In an effort to sustain on renewable energy, the UAE is taking a massive leap into nuclear power by starting the Barakah Nuclear Plant expected to deliver 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity with zero carbon emissions.
First unit of Barakah Nuclear Plant begins operations
A viable form of energy that only 32 countries can boast of, the idea of nuclear energy started in the dawn of the 20th century and has been in development since the post-World War 2 era to meet the world’s commercial energy needs. The Cold War phase paved the way for more economically developed countries to venture into nuclear energy generation and today, there are 440 reactors in operation.
UAE is now the latest entrant in the elite nuclear club with its own reactor in the works since 2009. The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme was established that year working in sync with nuclear bodies like the International Atomic Energy Agency and World Association of Nuclear Operators to conduct inspections and making sure the reactors meet top standards of safety and nuclear quality.
“Today is a truly historic moment for the UAE. It is the culmination of more than a decade of vision, strategic planning and robust program management. Despite the recent global challenges, our team has demonstrated outstanding resilience and commitment to the safe delivery of Unit 1. We are now another step closer to achieving our goal of supplying up to a quarter of our Nation’s electricity needs and powering its future growth with safe, reliable, and emissions-free electricity.”Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation
How the nuclear reactor works
Simply put, Unit 1 operates upon reactors producing heat to create steam and a turns on a turbine to generate electricity, upon the supervision of a team of nuclear operators who control the power output. After weeks of safety tests, the reactor will connect to the UAE’s electricity grid, providing megawatts of clean electricity.
Photograph credit: WAM
“We proudly witness the start of Barakah nuclear power plant operations, in alignment with the highest international safety standards. Congratulations on realizing this historic achievement in the energy sector & marking this milestone in the roadmap for sustainable development.”His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
21 million tons of carbon emissions prevented every year
Given the capacity of Unit 1, the plant can produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity, which means it can prevent a whopping 21 million tons of carbon emissions every year, equivalent of those from 3.2 million vehicles!
(Featured photograph credit: WAM)