Nuclear energy is a clean, safe, reliable and competitive energy source. One of the key advantages of nuclear energy is that it can produce electricity with almost no carbon emissions. This makes the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) a key component in the UAE’s aspirations to boost clean energy and reduce its carbon footprint. Once fully operational, BNPP will generate a quarter of the UAE’s electricity requirements, whilst reducing its carbon emissions by 12 million tons annually.
The amount of uranium required to produce energy at a nuclear power plant is significantly lower than the amount of coal or oil required to produce the same amount of energy from a fossil plant. One uranium pellet, the size of a fingertip, produces the same amount of energy as 480 liters of oil or 1 ton of coal. Subsequently, nuclear energy produces significantly smaller amounts of waste than fossil fuel.
According to the UAE Federal Environment Law, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required for energy projects prior to their construction and operation. Through consultation with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), the environmental baseline studies were initiated in January 2009 to assess environmental suitability for the project’s construction and operations.
EAD’s existing process and guidance for conducting an EIA were enhanced with environmental analysis guidance from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). This has produced an environmental analysis that is internationally comprehensive but also tailored to the UAE’s setting.
EAD had issued the required No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the construction of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant Units.
For a summary of environmental studies, follow this link.
The Environmental Radiochemistry Lab was one of the first divisions to begin operations at the Nawah Energy Company. The main goal of this lab is to study and monitor background radiation in Barakah Nuclear Power Plant to ensure the public’s health and safety.
The lab also sends biannual reports to the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) containing the results of radiological tests performed on several samples including soil, mud, fish, crustaceans, air, drinking and seawater. All results indicate natural radiation levels are normal. The lab is operated by expert foreign and UAE national technicians.
A baseline socioeconomic study was conducted to assess community infrastructure requirements including police, fire, medical services, schools, water and sewerage. There are no large towns located near the site, however, there are temporary residences located next to the shoreline around 20 km away.
Activities that occur in the area between 20 and 80 km from the site are agriculture, small-scale fishing operations and industrial activities.