Final unit of Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant connects to UAE power grid

UAE moves step closer to full operations at Barakah

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The fourth and final unit of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has been connected to the UAE power grid, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation said on Saturday.

It paves the way for the delivery of the first megawatt of carbon-free electricity from the fourth reactor of the plant.

"We are proud to have achieved another critical milestone for the Barakah Plant, which stands as a testament to the UAE's leadership in the development of large-scale multi-unit nuclear fleets," said Mohamed Al Hammadi, managing director and chief executive of Enec.

Unit 4 will add 1,400 megawatts of clean energy capacity to the national grid, Abu Dhabi Media Office said.

Barakah, the largest single source of clean electricity in the Middle East, is now months away from full operations.

The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation issued the first operating licence for Barakah's Unit 1 in February 2020 and another for Unit 2 in March 2021. Commercial operations at Unit 1 started in April 2021.

The next step before completion is to gradually raise power levels during Unit 4's testing phase, known as power ascension testing.

The process will be continuously monitored and tested until maximum electricity production is reached.

Once ready, Unit 4 will generate 25 per cent of the country's electricity needs for the next 60 years.

Road to net zero

The Barakah plant is a key component of the UAE's clean energy transition and the push towards net zero by 2050.

Saturday's announcement comes months after nations signed a historic accord, at the Cop28 climate change conference in Dubai, to cut back on fossil fuel use.

In its first year, Barakah's Unit 1 prevented the release of more than five million tonnes of carbon emissions that would previously have been generated by fossil fuels.

It was equivalent to more than "one million cars driven for a year", Enec said at the time.

By next year, the Barakah plant is expected to produce 85 per cent of Abu Dhabi's clean electricity and be the biggest contributor to reducing the national power sector's carbon emissions.

Nuclear power is regarded as a clean energy because it does not create the same emissions as fossil fuels such as oil and gas.

Updated: March 23, 2024, 8:33 AM