivalent to the removal of 3.2 million cars from the nation’s roads annually, reported official news agency WAM.

“This milestone, which comes a few days after the launch of the Hope Probe, confirms that our state – guided by Emirati cadres – is steadily progressing ahead with well-weighed plans towards building a robust knowledge base in all fields,” said UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Nawah, a joint venture nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) received the Operating License from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulations (FANR) – the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator – in February and undertook an extensive testing programme leading to the beginning of operations at the first nuclear energy reactor.

The start-up of Unit 1 marks the first time that the reactor safely produces heat, which is used to create steam, turning a turbine to generate electricity.

After several weeks and conducting numerous safety tests, Unit 1 will be ready to connect to the UAE’s electricity grid.

FANR has been overseeing the testing of the facility and has conducted more than 255 inspections to ensure the Barakah plant, its staff and processes meet the highest standards of nuclear quality and safety.

ENEC has also worked closely with international nuclear bodies including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) to ensure that the plant adheres to the necessary international regulations around safety.

“Today is a truly historic moment for the UAE. It is the culmination of more than a decade of vision, strategic planning and robust programme management. Despite the recent global challenges, our team has demonstrated outstanding resilience and commitment to the safe delivery of Unit 1. We are now another step closer to achieving our goal of supplying up to a quarter of our nation’s electricity needs and powering its future growth with safe, reliable, and emissions-free electricity,” said Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, CEO of ENEC.

“It will deliver 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity with zero carbon emissions while also supporting economic diversification by creating thousands of high-value jobs through the establishment of a sustainable local nuclear energy industry and supply chain,” added Al Hammadi.

Once the unit is connected to the grid, the team will continue with a process of gradually raising the power levels, known as Power Ascension Testing (PAT).

Once the process is completed over the course of a number of months, the plant will deliver baseload electricity at full capacity and is expected to generate clean electricity for at least the next 60 years.

“The start-up of Unit 1 is a significant milestone for Nawah Energy Company as we fulfill our mandate to operate and maintain the plant in accordance with the highest international standards of safety and quality. The dedication of our people as well as our close collaboration with our Korean partners and cooperation with numerous international expert organisations has enabled this accomplishment,” said Ali Al Hammadi, CEO of Nawah.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai tweeted on Saturday and added: “Today we announce the UAE’s success in operating the first peaceful nuclear energy reactor in the Arab world, at Barakah Nuclear Energy Stations in Abu Dhabi. The work teams succeeded in loading nuclear fuel packages, carrying out comprehensive tests and successfully completing the operation. I bless my brother Mohammed bin Zayed for this achievement.”

Last month, ENEC also confirmed that the construction of the second unit of the Barakah plant was completed.

Read: UAE’s ENEC completes construction of second unit of Barakah nuclear energy plant

Work on the construction of four APR-1400 units at this facility, one of the largest nuclear energy new build projects in the world, began in 2012, with construction of Units 3 and 4 reported at 92 per cent and 85 per cent of completion as of mid-July.

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