Unit 4 start-up at Barakah nuclear plant accelerates UAE towards Net Zero 2050

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In the coming weeks, Unit 4 will link to the national electricity grid, entering a testing phase to gradually increase its power output to full capacity, ENEC said.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced on Friday that its operating and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company, has successfully started-up the reactor of Unit 4 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, signifying its world-class expertise in developing and deploying the largest single source of clean electricity in the UAE and the region.

The start-up of Unit 4 at the Barakah plant marks its initial production of heat through nuclear fission, used for generating electricity by turning a turbine with steam. In the coming weeks, Unit 4 will link to the national electricity grid, entering a testing phase to gradually increase its power output to full capacity, ENEC said in a statement.

Arab world's first multi-unit operational nuclear plant

Barakah is the first multi-unit operational nuclear plant in the Arab world, with the operational teams starting up a unit every year since 2020, demonstrating steady progress and extensive megaproject management expertise. The Barakah Plant uses four APR-1400 pressurised water reactors capable of each producing up to 1,400 megawatts of clean electricity.

Each unit has been started up more efficiently than the previous unit, as institutional knowledge and experience are applied to each subsequent unit, ENEC said. Unit 3 was delivered four months faster than the Unit 2 schedule, and five months faster than the Unit 1 schedule, demonstrating the significant benefit of building multiple units within a phased timeline.

“The start-up of the fourth unit of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is a significant achievement as we now enter into a new era to deliver the full promise of the Barakah Plant,” His Excellency Mohamed Al Hammadi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, said.

Record clean energy capacity 

“In the past five years, the UAE has added more clean electricity per capita than any other nation globally, with 75% coming solely from the Barakah Plant, demonstrating how pivotal nuclear energy is in decarbonising the country’s power sector. The knowledge and expertise of our local teams positions us well ahead of the curve, setting the nation on a pioneering course towards sustainable economic and environmental prosperity. Our journey reflects a bold vision, coupled with rigorous standards of quality and safety, to effectively deploy civil nuclear energy as a proven, viable solution for tackling energy security and climate change.”

Once the testing is complete and commercial operations begin, Unit 4 will take the total capacity of the Barakah Plant to 5,600 megawatts of zero-carbon emission electricity to meet 25% of the UAE’s electricity demand, ENEC said. The plant will also contribute to a quarter of the country’s carbon-reduction commitments, known as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the United Nation’s Paris Agreement to meet global climate change goals.

World Nuclear Association congratulates ENEC

Complimenting ENEC on the historic achievement, Dr Sama Bilbao y Leon, Director General of World Nuclear Association, said: "Congratulations to all the friends and colleagues at Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and Nawah Energy Company, and the people of the United Arab Emirates for the successful start up of the fourth unit at the Barakah nuclear power plant. Showing the world how to decarbonise on time and on budget in a cost-effective and equitable manner."

ENEC, in collaboration with the World Nuclear Association, recently launched Net Zero Nuclear to establish a platform advocating for the important role of nuclear energy in achieving net zero emissions. At COP28 in the UAE, leaders from 22 countries on four continents declared to advance the tripling of global nuclear energy capacity by 2050 to accelerate decarbonisation of the energy sector and heavy industries from around the world, with 150 companies pledging to support this target.


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