Barakah nuclear plant’s final unit nears start of commercial operations

Unit 4 will raise Barakah's contribution to UAE electricity grid to 25 per cent

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The fourth and final unit at the UAE's Barakah nuclear power plant is nearing its start of operations.

The plant's operations team has begun what it calls operational readiness testing, which is required to demonstrate the unit is ready to be licensed by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) said lessons learnt from the previous three units had been applied to Unit 4, which will help with a more efficient and safe transition to operational readiness.

Once commercially operational, Unit 4 will raise the Barakah plant's total clean electricity generation capacity to 5.6 gigawatts, equivalent to 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity needs, and will deliver more than 40 terawatt-hours (TWh) of clean electricity a year.

The third unit started commercial operations in February.

Barakah is leading the rapid decarbonisation of the UAE’s power sector. Over winter, the plant met up to 48 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s electricity requirements with zero-carbon electricity.

"Every year since 2020, we have added another unit to deliver 10TWh of 24/7, emissions-free power to the grid," said Mohamed Al Hammadi, managing director and chief executive of Enec.

"With Unit 4 now moving towards becoming operational, we will soon meet our mission to generate 25 per cent of the nation’s electricity.

"Barakah offers a clear success story as we head towards Cop28 in Dubai, where attendees will be looking for solutions to the climate crisis and are increasingly recognising the critical role proven nuclear energy technology will play."

Enec said gas demand in Abu Dhabi was now at an 11-year low because of the transformation in electricity generation.

Updated: June 09, 2023, 5:04 AM