Nuclear power in the United Arab Emirates

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United Arab Emirates is installing nuclear-powered plants to meet their electricity demand, which is estimated to increase from 15.5 GWe to over 40 GWe in 2020.[1] In December, 2009 US and UAE signed a Section 123 Agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation.[2] UAE has also signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), along with the additional protocol.[3]

Nuclear Regulation in the UAE[edit]

In April 2008, the UAE Government announced its interest in evaluating nuclear energy as an additional source to meet the country’s growing energy demands.

The Policy of the United Arab Emirates on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy, otherwise known as the Nuclear Policy, concluded that nuclear power emerged as a proven, environmentally promising and commercially competitive energy source compared to other options.

The Nuclear Policy also emphasised the establishment of an independent, vigilant and effective regulatory body as being the cornerstone of a stable, credible, safe, and secure nuclear programme.

The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) was established on 24 September 2009 in accordance with the Federal Law by Decree No. 6 of 2009, Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, also known as the Nuclear Law.[4]

From its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, FANR regulates the nuclear sector in the UAE in line with the Nuclear Policy, international treaties such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), other agreements the UAE is a party to, and international best practices.

Barakah nuclear power plant[edit]

In December 2009, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) awarded a coalition led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) a $20 billion bid to build the first nuclear power plant in the UAE. Barakah, 23°59′5.77″N 52°17′1.39″E / 23.9849361°N 52.2837194°E / 23.9849361; 52.2837194, about 50 km west of Ruwais, was chosen as the site to build four APR-1400 nuclear reactors successively, with the first scheduled to start supplying electricity in 2017.[5][6]

The plant's ground-breaking ceremony was held on 14 March 2011, including Korean President Lee Myung-bak.[7] Construction of the first unit was begun in the afternoon of 18 July 2012,[8][9] ahead of its scheduled date in late 2012. This happened despite delays being mooted in the wake of the Japanese nuclear accident.[10] In May 2013 construction started on the second unit, which is expected to take five years.[11]

In 2011 Bloomberg reported that following detailed finance agreements, the build cost was put at $30 billion: $10 billion equity, $10 billion export-credit agency debt, and $10 billion from bank and sovereign debt. South Korea may earn a further $20 billion from operation, maintenance and fuel supply contracts.[12]

In 2014 the Barakah 1 reactor vessel was delivered onsite and site preparation works for Barakah 3 and 4 started.[13][14]

In March 2015 ENEC applied to FANR for operating licences for Units 1 and 2. The schedule is still for operation of Unit 1 starting in 2017, with the remaining units following annually, so Unit 4 is set to reach commercial operations in 2020.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nuclear Power in the United Arab Emirates". Country Briefings. World Nuclear Association (WNA). January 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-22. 
  2. ^ "US-UAE 123 Agreement". Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "UAE NPT Signatory". Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Establishment of Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation". Federal Law. FANR. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "UAE Nuclear Power Plants". BBC News. 27 December 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Quarter of UAE's power from nuclear energy by 2020". Emirates 24/7. Dubai Media. March 17, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-22. 
  7. ^ "Pres. Lee Attends Groundbreaking Ceremony for UAE's Nuclear Plant". Arirang TV. March 14, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-22. 
  8. ^ "Construction under way at Barakah". World Nuclear News. July 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  9. ^ "ENEC Starts Construction of UAE's First Nuclear Energy Plant". Gulfnews. July 20, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  10. ^ "UAE's Nuclear Watchdog Says To Review Atomic Energy Plans". Zawya Dow Jones. March 22, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-22. 
  11. ^ "UAE pours first concrete for Barakah 2". Nuclear Engineering International. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Ayesha Daya and Stefania Bianchi (24 November 2011). "U.A.E.’s Nuclear Power Program Said to Cost $30 Billion". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Barakah 1 reactor vessel delivered". World Nuclear News. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "Work to start on third and fourth Barakah units". World Nuclear News. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "UAE's ENEC submits plan to run first two nuclear reactors". Arabian Business. 28 March 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 

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