The photo is sourced from wam.ae
The Baraka NPP is the only nuclear power plant in the UAE. Its first, 1.4 GW unit, which is currently undergoing reactor refueling, was commissioned in 2020, and the second one in 2021. The launch of the third unit will increase the total capacity of the nuclear power plant to 4.2 GW. The construction of the nuclear power plant, which began in 2012, is a joint project of the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
The share of nuclear generation in the UAE’s generation mix in 2020 was one percent, according to the IAEA’s Power Reactor Information System (PRIS). A more significant role belongs to gas (95%) and solar (4%) power plants, which is also due to the country’s geological and climatic conditions. BP estimates that the UAE accounted for 3.2% of global reserves and 1.4% of global natural gas production in 2020. The installed capacity of solar panels in the UAE increased more than two hundred times during 2012 to 2021: from 13 to 2,705 MW, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Interest in nuclear energy originated in the UAE in the early 2000s and became an impetus for technological development, said Alexei Likhachev, Director General of the Rosatom State Corporation, in his interview with Sergey Brilev, President of the Global Energy Association. “Back then, at the dawn of the new millennium, we didn’t talk about energy transition. The carbon footprint was more of an optional topic in conversations among high politicians. The use of nuclear technology gave development of the internal competencies related to science, metallurgy, nuclear medicine, and the use of technology in agriculture,” A. Likhachev noted.
The expansion of the Baraka NPP capacity will reduce greenhouse emissions. The UAE, in terms of their volume (263.2 million of CO2 equivalents, according to the World Bank), is ahead of Qatar (99.8 million tons) and Oman (82.3 million tons), which are among the five largest gas producing countries in the Middle East.