The UAE has successfully started up operations at the Barakah nuclear power plant, the first in the Arab world.
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said Tuesday that its operating and maintenance subsidiary Nawah successfully started up Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in the Al Dhafrah Region of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Besides the UAE being the first country in the Arab World, and the 33rd nation globally, to develop a nuclear energy plant to generate safe, clean, and reliable baseload electricity, 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 country’s roads annually.
ENEC noted that since receipt of the Operating License from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulations (FANR) in February 2020, and the completion of fuel assembly loading in March 2020, Nawah, the Joint Venture nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), has safely progressed through a comprehensive testing program, prior to successfully completing the start-up of the first nuclear energy reactor of the Barakah plant.
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. Nawah’s qualified and licensed team of nuclear operators focus on safely controlling the process and controlling the power output of the reactor.
After several weeks and conducting numerous safety tests, Unit 1 will be ready to connect to the UAE’s electricity grid, delivering the first megawatts of clean electricity to the homes and businesses.
H.E. Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, said: “Today is a truly historic moment for the UAE. It is the culmination of more than a decade of vision, strategic planning and robust program 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.”
Al Hammadi said that the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has become an engine of growth for the UAE and will deliver 25% 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.
“We are grateful to the Leadership for their continuous support in making this remarkable achievement happen, along with the support of our UAE stakeholders and Korean partners, and congratulate everyone involved in the Program on this landmark occasion,” Al Hammadi said.
Commenting on this key milestone in UAE nuclear energy operations, Eng. Ali Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of Nawah, said, “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 organizations has enabled this accomplishment. This reflects our commitment to upholding the highest safety, quality and operational transparency standards throughout the entire commissioning and startup process by leveraging the expertise of the global nuclear industry.”
ENEC recently announced the construction completion of Unit 2, with operational readiness preparations now underway by Nawah. Construction of Units 3 and 4 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is in the final stages, with the overall construction completion of the four units now standing at 94%.