Nuclear Energy in the UAE

The UAE needs electricity to maintain its rapid economic growth.

As the nation’s economy grows, the UAE requires more electricity to power new sectors from manufacturing and construction to healthcare and information and communications technology (ICT). With the growth of new industry comes an increased population, and an increased use of energy and water to power the economy. In the arid climate of the UAE, even water requires energy, as water from desalination plants provides 90% of all drinkable water consumed.

In 2007, the UAE Government conducted an extensive study into the nation’s growing energy demands and electricity generation capacity. The study found that existing and planned electricity supply would not meet future demand. Like many developing economies today, the UAE was faced with an urgent need to develop additional sources of energy to power its growth, whilst addressing the realities of climate change and the need to deploy cleaner, low-carbon technologies.

The Government reviewed multiple energy options to meet future demand including oil, gas, coal, renewables and nuclear energy. These energy sources were assessed in terms of relative costs, environmental impact, security of supply, and the potential for long-term economic development.

Nuclear energy emerged as the right choice for the UAE because it is a safe, clean and proven technology, it is commercially viable, and it delivers significant volumes of base-load electricity with nearly zero emissions.

Nuclear energy will diversify the nation’s energy supply while ensuring our future energy security. Investment in nuclear energy will also drive the growth of a major, high-tech industry in the UAE and provide high-value jobs for decades to come.

With the development of its peaceful nuclear energy program, the UAE is moving decisively forward with an energy portfolio that is adequately diversified, and balances our nation’s need for a constant and growing electricity supply with a responsibility to implement cleaner, low-carbon technologies.

Why Nuclear in the UAE?

  • Nuclear energy can generate large, stable volumes of baseload electricity 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, regardless of the weather.
  • It will enable the nation to reduce its emissions, diversify its energy supply, increase energy security, and bring the benefits of affordable, clean, reliable energy to a growing population.
  • It will help the UAE meet its sustainability commitments - once all four units of the Barakah plant are fully operational, it will produce up to 25% of the UAE's electricity while preventing the release of 22.4 million tons of carbon emissions, that is the equivalent of removing 4.8 million cars off the nation's roads each year. 
  • The technology is also proven. As of December 2019, 30 countries worldwide are operating 450 nuclear reactors and 53 reactors are under construction in 19 countries.

Did you know that nuclear reactors produce huge volumes of electricity from a very small amount of fuel? One small uranium pellet produces the same amount of energy as 474 liters of oil or one ton of coal – that’s enough energy to power one household for up to two months with almost no carbon emissions.

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