Barakah-1 starts commercial operations, beginning many decades of 24/7 clean electricity production

Issued: 6 April 2021

The Unit 1 reactor at the Barakah plant in the United Arab Emirates has successfully transitioned to full commercial operations, following a series of checks carried out since the reactor was first connected to the grid in August 2020.

Dr Sama Bilbao y León, Director General of World Nuclear Association praised this milestone achievement:

“My congratulations to all those involved in bringing Barakah-1 to this important milestone. When, in a few short years, the remaining three reactors join unit 1, the Barakah plant will supply 25% of the electricity in the United Arab Emirates, a major contribution to the UAE’s plans to transition to a low-carbon energy system.”

Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is located in the Al Dhafra region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Unit 1 will supply 1400 MW of electricity from a single generator to the UAE grid. It is the largest single source of electricity in the UAE.

Barakah-1 first started supplying electricity to the grid in August last year. Over the last seven months operators have been performing start-up checks. With those verifications complete, full commercial operation can begin.

Dr Bilbao y León remarked:

“With Barakah-1’s move to commercial operations, nuclear energy can fulfil its purpose of supplying 24/7 clean and cost-effective electricity, and providing rewarding employment opportunities, to people of UAE for many decades to come.

"The UAE’s commitment to a clean energy future that ensures, at the same time, the sustainable socio-economic development of everyone in the country is one that needs to be replicated by many more countries around the world. Nuclear power will need to be at the heart of this energy transformation if we are to stand a chance of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

The remaining three units are expected to be brought online over the next few years. Fuel loading has just been completed at unit 2, with start-up due later this year.


World Nuclear Association is the international organisation that represents the global nuclear industry. Its mission is to promote a wider understanding of nuclear energy among key international influencers by producing authoritative information, developing common industry positions, and contributing to the energy debate, as well as to pave the way for expanding nuclear business.

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