Abu Dhabi: The UAE has today (August 1) become the first country in the Arab World to begin peaceful nuclear energy production. The successful opening of UAE’s Barakah nuclear plant was announced on Twitter by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
“Today we announce the UAE’s success in operating the first peaceful nuclear energy reactor in the Arab world, at Barakah Nuclear Energy Stations in Abu Dhabi. The work teams succeeded in loading nuclear fuel packages, carrying out comprehensive tests, and successfully completing the operation. I bless my brother Mohammed bin Zayed for this achievement,” tweeted Sheikh Mohammed.
The tweet signals that Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi emirate’s Al Dhafra area has successfully begun operations, after completing a nearly five-month commissioning phase. It will be operated and maintained by the Nawah Energy Company, a subsidiary of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.
“The goal is to operate four nuc power stations that will provide a quarter of the state’s need for electricity in a safe, reliable, and emission-free way. The UAE splits the atom and wants to explore the galaxy. This is a message to the world that the Arabs are able to resume their scientific path, and compete with the rest of the great nations,”, Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, also tweeted about the plant’s opening.
Timeline of the UAE’s nuclear energy program
- 2008: UAE issued its nuclear policy in 2008
- 2009: Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) established. FANR regulates the nuclear sector in the UAE, while the ENEC owns and deploys power plants
- 2010: ENEC submits construction license application for the country’s first nuclear power plant
- 2012: Construction license for Barakah Units 1 and 2 issued. Barakah Nuclear Power Plant is the world’s biggest nuclear construction project
- 2013: Construction works begin on the Unit 2 reactor. Construction license for Barakah Units 3 and 4 issued
- 2015: Operating license application for Units 1 and 2 submitted
- 2017: Operating license application for Units 3 and 4 submitted
- 2018: FANR certifies first and second groups of senior reactors operators
- February 2020: FANR issues operating license for Unit 1
- July 2020: ENEC successfully completes the construction of Unit 2, and hands it over to Nawah Energy Company, ENEC’s operating and maintenance subsidiary.
“We are grateful to the leadership for their continuous support in making this remarkable achievement happen, along with the support of our UAE stakeholders and Korean partners, and congratulate everyone involved in the program on this landmark occasion,” Al Hammadi said.
Project’s overall completion
- Unit 1 – completed
- Unit 2 – 100 percent complete
- Unit 3 – 92 percent complete
- Unit 4 – 83 percent complete
The official also expressed his pride at the Emirati contribution to the program.
“I am especially proud of our talented Emirati engineers and professionals who contributed to the construction of Unit 1, as well as the UAE National Senior Reactor Operators and Reactor Operators who have been certified to safely operate the plant, alongside our international experts, to ensure the safe and sustainable operations of the unit,” Al Hammadi added.