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UAE's ENEC expects all four nuclear reactors to be operational in 4 years: CEO

Highlights

First 1.4GW reactor hits 100% capacity in Dec

All four will contribute up to 25% of country's power

UAE first in Gulf region to generate nuclear power

Dubai — The UAE's Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp., which in 2020 started one of the four nuclear units, expects all reactors to be operational in four years as OPEC's third largest producer seeks to diversify its energy mix.

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"Four years from today, we will have 25% of our electricity generated by clean and reliable source of nuclear power," Mohamed al-Hammadi, CEO of ENEC, told the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum Jan. 20.

ENEC's first 1.4 GW nuclear power reactor reached 100% power capacity in December after being connected to the power grid in August.

As a whole, construction of the Barakah plant is now more than 95 percent complete, ENEC said Dec. 7. The plant consists of four reactors, each with a capacity of 1.4 GW.

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

The UAE is the first country in the six-member Gulf Cooperation council to use nuclear energy for power generation. The other GCC members are Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Hydrogen production

ENEC may in the future produce green hydrogen from its nuclear reactors, Hammadi said.

"The future will definitely have a great potential in providing cheaper hydrogen," he said.

The UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co., and investor ADQ have formed an alliance to make oil-rich Abu Dhabi a leader in producing low-carbon green and blue hydrogen, the companies said Jan. 17.

The three companies will create a roadmap for adoption of hydrogen in the country's utilities, mobility and industry with international partners.

ADNOC currently produces around 300,000 mt/year of hydrogen for its downstream operations, and plans to expand it to more than 500,000 mt.

Mubadala and Siemens Energy also said Jan. 17 they have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a partnership to drive investment and development of projects to produce green hydrogen and synthetic fuel.