The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced at the end of August 2021 that its operating and maintenance subsidiary Nawah Energy Company has successfully started up unit 2 of the Barakah nuclear energy plant, located in the Al Dhafra Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
This milestone, ENEC explains, “highlights the Barakah plant’s role as it continues to contribute to the UAE’s success story, which has been achieved one year after the start-up of unit 1, and within five months of commercial operations of this unit. This highlights the significant progress being made in bringing the four units of the Barakah plant online, in a safe and timely manner, to quickly decarbonize the UAE’s energy sector”.
Barakah nuclear energy plant is the first multi-unit plant in the region providing emissions-free electricity
This key milestone, argues the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, “marks the point at which the Barakah plant has become the region’s first multi-unit operating plant, further powering the nation’s economic growth with more clean, reliable and abundant electricity. The achievement demonstrates the nation’s extensive megaproject capabilities in the delivery of the UAE program, which meets all national regulations and international standards, as well as the skills, qualifications and competencies of the Emirati-led teams at Barakah”.
Clean and abundant 24/7 electricity
The Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, said: “We have reached another major milestone in the delivery of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program today, as part of our journey to power the UAE with clean, abundant 24/7 electricity. The Barakah plant supports the sustainable growth and prosperity of the nation. With the start-up of unit 2 we are now almost halfway to achieving our goal of supplying up to a quarter of our nation’s electricity needs and enabling sustainable growth and in parallel, achieving UAE climate change targets”.
Testing has been undertaken with the continued oversight of the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), and follows the World Association of Nuclear Operator’s (WANO) completion of a pre start-up review, prior to receipt of the operating license, which ensures unit 2 is aligned with international best practice in the nuclear energy industry.
In the coming months, Barkah 2 will be connected to the national electricity grid
In the coming months, unit 2 will be connected to the national electricity grid and the nuclear operators will continue with a process of gradually raising the power levels. The process will be continuously monitored and tested until maximum electricity production is reached, while adhering to all regulatory requirements and the highest international standards of safety, quality and security.
When fully operational, the company explains, the four units of the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity while preventing the release of more than 21 million tons of carbon emissions every year, equivalent to removing 3.2 million cars off the roads annually, and equivalent to those emissions from charging 7.3 billion smartphones daily.