Abu Dhabi / WAM
The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, has visited the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi emirate.
Grossi was welcomed by Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the IAEA, Engineer Ali Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of Nawah Energy Company, the operation and maintenance subsidiary of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), and Nasser Al Nasseri, Chief Executive Officer of Barakah One Company, Enec’s subsidiary managing the commercial interests of the Barakah Plant.
Grossi witnessed the major progress that has been made at the Barakah Plant, which is now generating clean electricity and rapidly decarbonising the nation’s power sector with Unit 1 commercially operational. Grossi also toured Unit 2 of the Plant, which was connected to the UAE grid in August and recently achieved 50% power for the first time as part of the power ascension testing prior to commercial operation of the Unit. He visited Units 3 and 4 which are in the final stages of commissioning, with Unit 3 already undergoing operational readiness preparations. The development of the Barakah Plant as a whole is now more than 96 percent complete.
Al Kaabi commented: “The IAEA has provided a clear path for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program to follow that has guided our every step since inception in 2009, along with continuous guidance and regular inspections to support the UAE Program since its launch in 2009. This support has helped to ensure that the Barakah Plant meets the highest international standards of nuclear safety, security, quality and non-proliferation. The UAE remains committed to international collaboration, knowledge sharing and development of best practices to help ensure the continued advancement of the nuclear energy industry.”
Al Hammadi added: “It is a pleasure to welcome DG Grossi to the UAE and to the Barakah Plant to witness the remarkable progress that has been made here. With the support and of the IAEA, the UAE became the first country in the Arab world with a multi-unit operating nuclear plant and is today leading the largest decarbonisation effort in the region. The close cooperation with the IAEA contributed significantly to establish the UAE Program as a role model for other new nuclear energy projects globally. The Barakah Plant is powering a clean and sustainable future for the UAE by generating abundant clean electricity around the clock to fulfil growing demand while in parallel tackling climate change. We look forward to many more years of cooperation with the IAEA and wider international nuclear energy community.”
DG Grossi met with Emirati engineers, reactor operators and other young talent working at the Barakah Plant. With more than 1,100 employees under the age of 35 and more than 500 Emiratis having graduated through the Energy Pioneers training program, ENEC is committed to the development of nuclear energy professionals and clean energy leaders for the UAE. Enec’s Emirati-led nuclear operations teams are fully-equipped with the skills and expertise to support one of the newest nuclear energy programs in the world and achieve international and local sustainability goals.
“It was very impressive to visit Barakah and see first-hand all what the UAE has achieved over the past decade in becoming the first Arab country to build and operate a nuclear power plant. The world needs nuclear power – and more of it – as an indispensable part of the solution to the climate crisis. Nuclear is a low-carbon energy source that can also provide round-the-clock baseload power in all types of weather to complement wind and solar. The UAE is one of the 32 countries that currently operate a total of 442 nuclear power reactors around the world, producing about 10 per cent of global electricity and more than a quarter of all low carbon electricity. As countries step up efforts to decarbonise their economies, interest in nuclear power is growing,” DG Grossi said.
Enec is progressing smoothly towards supplying a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs completely carbon free. When fully operational, the four Units of the Barakah Plant will prevent 21 million tons of carbon emissions every year for more than 60 years. The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program is playing a leading role in helping the country achieve the goals of its Net Zero 2050. By 2025, the Barakah Plant is forecast to be the largest contributor to cutting Abu Dhabi Emirate’s carbon emissions by 50 percent, demonstrating the significant abilities of nuclear energy in producing baseload clean electricity.
The Barakah Plant is powering thousands of businesses and households with abundant, clean electricity from Unit 1, the largest single electricity generator in the Arab World. When fully operational, the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of free carbon electricity for the next six decades.