Barakah 4 prepares for operation

13 June 2023

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) says unit 4 at the Barakah NPP in Abu Dhabi has begun its operational readiness preparations.

The operations team at Barakah has begun the operational testing required to demonstrate the unit is ready to receive the Operating Licence from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

ENEC notes that the lessons learnt from launching the previous three units have been effectively applied at unit 4, ensuring the swift and safe transition to operational readiness. Unit 3 began commercial operation in February. Construction of the $20bn Barakah NPP began in 2011 after South Korea won a tender for the project in 2009. Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco) led the consortium that is building the plant comprising four APR1400 reactors. Unit 1 started up and was connected to the grid in 2020, followed by unit 2 in 2021. Unit 1 began commercial operation in April 2021 and unit 2 in March 2022. Unit 3 was connected to the grid in October 2022. Unit 4 completed hot functional testing in July 2022. Once all four units are operating, they will contribute up to 25% of the UAE's National Determined Contributions to Net Zero and be the largest source of dispatchable clean electricity. Once commercially operational, unit 4 will increase the Barakah NPP’s electricity generation capacity to 5.6 GWe.

ENEC Managing Director & CEO Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, said: “In the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, we are demonstrating how nuclear energy can have a real, rapid and transformative impact on decarbonising the power sector.… Barakah offers a clear success story as we head towards COP 28 in Dubai, where attendees will be looking for solutions to the climate crisis and are increasingly recognising the critical role proven nuclear energy technology will play.”

The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme is just the beginning, with ENEC focused on exploring and incubating strategic investments in nuclear energy locally and internationally that support growth and development goals. Gas demand in Abu Dhabi Emirate is now at an 11-year low because of the transformation in electricity generation. ENEC is leading efforts in research across areas such as development of small modular reactors (SMRs), clean hydrogen and other clean technologies. ENEC says the Barakah Plant’s baseload, constant clean electricity provides the ‘always on’ foundation for the Emirate’s solar plants whilst removing millions of tons of carbon emissions annually.

Image: Barakah unit 4 (courtesy of ENEC)

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