NAT BARAKAH 1-1580557972501
The Barakah nuclear plant Image Credit:

ABU DHABI: By making the UAE the first Arab country to deliver safe, commercial and peaceful nuclear power, Barakah will be the first major national achievement this year.

Nawah Energy Company, the entity responsible for the deployment, ownership and operation of nuclear energy plants in the UAE, has confirmed that Unit 1 of Barakah is ready to generate energy.

After it is fully operational, Barakah nuclear power plant’s four units will reduce 21 million tonnes of harmful carbon emissions every year, equivalent to getting rid of 3.2 million cars from the country’s roads on an annual basis.

Located in Al Dhafra, approximately 53km west-southwest of the city of Ruwais, the plant’s four APR-1400 design nuclear reactors will also supply up to 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity needs in compliance with the highest standards of safety, security and operational performance.

The journey started in April 2008 by issuing the policy of the UAE on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy.

The policy focused on six key pillars, which were the UAE’s commitment to complete operational transparency, pursuing the highest standards of non-proliferation and adhering to the highest standards of safety and security.

It also included working directly with the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, and conforming to its standards in evaluating and potentially establishing a peaceful nuclear energy programme, developing any peaceful domestic nuclear power capability in partnership with the governments and firms of responsible nations, as well with the assistance of appropriate expert organisations, and lastly approaching any peaceful domestic nuclear power programme in a manner that best ensures long-term sustainability.

In 2009, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, ENEC, selected the Korea Electric Power Corporation, KEPCO, which is the largest Nuclear Power Corporation in South Korea, as the main contractor for peaceful nuclear power plants in the UAE.

KEPCO is one of the leading companies in the world in terms of safety, reliability and efficiency, as classified by the International Union of Nuclear Energy Operators.

The UAE selected this company after a comprehensive year-long process conducted by a team of 75 international energy experts. The evaluation focused on several factors, most notably, safety and ability.

Emiratis account for 60 per cent of the employees in ENEC and its affiliate companies, and the total number of reactor operators is 58, including 26 Emirati engineers.

In the past decade, the UAE has welcomed the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, and the World Association of Nuclear Operators, WANO, to carry out more than 40 missions, which included conducting reviews and comparisons.

These missions aimed to ensure the progress of construction before starting actual operation, being in line with the best global practices and the strict regulatory requirements of FANR.

Key milestones

2010: Environmental impact assessment and licensing requests for preliminary works were submitted, and approval was obtained from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, FANR.

2013: ENEC submitted a construction license application for Barakah’s units three and four, and in May 2013, the safety nuclear concrete was poured for unit two and the installation of the metal bushing on unit one began.

2016: ENEC declared that its Board of Directors has decided to establish the Nawah Energy Company to operate and maintain Barakah’s four power plants. ENEC and KEPCO signed a Joint Venture agreement for a long-term partnership and cooperation for the UAE’s Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme. ENEC and KEPCO also announced the establishment of Barakah One PJSC, an independent subsidiary owned by both companies, which will represent the commercial and financial interests of the Barakah project.

Under this joint venture, KEPCO will take an 18 perc ent stake in Barakah One while ENEC will own the remaining 82 per cent. During the year,

Barakah One Company signed the first nuclear energy Power Purchase Agreement with Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company for the purchase of the electricity to be generated at Barakah.

The agreement establishes the contractual framework between the two entities for safe, clean, efficient and reliable electricity produced at Barakah.

2018: Construction was completed at Barakah’s Unit one

2019:First batch of reactor operators were granted a license to operate by FANR.