Nuclear energy is essential for achieving net-zero by 2050: ENEC

Mohamed Al Hammadi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) joined Dr Chris Keefer, host of the Decouple podcast, to discuss the UAE’s journey in the nuclear energy sector and highlight the importance of nuclear energy to reach net-zero by 2050.


Al Hammadi gave his key learnings on how to deliver a nuclear programme after the UAE became not only the first country to deliver a new nuclear programme in 27 years but delivered the programme on budget and within one of the most efficient timescales in industry history, as stated by the Emirates News Agency.


He explained how the UAE began studies into the future of the energy sector back in 2006 to identify clean sources that support the nation’s growth and development.


The UAE government chose to ‘follow the science’ – investing in both intermittent renewable energy projects and baseload nuclear energy, paving the way for the start of planning for the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, the first of its kind in the Arab World.


Al Hammadi analysed why nuclear energy was seen as the right choice for the UAE. “Nuclear has high levels of energy density, it is clean, safe, reliable and produces abundant clean electricity 24/7. This is incredibly important for guaranteeing energy security. When I was young in my career as an engineer, I learnt the importance of baseload (constant) electricity for the grid, as it provides stability that is critical for powering homes and cities. Nuclear offers all of that, whilst being commercially and economically viable. Today our investments in nuclear are paying dividends as we have three commercially operating Units at Barakah, with a fourth soon to be complete,” said Al Hammadi.


Al Hammadi added, “Net-zero by 2050 without nuclear energy is impossible. More and more countries are realising this, and COP28 in the UAE in November will be a great opportunity to showcase the success of nuclear, based on science, facts and data. Clean electricity from Barakah is enabling us to now innovate in areas like clean hydrogen. I see the opportunity to provide higher temperature steam to the chemical industry. Moving forward, we will continue to help other countries through our knowledge and talent to drive decarbonisation of the energy sector and collectively meet the climate change and energy security challenge.”


Dr Keefer complemented Al Hammadi on the success of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy programme in delivering one of the world’s leading new nuclear energy projects, on budget and on time, particularly in the context of the global financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.


While Barakah already powers more than 80 percent of Abu Dhabi’s clean electricity, ENEC is now focusing on innovation and R&D in new technology development to accelerate the clean energy transition.


The research includes a focus on SMRs and next generation reactors, and generating clean molecules – steam, hydrogen and ammonia, along with heat, that are needed to generate the energy required to decarbonise hard to abate sectors such as shipping, aviation and others.




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