ENEC meets with Idaho National Laboratory experts to explore latest developments in advanced nuclear and clean energy technologies


- With the Barakah Plant operating, ENEC is focused on realizing the full value of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program

- Senior delegation led by H.E. Mohamed Al Hammadi visits the United States’ nuclear energy laboratory, based in Idaho, USA

- ENEC and INL identifying opportunities to collaborate

- Visit coincides with wider delegation visit to multiple US clean energy companies and academic institutions

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), responsible for delivering the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program, met with experts from Idaho National Laboratory (INL), USA, one of the world’s largest and most advanced scientific research institutions to evaluate the latest in clean energy technologies, as part of its mission to rapidly decarbonize the UAE’s electricity grid.

The senior delegation, led by His Excellency Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, received a comprehensive briefing and tour over two days from officials from INL and the U.S. Department of Energy to see the latest developments and discuss plans for advanced nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors, clean hydrogen generation, advanced nuclear fuels and materials, as well as the latest technologies in integrated grid management and cybersecurity.

INL is one of the world’s most important research centers for clean energy innovation, with a focus on development, demonstration and deployment to support industry in delivering the clean energy transition needed in a realistic and proven manner. As ENEC now focuses on realizing the full value of the UAE Program, developing partnerships with institutions including INL is key to driving decarbonization, as well as developing clean energy molecules, in a manner that is realistic, data driven, and supports energy security in addition to energy sustainability.

“INL is excited to partner with ENEC,” said INL Director John Wagner. “This is a key step forward to bring about a global clean energy future.”

Idaho National Laboratory was founded in 1949 and sits on over 2,305 square kilometers, the size of Luxembourg, and is home to more than 5,700 researchers and support staff members innovating nuclear energy research, renewable energy systems and security solutions.

INL operates the world’s premier materials test reactor and is one of only two U.S. Department of Energy reactors in the U.S. that produces medical isotopes. INL is currently developing a number of test beds to support U.S. companies currently developing their small modular reactor technology. The lab is also currently testing commercial hydrogen electrolyzers, among other innovative technologies.

Fifty-two reactors have been built and operated over the past 70 years at INL, including the first nuclear reactor to generate usable electricity in 1951, and Arco, a small city in Idaho, was the first to be powered by electricity generated from a nuclear reactor at INL in 1955.

A key area of focus is on clean energy systems, which today are made up of a combination of renewable energy sources and nuclear energy. Nuclear energy complements the intermittent renewables, as the reliable, constant and full power (baseload electricity) is necessary for a stable grid and overall energy security. Nuclear energy provides baseload electricity regardless of weather conditions and is a catalyst to new innovation in areas like clean hydrogen.   

ENEC’s Barakah Plant, a nation-defining strategic energy infrastructure project, is spearheading the UAE’s decarbonization efforts by preventing millions of tons of carbon emissions annually by supplying constant clean electricity. Today, Barakah represents just 20% of the wider UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program with ENEC investing in R&D and innovation to further accelerate the opportunities within the UAE’s clean energy transition. A powerhouse for the nation’s development, energy security and stability, the plant generates thousands of high-value jobs and stimulates millions of dollars of value for local companies.

The role of nuclear in the global energy transition has never been so emphasized and critical. In the global pathway to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that nuclear power needs to double between 2020 and 2050, with construction of new plants needed in all countries that are open to the technology, whether large reactors or small modular reactors.

Later this year, the UAE will host the annual climate change conference COP28, which will be a defining moment as world leaders review climate change action. This will be an opportunity for visitors to see the UAE’s approach to a realistic clean energy transition, based on proven technologies, to ensure energy security and energy sustainability goals are achieved in parallel.