Mariam Al Mheiri visits UAE's Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant

The Arab world's only nuclear power plant will eventually produce up to a quarter of the nation's electricity needs

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Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, has visited the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant.

Ms Al Mheiri's saw first-hand the progress at the plant and its growing contribution to the decarbonisation of the UAE's power sector, state news agency Wam reported on Monday.

Unit 2 of the nuclear plant started commercial operations in March, joining the first unit that has been generating clean electricity since 2021.

Four reactors are planned and, once all are operational, will produce up to a quarter of the UAE's electricity needs and prevent 22.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. Photo: Wam

By 2025, it is estimated the Barakah Plant will be producing 85 per cent of Abu Dhabi's clean electricity and will be the biggest contributor to reducing its carbon emissions by 50 per cent.

It will also help the UAE achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

"Increasing the share of clean energy in the power mix is a pillar of the UAE's climate action and its shift to low-carbon green economy to achieve sustainable economic development in line with the UAE Net-Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative," said Ms Al Mheiri.

"The Barakah plant significantly supports our energy transition, considerably reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slashing the country's carbon footprint, which advances our climate action and brings us closer to meeting our climate neutrality ambitions by 2050."

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation oversees the plant, while Nawah Energy Company is the operator. About 70 per cent of the workforce is Emirati and most employees are under 35.

The four units of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. Photo: Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation

“We were delighted to welcome Her Excellency Mariam Al Mheiri to the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, which has become a sustainable powerhouse for the nation over the past 12 months, generating abundant emissions-free electricity 24/7 for the nation," said Mohamed Al Hammadi, chief executive of Enec.

"We now have our eyes set on commissioning Units 3 and 4 as we continue to progress the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy industry for decades to come.”

Construction of the South Korean-designed plant in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra region began in 2012, while supervision of the project comes from the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator FANR, which has conducted more than 380 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.

Construction of Unit 3, meanwhile, is complete and Unit 4 is 92 per cent complete.

Updated: April 06, 2022, 1:23 PM