The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and the Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) have announced that Unit 4, the fourth and final unit at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in Abu Dhabi has begun its operational readiness preparations.
Fuel will be loaded into the fourth reactor, launching the preparation phase for operations. The existing three Barakah units were commissioned in April 2021, March 2022, and April February this year. With each of the four units having a capacity of 1400 MW, the nuclear plant has been the most reliable source of power around the clock since then.
The construction of the final unit commenced in July 2015 and the reactor passed the cold hydrostatic test in May 2020 and the hot functional test in July 2022. It also recently completed test operations, marking the completion of the construction phase, and obtained an operating license from the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).
The lessons learnt from the previous three units have been effectively applied to the next unit, ensuring the swift and safe transition to operational readiness, with each unit passing through the phases of preparation in a more efficient manner while maintaining the same standards of quality and safety.
Once commercially operational, Unit 4 will raise the Barakah Plant’s total clean electricity generation capacity to 5.6GW, equivalent to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs, delivering more than 40TWh of clean electricity per year.
The Barakah Plant has already had a transformational impact on the UAE’s energy landscape, spearheading the rapid decarbonization of the UAE’s power sector and over the winter months, the Plant met up to 48% of Abu Dhabi’s electricity requirements with zero-carbon electricity.
Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, said that in the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, ENEC demonstrated how nuclear energy can have a real, rapid, and transformative impact on decarbonising the power sector.
Every year since 2020, ENEC has added another unit to deliver 10TWh of 24/7, emissions free power to the grid. With Unit 4 now moving towards becoming operational ENEC will soon meet its mission to generate 25% of the Nation’s electricity.
He said that the success of the three commercially operational reactors reflects the dedication and skill of all ENEC teams involved in the programme.
“As we embark on the last leg of this first phase of our program to deliver the last of our four commercially operational nuclear reactors, we continue to inspire a new generation of climate change champions, while accelerating the UAE’s decarbonization towards the goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050,” Al Hammadi added.
ENEC’s leadership has showcased a new model to the world for nuclear developments, with Barakah widely recognized as one of the most advanced, nuclear plants in the world. It is the first of its kind nuclear new-build project in 27 years and has set an international benchmark for project management and cost effectiveness.
The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme is a vital part of the UAE’s clean energy ecosystem of low-carbon technologies, ensuring the sustainability, reliability, and resiliency of the UAE grid for at least the next 60 years.
Barakah is just the beginning, with ENEC focused on exploring and incubating strategic investments in nuclear energy locally and internationally that support the UAE’s growth and development goals. Gas demand in Abu Dhabi Emirate is now at an 11 year low because of the significant transformation in how the Emirate is generating its electricity.
ENEC is now leading efforts in research across areas like development of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), clean hydrogen and other clean technologies. The Barakah Plant’s baseload, constant clean electricity provides the ‘always on’ foundation for the Emirate’s solar plants whilst removing millions of tons of carbon emissions annually.