Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and France's EDF in joint nuclear research pact

The agreement will help advance the UAE's nuclear industry and its energy transition goals

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and France's EDF signed a preliminary agreement covering research and development in the atomic power sector.

The agreement will help advance progress in the UAE's nuclear industry and support innovation, clean electricity production and methods of mitigating climate change.

"The planned MoU [memorandum of understanding] will elevate the strategic partnership between the two entities through sharing global expertise and the latest advancements in the nuclear energy sector, as well as exploring the production of green hydrogen powered by carbon-free nuclear energy," Enec said on Wednesday.

The two sides signed the agreement at the e-Fusion event organised by Business France in Dubai.

State-backed EDF has about 78 per cent of its power generation portfolio in nuclear energy, operating 58 reactors in France. The utility also develops renewable projects, which account for 12 per cent of its operations.

EDF already works with Enec's operations and maintenance joint venture Nawah Energy, providing it with a range of services, including operational safety, radiation protection, fuel cycle management and environmental monitoring.

The first of four units at Enec's Barakah nuclear plant began commercial operations in April. The second unit has completed its fuel load process and is working through additional processes before it starts up.

Units three and four are 94 per cent and 89 per cent complete, with the plant as a whole at 95 per cent completion, Enec said.

French energy companies such as Total, which recently rebranded itself to TotalEnergies, EDF and Engie are big players in developing conventional and renewable power infrastructure in the UAE.

EDF's renewables arm is part of a consortium – alongside China's Jinko Power and UAE entities Masdar and Taqa – that is developing the world's largest solar photovoltaic project, a 2-gigawatt plant in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra region.

The French company is also developing the 800-megawatt third phase of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.

French energy companies are also in discussions to develop hydrogen projects in the UAE, according to the European country's ambassador to the Emirates.

Updated: June 30th 2021, 9:02 AM
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