Mohamed bin Zayed Visits Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, Commends Remarkable Progress


His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces visited the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, to witness the significant safety-led progress being made on the Arab World’s first peaceful nuclear energy plant, which is a key driver of the UAE’s transition to a new clean energy era, and supporting the diversification of energy sources.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed was accompanied during the visit by H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Advisor to H.H. President of the UAE, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, and Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Under-Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was welcomed by Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, ENEC, Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO of ENEC, Ali Al Hammadi, CEO of Nawah Energy Company (Nawah), and Nasser Al Nasseri, CEO of Barakah One Company, for a tour of the plant, which will soon start generating clean electricity 24/7 for the UAE.

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Beyond clean energy, the Barakah plant is an engine of growth for the nation, through the creation of highly skilled careers and a new industrial sector to support the operation of the plant for the next six decades that it will operate.

To commence the visit, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed and his delegation received a briefing on the historic milestones achieved over the past eleven years by ENEC and its subsidiaries Nawah and Barakah One Company, alongside its key partners the Korea Electric Power Corporation, KEPCO, ENEC’s Joint Venture Partner, and Korea Hydro and Electric Power, KHNP, since his visit in 2018 to witness the construction completion of Unit 1.

Following the briefing, the delegation visited the Main Control Room of Unit 1, which is in the advanced stages of testing in preparation for start-up. This will be a major step forward for the UAE as it will produce clean electricity from nuclear energy for the first time in the nation’s history.

His Highness met the operating crew, comprised of UAE national and international experts, who are certified and licensed to safely operate and control the reactor. The crew presented their operations process and expressed their commitment to deliver and operate the Barakah plant in line with the highest standards of quality and safety.

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As part of the visit, His Highness also toured Units 2-4 of the plant where ENEC CEO Al Hammadi announced another key milestone: the construction completion of Unit 2, which has been completed in accordance with the highest global standards of quality and safety. The plant will be handed over to Nawah Energy Company to complete all of the operational readiness preparations as part of the process towards receipt of the Operating License from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, FANR.

The visit follows on from the achievement of a number of recent historic milestones. In February 2020, Nawah, ENEC’s operating and maintenance subsidiary for the Barakah plant, received the Operating Licence for Unit 1, and following the successful loading of the first fuel assemblies in March 2020, the UAE became the first nuclear operating nation in the Arab World, and the 33rd nation globally, to achieve the advanced technical expertise required to utilize this highly specialised, powerful form of peaceful clean energy.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed emphasised that the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is a historically significant project for the UAE that will cement its leading position and role in the growing clean energy sector. His Highness reiterated Leadership’s support for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme and the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, which is the cornerstone of the program. He also recognised the economic and social importance of the program for the UAE, in addition to the project’s contribution in tackling the challenges posed by climate change regionally and worldwide.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said, "I am proud of the remarkable achievements the dedicated teams at Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant are delivering. The expertise, dedication and commitment of our talented UAE Nationals, working side-by-side with our international experts, is a shining example of the UAE’s resilience and ability to deliver world-class national infrastructure projects safely, despite the current challenges we and the global community faces as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic."

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Commenting on South Korea’s role, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed praised the strategic partnership between the UAE and South Korea and its important contribution to each nation’s respective economies, particularly in the peaceful nuclear energy sector. His Highness also remarked on the significant role of Team Korea, a group of expert companies working at the Barakah plant for their key contributions in developing this significant project.

Sheikh Mohamed affirmed his continuous support to the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme which will contribute to promoting sustainable development and economic diversification in addition to mitigating climate change by producing safe, reliable and clean electricity.

Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of ENEC, commented, "His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s visit to the Barakah Peaceful Nuclear Energy plant is a reflection of the support and care given to this programme. The UAE’s pioneering spirit, under the vision of His Highness, has led us to developing this significant project, based on overarching policy principles of safety, security, transparency and non-proliferation. The Barakah Plant is a national strategic infrastructure project which will generate safe and clean electricity for the nation, as well as being an engine of social, academic and economic growth for at least the next 60 years to come."

Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC CEO, added, "We are delivering a peaceful nuclear energy program for the UAE that we are truly proud of – achieving the highest international standards of safety, security, quality, transparency and non-proliferation. Our work continues to be overseen by the UAE’s independent national regulator FANR to ensure safe and reliable construction and operations. We have delivered one of the largest and most complex construction projects in our nation’s ambitious history, achieving many milestones over the past decade, as we work to complete the development of one of the largest new build nuclear energy programmes in the world today."

Following the proactive and decisive approach the UAE’s leadership took in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, ENEC and its subsidiaries have taken comprehensive measures to ensure the health and safety of its employees and the plant. The workforce at Barakah has been streamlined to enable a significant proportion to support the development of the plant remotely, and comprehensive screening and testing processes have been implemented for all those at site, who are utilizing established access control processes to enter and exit to minimize the risk of an outbreak. Dedicated quarantine locations have been proactively set up at site so that any cases can be swiftly cared for by the medical team based at the plant.

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ENEC is currently in the final stages of construction of Units 3 and 4 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in the Al Dhafra Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The overall construction of the four units is more than 94 percent complete. The four units at Barakah will generate up to 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity demand by producing 5,600 MW of clean baseload electricity, preventing the release of 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year – the equivalent of removing 3.2 million cars off the roads annually.