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Licence granted for fourth reactor at Abu Dhabi’s Barakah

When all four reactors are online the $32bn Barakah plant is set to generate 5.6GW of power Wam
The Barakah nuclear plant in the UAE, which will generate 5.6GW of power
  • 60-year licence granted
  • Joint effort of UAE and South Korea
  • Capacity to generate 5.6GW

The UAE’s regulator has issued an operating licence for the final reactor at the Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi.

The 60-year licence, awarded by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), will allow operating company Nawah to commission and operate Unit 4.

Nawah’s application was submitted six years ago, the regulator said.

Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the country’s nuclear power programme would play a key role in supporting government efforts to achieve its 2050 net zero goal.

“Today marks a historic moment for the UAE, where it realised its vision that started 15 years ago,” added Al Kaabi, who is deputy chairman of the FANR.

Nawah will now undertake a period of commissioning to prepare for Unit 4’s commercial operation.

Licences for Units 1, 2 and 3 were issued in February 2020, March 2021 and June 2022 respectively.

Located 53km from the city of Ruwais, the $32 billion Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is being developed by Barakah One – a joint venture between Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and Korea Electric Power Corporation.

Commercial operations began at Unit 1 at Barakah in April 2021. 

When the fourth reactor comes online, it will raise the plant’s total electricity generation capacity to 5.6GW.

In May, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation signed three memorandums of understanding with Chinese nuclear energy specialists as the UAE seeks to gain knowledge.

China has 56 nuclear energy plants in operation, with an additional 20 units under construction. It has unveiled a programme to invest $440 billion to build 150 reactors over the next 15 years.

The UAE’s neighbour Saudi Arabia has set an ambitious target to create 17GW of nuclear capacity by 2040. Three sites have reportedly been identified for a nuclear power plant – Jubail, Tabuk and Jizan.

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