The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, the Gulf state's nuclear power developer, has revealed that it will break ground on a third plant later this year.
Dr Kenneth Petrunik, chief programme officer of ENEC, announced the progress being made in the UAE's nuclear energy sector during a panel discussion at the World Future Energy Summit 2014.
“ENEC has spent the last four years working to develop a safe, reliable and efficient nuclear energy programme for the UAE,” he said.
“Today, we have our first two plants already under construction. We are also on track to break ground on our third plant later this year.”
By 2020, the UAE will have four plants in commercial operations, producing 5600MW of clean electricity which will meet up to a quarter of the country’s energy needs.
Petrunik said no other energy source can provide the same volumes of clean electricity that nuclear energy can.
“There are many more benefits to a world-class nuclear energy programme that the UAE will also gain. These include the economic growth and development of a new, high-tech industry, job creation for thousands of employees and enhanced training and development programs through partnerships with world-leading academic institutions.”
Latest research figures indicate that more than 80 percent of the UAE population believes nuclear energy is important for the nation.
As part of its community awareness initiative, ENEC has been hosting a series of ongoing public forums all over the country to inform UAE residents about the nation’s nuclear energy programme, the progress of the plants under construction and how nuclear energy fits into the country’s energy portfolio.
The UAE's first nuclear plant is expected to commence operations in 2017, pending further regulatory approvals. The second unit will come online in 2018.
With four plants online by 2020, nuclear energy will save the UAE up to 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
Korea Electric Power Corp won a contract in 2009 to complete four nuclear reactors in the UAE.