Unit 3 of Barakah Nuclear Plant successfully connected to UAE power grid

The connection of Unit 3 is said to represent a major step forward in guaranteeing the UAE’s energy security and sustainability

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said its subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company, has safely and successful connected Unit 3 of Barakah Nuclear Plant to the UAE’s transmission grid.

The announcement means that the unit – the third of four – has begun delivering the first megawatts of carbon-free electricity to the national grid, following its recent successful start-up. Unit 3 has 1,400MW of zero-carbon emission electricity capacity and Nawah added that the connection represents a major step forward in guaranteeing the UAE’s energy security and sustainability.

“Our leadership’s long-term vision and decisions more than 13 years ago are paying dividends today, as we celebrate another proud moment for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program. Connecting Unit 3 to the UAE transmission grid adds thousands more megawatts of clean electricity to power all aspects of society, replacing the need to burn $4bn worth of gas which can be diverted for export, and through Clean Energy Certification, gives many companies in the UAE a unique competitive advantage,” said ENEC Managing Director and CEO Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi.

Unit 1 and Unit 2 of the Barakah Nuclear Plant are already in commercial operation and have been generating clean electricity 24/7. With Unit 3 now close to commercial operation, Barakah will also be helping to accelerate the decarbonisation of the power sector and will form an essential part of the UAE’s Net Zero 2050 Strategy, he added.

ENEC said that the connection represents a major step forward in guaranteeing the UAE’s energy security and sustainability. Following the grid connection, it explained that Unit 3 will go through the process of gradually raising its power levels – a procedure known as Power Ascension Testing (PAT). It will be continuously monitored and tested until maximum electricity production is reached.

All local regulatory requirements and the highest international standards of safety, quality and security will be followed, the company added.

The nuclear sector is set to be a vital part of the UAE’s clean energy system of multiple low-carbon technologies. It aims to ensure the reliability, efficiency, and resilience of the UAE grid for at least the next 60 years. The four units at Barakah alone will contribute 25% of the UAE’s National Determined Contributions to Net Zero and is the country’s largest source of dispatchable clean electricity.

In November 2021, ENEC said construction of Unit 3 was complete.

“The plant demonstrates how nuclear energy projects can be delivered safely, successfully, and competitively to tackle growing carbon emissions. Through clean electricity generated at Barakah, nuclear is helping to decarbonise some of the most energy intense sectors,” the statement concluded.

In June 2021, ENEC said it had achieved the 100mn safe man-hours safety milestone at Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.

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