The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has signed a commercial uranium fuel supply contract with Kazakhstan’s Kazatomprom for the UAE’s Barakah plant, the first nuclear energy station in the Arab region.
The deal, signed on the sidelines of Cop28, “opens the door for future collaboration” between the two entities, as Enec forms international partnerships to support greater energy security and sustainable development, the UAE company said.
The signing took place during the official visit of Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to the UAE.
“This agreement with Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan, as the largest uranium producer globally, is strategically important for Enec in further diversifying and securing fuel supplies,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, Enec’s managing director and chief executive.
“Enec has a comprehensive strategy for fuel management at Barakah, signing contracts back in 2012 with a number of global suppliers.”
Kazakhstan is the world’s largest producer of uranium, holding about 12 per cent of the world’s recoverable uranium resources. It produces 40 per cent of the world’s uranium supplies.
Kazamtomprom mined 42 per cent of the world’s uranium in 2022.
“Adding Kazamtomprom boosts our roster of fuel partners further, ensuring a sustainable fuel supply for the generation of clean, 24/7 electricity,” Mr Al Hammadi said.
Uranium is used as a fuel in the fission process, during which its atoms are split to release significant heat.
The heat generates steam that drives turbines connected to generators, ultimately producing clean, carbon emissions-free electricity.
The UAE’s Barakah nuclear energy plant comprises four units with a total clean electricity generation capacity of 5.6 gigawatts, equivalent to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs.
It will deliver more than 40 terawatt-hours of clean electricity a year.
By 2025, the Barakah plant is expected to produce 85 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s clean electricity and will be the biggest contributor to reducing the national power sector’s carbon emissions.
Enec is now focused beyond the Barakah plant as it seeks to capitalise on the expertise it has gained by looking at opportunities for further large-scale plant development, advanced reactors, research and development and clean molecules, the company said.