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Romania and UAE to cooperate on nuclear energy
Four-unit Barakah plant expected to meet up to 25% of UAE's electricity demand
Michael Marray 29 Mar 2023

Romania's Nuclearelectrica and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the potential development and expansion of nuclear energy programmes in the United Arab Emirates and Romania, as well as within central and eastern Europe.

Under the MOU, the two companies will explore potential partnerships in the operation and maintenance of nuclear energy plants, capacity building, human capital development, and synergies in research and development.

They will also share experiences in developing financing and commercial frameworks of nuclear programmes, as well as exchanging knowledge on project management capabilities.

"Our partnership with Nuclearelectrica reaffirms our commitment to advancing net-zero nuclear globally," says Mohamed Al Hammadi, managing director and chief executive officer of ENEC. "As more and more nations recognize the crucial role nuclear energy plays as a proven solution to boosting domestic energy security and in parallel decarbonizing the power sector as well as heavy industry, through the generation of heat, steam and clean hydrogen, international partnerships will become even more critical to accelerating the development of nuclear programmes."

Nuclearelectrica CEO Cosmin Ghita adds: "Experienced operators face the same challenges and see the same opportunities and we welcome this MOU with ENEC as we are sure that the exchange of experience in key areas, together with the identification of measures and new frameworks for cooperation and development, will have a direct beneficial impact on both companies."

Work to construct four Korean-designed APR-1400 units at Barakah in the UAE began in 2012. The first unit started up and was connected to the grid in August 2020 and began commercial operation in April 2021. Unit 2 was grid-connected in September 2021 and began commercial operation in March 2022. Unit 3 started operation in February this year.

The fourth unit is in the final stages of commissioning prior to construction completion. The three operating units at the plant already provided more than 80% of Abu Dhabi's clean electricity consumption in December 2022, ENEC says. When completed, the four-unit plant is expected to meet up to 25% of UAE's electricity demand.

Nuclearelectrica, which is 82% state-owned, operates two Candu (Canadian deuterium uranium) units at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant. There are plans for a big expansion of nuclear energy in Romania, including life extension for the existing units, the completion of Cernavoda 3 and 4, plus proposals for small modular reactors.

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