UAE's second nuclear power plant unit connects to national grid

Barakah will meet 25 per cent of the country's electricity needs once it's fully operational

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The second unit of the UAE's nuclear power plant has connected successfully to the national grid.

Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant's second unit was started up late last month only four months after commercial operations began using the first reactor.

The announcement was made on Tuesday by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, a representative for whom said the first carbon-free megawatts of electricity had been delivered to the grid.

The unit was connected to the UAE grid by the plant's operations and maintenance subsidiary Nawah Energy.

"With the Unit 2 grid connection successfully completed, the Unit is in preparation to adding a further 1,400MW of clean electricity capacity to the UAE grid, with the first megawatts of emissions-free electricity from this unit now being dispatched to businesses, schools and homes," a press release read.

"This milestone takes Enec and its subsidiaries another step closer to the halfway mark of its goal to supply up to a quarter of the country’s electricity needs 24/7, while driving reductions in carbon emissions – the leading cause of climate change."

Now the second unit is connected, nuclear operators will begin to gradually raise the reactor's power levels, known as power ascension testing.

Once the process is complete, Unit 2 will deliver thousands of megawatts of clean electricity for decades.

UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suhail Al Mazrouei praised the progress made in the country's transition to clean energy sources.

"The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant plays a pivotal role in achieving the UAE’s goals of diversifying energy sources, increasing the share of clean energy resources and supporting economic and social development, as well as meeting the UAE’s objectives and international commitments to address the challenges of climate change," he said.

“Within months, Unit 2 will start commercial operations along with Unit 1, doubling the amount of clean electricity produced by the plant and the volume of carbon emissions saved."

Supervision of the project comes from the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator FANR, which has conducted more than 335 inspections since the start of Barakah’s development. It has overseen 42 missions and assessments by the International Atomic Energy Agency and World Association of Nuclear Operators.

The plant is in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra region and is one of the largest nuclear energy centres in the world, with four APR-1400 units.

Construction of the plant began in 2012 and Unit 1 produces thousands of megawatts of clean electricity.

Units 3 and 4 are in the final stages of commissioning and are 95 per cent and 91 per cent complete respectively.

The development of the Barakah Plant is now more than 96 per cent complete. When fully operational the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of free carbon electricity for more than half a century.

Updated: September 15, 2021, 3:58 AM