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UAE among nations vowing to treble global nuclear capacity

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Leaders from 21 countries have pledged to triple global nuclear capacity by 2050

Leaders from 21 countries have pledged to treble global nuclear capacity by 2050, in a bid to advance the transition towards net zero.

Nine heads of state endorsed the declaration to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050 during the Cop28 summit, the UAE state-owned Wam news agency reported.

Canada, Czechia, Ghana, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, the UAE, the US and the UK have endorsed the declaration.

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Global energy systems contribute to 70 percent of total carbon emissions, with power production generating almost 30 percent. Therefore, decarbonising various sectors, including electricity, heating, industrial processes and transportation, is crucial to reduce emissions.

Nuclear energy is the second-largest source of “clean, dispatchable baseload power” globally and the largest for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations. 

The declaration encourages partnerships, commitments and innovations from additional governments and financial organisations, such as the World Bank, to support the political will and resources required for this expansion.

“The UAE took the decision back in 2009 to pursue this important energy source. Today, it is decarbonising energy-intensive and heavy industry across the country,’ energy and infrastructure minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said.

“We see nuclear as part of a balanced portfolio of energy, and we are committed to working with other countries to show how we have delivered this in a safe and sustainable way. The UAE supports this important declaration, which is crucial for reaching net zero.”

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced on Monday it had signed an agreement with TerraPower, a US nuclear innovation company on the sidelines of the Cop28 conference. The signing was attended by Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO of ENEC, and Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and chairman of TerraPower.

ENEC also signed an agreement with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to identify opportunities for investment in smaller, more affordable, modular reactors.

The UAE has the cleanest electricity per capita of any country globally over the past five years, with nuclear energy contributing almost 75 percent, Wam said.

The Barakah nuclear energy plant in Abu Dhabi commenced commercial operations of its first unit in 2021, adding 10 terawatt-hour (TWh) of electricity to the grid each year as each 1,400 megawatt unit of the four-unit plant comes online. 

Unit 4 of the plant is set to come online next year.

The signing of an agreement between the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and TerraPower, a US nuclear innovation company was attended by Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and chairman of TerraPower

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