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Construction work has begun on the UAE's second nuclear reactor, which will be expected to begin commercial operations in 2018
A South Korean consortium, led by Korea Electric Power, was originally awarded a contract to build four nuclear reactors in Abu Dhabi to meet the UAE's rapidly rising demand for electricity.
The construction of the first reactor, Barakah-1, began in mid-2012. The reactor will become the first serving a Gulf Arab OPEC oil producer when it starts operations in 2017.
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) chief executive Mohamed Al Hammadi said, “With the construction of our second [nuclear unit] now underway, we have reached another important milestone in our mission to bring safe, clean and reliable nuclear energy to the UAE.”
ENEC had applied for construction licences for Units 3 and 4 in March 2013.
Soaring energy use and inadequate gas supplies have spurred the UAE and Saudi Arabia to look to nuclear power to diversify their energy supplies. The Gulf OPEC market has served as an important lifeline for nuclear power plant builders around the world whose businesses have been hit hard by Japan’s Fukushima nuclear crisis in March 2011.