Commercial power generation has begun at the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant. It is a milestone moment for the Emirates as it becomes the first Arab country to operate a nuclear energy plant. And it further reinforces the country’s commitment to clean energy.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, made the announcement on Tuesday.
“The start of commercial operations at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is a historic milestone for the UAE that significantly enhances the sustainability of our entire power sector,” he said.
“We are grateful to those who made this possible and thank them for their diligence and hard work.”
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) oversees the plant, while the operator is Nawah Energy Company (Nawah). The 1400 MW Unit 1 is now providing constant, reliable and sustainable electricity around the clock.
“The UAE set a clear roadmap with solid principles to ensure this project’s development in accordance with the highest international industry standards of safety and quality with full transparency,” said Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of Enec.
“Our investment in pioneering technologies and the decarbonisation of our electricity production not only advances the UAE’s clean energy leadership but also produces tangible socioeconomic and environmental benefits. We congratulate all of our partners as we continue to support the prosperity and sustainable growth of our country,” he said.
Mohamed Al Hammadi, chief executive of Enec said, the development marks a new chapter in the UAE’s transition to cleaner energy.
“The Barakah plant uses a proven technology for significantly reducing carbon emissions to tackle climate change, one of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced,” said Mr Al Hammadi.
“Our talented team of UAE Nationals and international experts has worked tirelessly with the support of our leadership and international partners to reach this pivotal milestone in the UAE programme’s history,” he said.
“Today, the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is powering the nation’s engine of growth and enabling the prosperity of communities across the Emirates by delivering significant economic, social and environmental benefits for the next 60 years and beyond. As we celebrate the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, we are proud to be realising the vision set out by our nation’s wise leadership for a diversified and decarbonised energy sector, and remain grateful for their enduring support throughout the past decade of construction, strategic planning and program implementation.”
Unit 1 was fully operational by December and is capable of generating 1,400 megawatts of electricity for the nation’s grid.
Four reactors will eventually come online, delivering clean, efficient and reliable electricity for decades.
The plant will provide about a quarter of the country’s electricity and eliminate up to 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
That is comparable to taking 3.2 million cars off the roads each year.
Construction of the $25 billion nuclear plant began in 2011 with South Korean expertise.
The Asian country’s APR-1400 nuclear reactor is one of the most advanced in the world, with a lifespan of at least 60 years.
The UAE ordered four for the plant in Al Dhafra. A joint venture between Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and Kepco, the Korean Electric Power Company, the plant is now delivering on that promise. Unit 2’s start up is scheduled for later this year. Construction of Units 3 and 4 are 94 per cent and 89 per cent complete respectively.
The construction of the Barakah Plant as a whole is now more than 95 per cent complete.