The UAE is the first country in the Middle East and North Africa region to actively utilise nuclear energy, following Iran and Israel.
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has signed Memorandums of Understanding with China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation Overseas to bolster the UAE’s nuclear energy industry.
The UAE made significant progress in its nuclear energy program by connecting the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant to the grid in 2020.
Once Unit 4 is completed, the plant is expected to supply 25% of the nation’s electricity, with Unit 3 already operational since February 2023.
The UAE government estimates that this will lead to an annual reduction of 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to removing 3.2 million cars from the roads.
Nuclear energy development is still in its infancy in the Middle East, with Iran, Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia all claiming nuclear ambitions.
Robert Mogielnicki, a senior resident scholar at The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, believes that China’s involvement will play a crucial role in the UAE’s efforts to diversify away from oil.
As a major importer of Middle Eastern crude, China’s relationship with the region will undergo a transformation.
Mogielnicki expects the UAE-China energy partnership to continue flourishing and benefit both parties economically.
He also notes that Gulf nations will seek alliances with other countries to achieve their nuclear objectives.
Source: Oil&Gas Middle East