UAE starts up operations at its first nuclear power plant
03 August 2020
Days after its first mission to Mars, the United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced the start-up operations at the first unit of the emirate’s first nuclear power plant, the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, in Abu Dhabi.
The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is located in the Al Dhafra of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi on the Arabian Gulf, approximately 53 km west-southwest of the city of Ruwais. The plant’s four APR1400 design nuclear reactors will supply up to 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity needs once fully operational.
Construction of the plant commenced in July 2012, following the receipt of the construction licence from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and a No Objection Certificate from Abu Dhabi’s environmental regulator, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD).
UAE’s nuclear energy agency, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), on Sunday said its subsidiary Nawah Energy Company “has successfully started up Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in the Al Dhafrah Region of Abu Dhabi.”
The Barakah nuclear power plant is being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). The plant was originally due to open in 2017 but start-up of its first reactor was repeatedly delayed.
The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, wrote on Twitter that nuclear fuel had been loaded into the first of four units of what he called “the first peaceful nuclear energy reactor in the Arab world.”
“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,” ENEC’s chief executive Mohamed Ibrahim al-Hammadi said.
The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation said Nawah met all regulatory requirements to start operations, after regular inspections and oversight to ensure the plant’s safety
When completed Barakah will have four reactors with 5,600 megawatts (MW) capacity.
The $20 billion contract to KEPCO also covers extensive training, human resource development and education programs as the UAE builds the capacity to staff a thriving nuclear energy industry.
The Barakah plant is an important part of the UAE’s efforts to diversify its energy sources, and will provide clean and efficient energy to homes, businesses and government facilities while reducing the nation’s carbon footprint. When fully operational, the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is expected to save the UAE up to 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year, equivalent to removing 3.2 million cars from the roads.