UAE: 10 years since construction on Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant began

Units 1, 2 are commercially operating, Unit 3 set to join them in the coming months

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 18 Jul 2022, 6:14 PM

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and its subsidiaries are celebrating the 10-year anniversary since the start of construction of Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in the Al Dhafra region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

With the world’s governments focused on how to resolve the dual challenges of energy security and climate change, the UAE is ahead of the curve because of its long-term energy strategy and significant investment in nuclear energy and other clean sources that began more than a decade ago. This approach is paying dividends today, driving the nation’s climate change efforts, giving local companies a unique competitive advantage through access to clean energy certificates to power business, in addition to advancing R&D and innovation.

The contract for the development of the Barakah Plant was awarded in December 2009, with construction beginning three years later in 2012. What has followed has been a highly focused program of work to deliver the Arab World’s first nuclear energy plant in line with national regulations and international standards.

On July 18, 2012 the first concrete pouring took place and construction was completed in May 2017. In April 2021, the UAE celebrated the start of Unit 1 commercial operations and clean, abundant electricity, every minute of the day – powering UAE homes, businesses and high-tech industries, rapidly accelerating decarbonization of the country’s power sector as the UAE progresses towards Net Zero by 2050.

Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, said, “This is a truly proud moment for everyone in the UAE as we mark a decade of vision, strategic planning, hard work and successful project delivery. Our wise leadership took a decision more than a decade ago to develop one of the world’s most advanced nuclear energy projects that in the coming years will provide a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs, with zero carbon emissions, providing energy security for the UAE while in parallel driving the UAE’s Net Zero ambitions.

“The UAE’s technology agnostic approach has meant that we have been able to accelerate the clean energy transition. Barakah is just the beginning as today we look towards what we can achieve in the next decade across an array of advanced nuclear technologies and clean fuels, such as clean hydrogen, development of regional super grids, SMRs and applications of nuclear in wider sectors. The UAE’s nuclear program has enabled us to train and inspire thousands of Emirati youth who are today the driving force on our path to Net Zero. I would like to thank all of our partners and stakeholders for their support over the past decade in helping us achieve these game-changing goals and look forward to another decade of international collaboration and progress,” added Al Hammadi.

Both Units 1 and 2 of the Barakah Plant are commercially operating with Unit 3 set to join them in the coming months. When it begins to operate at full power, it will add a further 1,400 megawatts of zero-carbon emission electricity to the national grid. Unit 4 is in the final stages of commissioning prior to construction completion.

Thousands of UAE nationals have been key to the delivery of the UAE Peaceful Energy Program over the past decade, bringing the extensive experience from the oil and gas sector to deliver the Barakah Plant.

The Barakah Plant is the only multi-unit nuclear energy plant operating in the Arab world. A powerhouse for the nation’s sustainable development, the plant has created thousands of high-value jobs and stimulates the growth of local industries. Barakah provides significant environmental benefits for the nation today and for the next 60 years and beyond, through rapid decarbonization of the energy sector – providing an abundant source of safe, clean and reliable 24/7 electricity. It is already the largest source of clean electricity in the region, and when fully operational, the Plant will prevent 22.4 million tons of carbon emissions - the leading cause of climate change – every single year.

Throughout the past 10 years, ENEC has committed to upholding its UAE nuclear policy commitments to the highest standards of nuclear safety, quality, transparency and non-proliferation. As a result, the Barakah Plant has received international recognition following robust assessments from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), and this commitment will remain throughout the lifetime of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program.


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