Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has announced that Unit 4, the fourth and final unit at Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in Abu Dhabi, UAE, has begun operational readiness preparations. The operations team at Barakah have now commenced the operational readiness testing required to demonstrate the unit is ready to receive an operating licence from the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

The lessons learnt from the previous three units have been effectively applied to Unit 4, ensuring the swift and safe transition to operational readiness, with each unit passing through the phases of preparation in a more efficient manner while maintaining the same standards of quality and safety.

The news comes following commercial operations of Unit 3 earlier in 2023, which joined Units 1 and 2 in generating 30TWh annually. Once commercially operational, Unit 4 will raise the Barakah’s total clean electricity generation capacity to 5.6GW, equivalent to 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity needs, delivering more than 40TWh of clean electricity per year

The Barakah Plant has already had a transformational impact on the UAE’s energy landscape, spearheading the rapid decarbonisation of the UAE’s power sector and over the winter months, the plant delivered up to 48 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s electricity requirements with zero-carbon electricity.

His Excellency Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, said: “In the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, we are demonstrating how nuclear energy can have a real, rapid and transformative impact on decarbonising the power sector. Every year since 2020, we have added another unit to deliver 10TWh of 24/7, emissions free power to the grid. With Unit 4 now moving towards becoming operational we will soon meet our mission to generate 25 per cent of the nation’s electricity. Barakah offers a clear success story as we head towards COP28 in Dubai, where attendees will be looking for solutions to the climate crisis and are increasingly recognising the critical role proven nuclear energy technology will play.

“The success of the three commercially operational reactors reflects the dedication and skill of all our teams involved in the programme. As we embark on the last leg of this first phase of our programme to deliver the last of our four commercially operational nuclear reactors, we continue to inspire a new generation of climate change champions, while accelerating the UAE’s decarbonisation towards the goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050.”

ENEC’s leadership has showcased a new model to the world for nuclear developments, with Barakah widely recognised as one of the most advanced, nuclear plants in the world. It is the first-of-its-kind nuclear new-build project in 27 years and has set an international benchmark for project management and cost-effectiveness.

The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program is a vital part of the UAE’s clean energy ecosystem of low-carbon technologies, ensuring the sustainability, reliability, and resiliency of the UAE grid for at least the next 60 years. Barakah is just the beginning, with ENEC focused on exploring and incubating strategic investments in nuclear energy locally and internationally that support the UAE’s growth and development goals. Gas demand in Abu Dhabi is now at an 11-year low because of the significant transformation in how the emirate is generating its electricity.

ENEC is now leading efforts in research across areas such as development of small modular reactors (SMRs), clean hydrogen and other clean technologies. Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant’s baseload, constant clean electricity provides the always on foundation for the emirate’s solar plants, while removing millions of tonnes of carbon emissions annually.