UAE commissioned the third generating unit of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) from UAE informed about the start of the chain reaction at generating unit No. 3 of Barakah NPP, the first nuclear power plant in the Middle East. The reactor is already generating heat, which will be used for launching the electric generators, and within several weeks the unit will be connected to the common grid.

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The first two generating units of Barakah NPP were connected in August 2020 and in September 2021 respectively, according to the IAEA Information System for nuclear reactors. The commissioning of the third unit will allow to increase the NPP capacity from 2.8 GW currently to 4.2 GW in future. The fourth generating unit of 1.4 GW is currently at the final stage of its construction. The project is implemented with participation of Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), and was post factum included into the UAE transition strategy to zero emissions, which is planned for completion by 2050. According to ENEC, after bringing Barakah NPP to full  rated capacity, 22.4 mln tons of GHG will be saved annually, which is equivalent to 9% of annual CO2 emissions by the UAE energy sector (260 mln tons of CO2 in 2021 according to the BP Global Energy Review).

The share of Barakah NPP in the UAE energy generation balance achieved 8% by the end of 2021. Gas-fueled power plants continue to play the key role in the energy sector, they accounted for 89% of generation in 2021 (the share of renewable energy sources was 3%). The decision to build the nuclear power plant was made in 2008. “At that time… nobody talked about energy transition.  The carbon footprint was rather an optional topic in the discussions of top-level politicians. Then, localisation of the nuclear power technologies provided an impetus for developing domestic competencies associated with research, metallurgy, nuclear medicine and agricultural applications of such technologies”, Alexey Likhachev, the CEO of Rosatom State Corporation, said in his interview to Sergey Brilev, President of the Global Energy Association, while commenting the nuclear energy development in UAE.

According to Likhachev, UAE plan to participate in implementing nuclear projects in other countries: “They want to enter other markets together with us, to localise fuel for supplying to other countries, to enter the projects we are already implementing through FEO (Foreign Economic Association) and stockholding companies. We are currently discussing all these options”, he stated.


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September 2022