The Nawah Energy Company, operators of the first multi-unit nuclear power plant in the Middle East, have received an operating license for the third unit if the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in the United Arab Emirates, the plant’s owner has announced.
The Emirate Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) had issued the license and that, subsequently, the loading of fuel assemblies into the reactor had begun.
“With Unit 3 now approved to operate alongside Units 1 and 2, this milestone demonstrates the substantial and swift progress that has been made in developing nuclear energy as a strategically significant, clean and abundant source of energy for the UAE,” ENEC said.
The plant’s construction has been managed by a consortium led by the Korean Electric Power Corporation. While delays have pushed startup schedules back and force budget increases, groundbreaking ceremonies for the four-unit plant, were held in March 2011. In succession, Unit 1 was completed and achieved commercial operating status by 1 April 2021, followed by Unit 2 reaching that status 34 March 2022. Unit 3 is expected to reach commercial operating status in early 2023. Unit 4 is not far behind. Construction of the final APR-1400 unit for the plant was considered 89 percent completed as of April 2021.
From the start of the Barakah project, the UAE has said it was setting a path towards a conversion to an energy source that would reduce the country’s carbon footprint, even as the country has enjoyed immense economic success derived over the years from the planet’s dependence on the petroleum industry.
“As we count with Unit 3, we are rapidly delivering a practical climate solution on the ground, enabling the UAE’s large-scale decarbonization efforts alongside its economic growth, and leading the way to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050,” said His Excellency Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, managing director and chief executive officer of ENEC.
When fully operational, the Plant will prevent 22.4 million tons of carbon emissions - the leading cause of climate change - every year, ENEC said.
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