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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Meet the UAE’s newly certified Barakah nuclear power plant operator


Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has announced that the country now has 69 Emirati nuclear operators hired as Senior Reactor Operators (SROs) and Reactor Operators (ROs) as an additional 39 Emirati citizens have been certified ).

The UAE is one of 193 nuclear operators in the country, nine of whom are women. They worked with a number of international experts and were qualified to operate the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi as part of the operating staff of Nawah Energy Company. Nawah, ENEC’s operation and maintenance subsidiary, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the program.

“When the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation was established in 2009, the UAE did not have a single nuclear engineer. ENEC was not concerned as it followed the UAE’s leading approach to developing national talent and the national wisdom needed to ensure the sustainable success of its civilian nuclear energy programme,” ENEC said .

“Today, the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program has hundreds of Emiratis with degrees in nuclear engineering. It adds 39 certified UAE nuclear operators to the 30 UAE operators certified since 2020.”

Who is eligible?

Each UAE RO and SRO is accredited by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, after passing rigorous inspections.

“To become a qualified SRO and RO, each candidate is required to complete a comprehensive training program at state-of-the-art nuclear power plants around the world, as well as their academic studies in the UAE and abroad. The program enables operators to acquire knowledge and skills, enabling them to manage nuclear power reactors through academic work, practical experience and development programmes,” ENEC said.

Operators also spend thousands of hours in Barakah’s state-of-the-art simulators to ensure they are competent in any situation. To obtain formal qualifications and licensure, they take rigorous exams assessed by FANR experts. “

With Units 1, 2 and 3 of the Barakah Power Plant brought into commercial operation and Unit 4 entering the final stages of commissioning, additional operators are now being trained to ensure a sustainable talent pipeline for the next 60 years of operation, as well as long-term – Long-term success of the UAE program.

“Inspired by the Pioneers”

“We were inspired by the UAE’s previous energy pioneers who paved the way for us, and today the UAE is at the forefront of one of the world’s most important clean energy technologies that can rapidly reduce carbon emissions. I am proud to be part of a multinational work in teams and learn from global experts at the Barakah facility,” said newly certified SRO Khalid Almarzooqi.

Mariam Alameri, one of the newly certified female UAE SROs, said: “I am proud to join our other female operators and the many women who work in various aspects of the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy programme. ENEC and its subsidiaries account for our workforce 20% of the total, one of the highest percentages of women in the nuclear energy industry globally, which highlights the empowerment of women in our industry in the UAE to enable the clean energy transition towards net zero emissions by 2050.”

Ahmed Jasem Al Zaabi was also recently certified as an SRO.

“I am looking forward to working with a team that has developed a historic large-scale project that provides clean electricity to homes, industry and businesses today and will continue to do so for at least the next 60 years. We have benefited from years of advanced training to meet the needs of the UAE Regulatory requirements and compliance with the highest international standards in the global nuclear energy industry. This equips us with the experience, skills and knowledge needed to safely operate the plant and lead our country’s clean energy transition,” said Al Zaabi.

“I am looking forward to using all of my training and experience to work at the Barakah facility. I know that through our work we are driving the decarbonization of the energy sector and supporting our country towards net zero,” said Majed Al Mansoori said.

The Barakah plant is accelerating the decarbonization of the UAE’s power sector to support the development of the country’s net-zero economy, in addition to spearheading the growth of the UAE’s intellectual wealth by providing access to thousands of high-value career opportunities for Emiratis. It also promotes growth and innovation in clean energy through clean energy research and development.

transition to sustainability

“The Barakah plant is a powerhouse for sustainable development, energy security and stability in the UAE, creating high-value jobs, stimulating local industry and bringing great environmental benefits to the country for the next 60 years and beyond Benefits. It is this enhancement of national capacity and national wisdom that is so important to the UAE, with plans to cross-pollinate skills and expertise in related sectors such as agriculture, medicine and deep space exploration. This will provide nuclear energy with the necessary significant value provided,” ENEC said.

The plant demonstrates the success of the UAE’s long-term investment in diversifying its energy portfolio while moving towards a net-zero future through nuclear energy. Demand for natural gas electricity in Abu Dhabi is currently at its lowest level in 11 years due to a major shift in the way Abu Dhabi generates electricity.

“ENEC is now leading research in areas such as Small Modular Reactor (SMR) development, clean hydrogen and other clean technologies. Barakah provides electricity around the clock to sustainably power the nation’s development. Once fully operational, Barakah’s The four units will provide up to 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity needs,” the agency added.


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