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UAE and China to explore civil nuclear initiatives

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Mohamed Al Hammadi, managing director and CEO of Enec and Yu Jianfeng, chairman of CNNC in Beijing sign a MoU for developing nuclear plants

The state-backed regulators for the UAE and China’s nuclear energy programmes are exploring joint development opportunities.

The UAE’s Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to explore opportunities for developing, operating and maintaining nuclear plants. 

The agreement provides a framework for collaboration in short and long-term fuel cycle procurement, developing best practices in the operation and maintenance of civil nuclear energy facilities, nuclear environmental protection and other areas of mutual interest.

Areas of cooperation in research and development include exploring the development of a nuclear technology centre, cooperating on IV generation reactors and hydrogen production technology, and using nuclear energy for desalination.

The MoU was signed by Mohamed Al Hammadi, managing director and CEO of Enec and Yu Jianfeng, chairman of CNNC in Beijing.

The new agreement builds on previous cooperation initiatives between the two entities, including an MoU signed at Cop28 in Dubai in December 2023.

The two entities also signed an MoU to explore cooperation opportunities for developing high-temperature gas-cooled reactors and their potential to deploy the technology in other countries.

Enec has developed the 5.6 gigawatt Barakah nuclear energy plant, the largest single source of clean electricity in the Middle East.

The plant generates 30 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity annually, more than 80 percent of Abu Dhabi Emirate’s clean electricity. When the fourth unit begins commercial operations in 2024, a further 10 TWh will be added.

China has 56 nuclear energy plants in operation, with an additional 20 units under construction. Beijing has recently announced a programme to invest $440 billion to build 150 reactors over the next 15 years to boost their energy security and sustainability.

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