The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council and Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) co-hosted a business forum and private luncheon on 24 October 2022 in Washington, D.C. with a visiting leadership delegation from the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) headed by ENEC Managing Director and CEO H.E. Mohamed Al Hammadi. These sessions provided important updates on the progress and environmental impact of the Barakah nuclear energy plant, while looking beyond Barakah to the potential of clean hydrogen, advanced reactors, overseas project investment, and synthetic fuels.
Danny Sebright, President of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council lauded the U.A.E.’s civilian nuclear program, which the Business Council has supported since its inception. He also noted the importance of the U.A.E.’s nuclear energy program as a clean energy source moving forward as the country focuses on COP28, which the U.A.E. will host in November 2023.
In turn, Maria Korsnick, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), described the U.A.E.’s civilian nuclear program as an example to countries around the globe. She spoke of the need for nuclear energy to be a part of the worldwide push to neutralize carbon emissions, while providing abundant energy at affordable prices.
H.E. Al Hammadi spoke of the benefits of the U.A.E.’s nuclear energy program to date, while proclaiming “much more is to come.” He described the Barakah nuclear energy plant as just 20% of what the U.A.E. envisions for its nuclear program. Moreover, he spoke of the 80% of what is next for this program, referencing possible new investments, SMRs, and hydrogen production.
Mohammed Al Braiki, Strategy & Planning Director at ENEC, provided an overview of ENEC’s overall progress on the Barakah plant, noting that Units 1 and 2 are commercially operational, while Unit 3 is connected to the grid and Unit 4 is 92% complete. Once complete, Barakah will generate 5,600 MW of clean electricity, or 25% of the U.A.E.’s total demand, preventing 22.4 million tons of CO2 emissions annually. With the Barakah Plant now largely operational, Mr. Al Braiki discussed where ENEC is headed in the future, noting the plant serves as a bridge to other clean energy technologies like hydrogen. Furthermore, ENEC’s nuclear R&D program is exploring opportunities in Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and advanced nuclear reactor designs for industrial applications. Moreover, the U.A.E.’s expertise also creates opportunities to export its know-how on the delivery of nuclear projects within a short time frame and at competitive cost, and to potentially make third-country investments.
Finally, Mr. Al Braiki discussed the contributions of U.S. businesses to the success of the U.A.E.’s nuclear program to date, and the ways U.S. businesses can be a part of this effort in future. Mr. Al Braiki noted that they have benefited from the expertise of 200 U.S. companies throughout the development of the Barakah plant, with those companies benefitting financially from around $3 billion of contracts to date. He remarked that all attendees from the 2020 and 2021 business forums organized by NEI and the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council are now registered suppliers to the U.A.E. Program and he expects the same from today’s session. He then laid out numerous areas of focus for partnerships moving forward, including technical and consultancy services.
Following this business forum, His Excellency Mohamed Al Hammadi, Managing Director and CEO of ENEC, engaged in a private roundtable luncheon discussion with select executives about the growing global market for clean hydrogen. Numerous nuclear organizations are evaluating opportunities for hydrogen pilot projects to feed into hydrogen hubs.
For more information on the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council’s work in the nuclear energy space or our upcoming events related to sustainability, please contact Graham Reitman at email@example.com.