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Highlights

UAE is first Gulf country to generate nuclear power

Currently, one of four nuclear units is operational

Construction of three other units nearly complete

Dubai — The UAE, which became this year the first Gulf country to use nuclear power to generate electricity, may in the future construct four more nuclear reactors, depending on the country's needs, a government official said Sept. 17

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OPEC's third largest oil producer started this year the first of four units at the Barakah nuclear power plant as part of plans to diversify its energy mix, lower its carbon emissions and free up gas used for power generation for export and other uses.

"We designed Barakah for eight units," Mohamed al-Hammadi, CEO of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. told a webcast organized by the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency. "The government decision — whenever we decide to go beyond the four — that depends on the energy strategy. The government does every 10 years a comprehensive review of the energy policy."

Once all four units at Barakah are operational, they will produce 5.6 GW of electricity, meeting up to 25% of the country's power needs.

The UAE as a whole plans to generate 50% of its energy mix from clean and renewable energy, including nuclear power, by 2050, and is undertaking various projects to reach its goal.

Construction of the three remaining nuclear units is almost complete and the full commissioning of all units will take a few years, Hammadi said, without giving a specific timeline.

Construction of the Barakah plant as a whole is now 94% complete, ENEC said July 14. The 1.4-GW Barakah-1 was connected to the grid in August.