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05 March 2024

Unit 3 of Abu Dhabi’s Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant commences Commercial Operations

Published
By Emirates247

Marking the UAE's Year of Sustainability and increasing its contribution to achieving UAE Net Zero by 2050 targets, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has announced that its operating and maintenance subsidiary Nawah Energy Company (Nawah) has commenced commercial operations of Unit 3 of Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in the Al Dhafra Region of Abu Dhabi. As the third unit to be delivered in three consecutive years, this major accomplishment adds a further 1,400 megawatts (MW) of zero-carbon emission electricity capacity, boosting total production from Units 1, 2 and 3 of Barakah to up to 4,200MW of baseload, reliable, clean electricity for the UAE national grid.

Unit 3 of the Barakah Plant has completed the process from Fuel Load to Commercial Operations more than four months faster than Unit 2, and more than five months faster than Unit 1, demonstrating how the operations’ teams utilised and implemented the experience gained from the previous two units, while adhering to all national regulations and international standards, as confirmed by assessments of UAE regulator FANR, and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). Unit 3 has been delivered efficiently and in one of the shortest timeframes compared to other third-generation reactors built worldwide, demonstrating a new era for nuclear new-build.

Playing a significant role in the UAE’s clean energy transition, ENEC and its subsidiaries are now one unit away from completing the four-unit Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant and realising its commitment to deliver up to 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity demands. The first multi-unit operating plant in the Arab World, Barakah has already powered more than 80 per cent of Abu Dhabi emirate’s clean electricity consumption in December 2022.

His Excellency Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, said: “In the Year of Sustainability for the UAE, we are proud to take the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program another step forward with Unit 3 beginning commercial operations. This has been achieved less than a year after successfully starting commercial operations for Unit 2. Barakah is a successful global benchmark for other nations looking to diversify their energy portfolio during a time of international energy crises. With three units now operating commercially, we are delivering energy security, powering sustainable economic growth, driving innovation, and contributing to achieve our Net Zero strategy by 2050. We look forward to showcasing just how critical nuclear is in tackling climate change, using proven solutions available today, at COP28 in the UAE in November.”

The commercial operations of Unit 3 were commenced with the continuous support of EWEC and the Abu Dhabi Transmission and Dispatch Company (TRANSCO), which ensure that the clean electricity generated at Barakah is delivered to consumers across the UAE in a safe and sustainable manner. EWEC and TRANSCO’s support in maintaining a world-class electricity grid infrastructure is critical to the reliable distribution of electricity from the Barakah Plant.

Nasser Al Nasseri, Chief Executive Officer of Barakah One Company, ENEC’s subsidiary in charge of representing the financial and commercial interests of the Barakah Plant project, said: “Today we celebrate an important day for the delivery of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant project with the commercial operations of Unit 3, and we reaffirm our commitment to clean electricity generation for the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) as per the Power Purchase Agreement signed in 2016. The sale of clean electricity further supports Abu Dhabi’s Clean Energy Certification programme, allowing more businesses to demonstrate their sustainability credentials, creating unique competitive advantage, and stimulating the growth of our Net Zero economy.”

Eng. Ali Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of Nawah, said: “This is a key achievement for Nawah, as we safely and efficiently begin commercial operations for Unit 3, in accordance with national regulations and international standards. Our highly skilled and qualified national and international experts have world-class operating experience to safely provide constant, reliable and sustainable clean electricity around the clock from three parallel operating Units.”

The Barakah Plant, a nation-defining strategic energy infrastructure project, is spearheading UAE decarbonisation efforts by preventing millions of tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The clean electricity from Barakah also supports Abu Dhabi businesses’ sustainability through the provision of Clean Energy Certificates.

Today, Barakah represents just 20 per cent of the wider UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program with ENEC investing in research and development, and innovation to further accelerate the opportunities within the UAE’s clean energy transition. This includes major opportunities in clean electricity exports, development of Net Zero molecules, including clean hydrogen and ammonia, as well as steam, in addition to overseas investments and financing of new clean energy projects.

A powerhouse for the nation’s development, energy security and stability, the plant generates thousands of high-value jobs and stimulates millions of dollars of value for local companies. Barakah provides significant environmental benefits for the nation today, and for the next 60 years and beyond. When fully operational, the Plant will prevent 22.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions – the leading cause of climate change – every year, and will free up billions of dirhams of natural gas annually that would have otherwise been used for electricity generation.