The UAE has commenced construction of its second nuclear reactor, part of an aim to have all four of three country’s reactors in operation by 2020, it was announced on Tuesday.
The announcement came as part of an official ceremony by Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) where it hosted Sang-jick Yoon, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea at Barakah in the western region of Abu Dhabi.
The oil-rich UAE received a construction licence from the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and a No Objection Certificate from the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi for the construction of the first two plants in July 2012 and March this year received the green light to start construction of a third and fourth reactor.
The first plant is expected to commence operations in 2017, pending further regulatory approvals. The second unit will come online in 2018, with all four expected to be in operation by 2020, the WAM news agency reported.
ENEC officially commenced the construction of the UAE's first nuclear energy plant last year by pouring the first nuclear safety concrete for Barakah Unit 1. It will apply for an operating licence for Units 1 and 2 in 2015.
"We are drawing on the skills and expertise of a world-class nuclear corporation through our prime contractor Kepco," said Mohammad Ibrahim Al Hammadi, CEO of ENEC.
"We are committed to delivering a world-class programme from construction through to operations, and I would like to congratulate our entire team and Kepco for their dedication to carrying out their work with safety and quality top of mind at all times," he added.
With four plants online by 2020, nuclear energy will save the UAE up to 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, WAM added.
The official event was attended by the UAE Minister of State and CEO of Masdar, Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Mohammad Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of the ENEC and senior representatives from the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) and ENEC's prime contractor.