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UAE starts commercial operations at Barakah-1 nuclear power unit

Highlights

The first 1.4 GW unit reached 100% power capacity in December

Regulatory authority granted operating license for unit 2 in March

UAE is first Gulf country to start nuclear power generation

Dubai — The UAE started April 6 commercial operations at the Barakah-1 nuclear power unit, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) said in a statement.

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The start of commercial operations at Barakah-1 comes a month after FANR issued a license to operate for Barakah-2, located at the same site.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC), reached 100% power capacity in December at its 1.4 GW Barakah-1 unit, after being connected to the power grid in August.

The four nuclear units will eventually contribute up to 25% of the UAE's power generation needs.

Nawah Energy Co -- the operations and maintenance unit of ENEC -- said on March 23 it had completed the loading of fuel in Barakah-2 and would commence testing its systems, before the reactor's start-up.

The Barakah plant consists of four reactors, each with a capacity of 1.4 GW. The units are all South Korean APR-1400s.

The UAE -- which mainly uses gas for power generation -- is diversifying its power generation mix. It plans to generate half of its power from clean and renewable sources, including nuclear power, by 2050 and is undertaking various projects to reach this goal. The Gulf country also wants to lower its carbon emissions and free up gas used for power generation for export and other uses.

Construction of Barakah-3 is 94% complete and work on Barakah-4 is 87% finished, with applications for the operating licenses for both units submitted, Hamad al-Kaabi, FANR's deputy chairman, said March 9. He declined, however, to give a timeline for granting a license for the last two reactors.