UAE adds new cohort of nuclear energy professionals at Barakah Plant

ABU DHABI, 8th December, 2022 (WAM) -- An additional 87 Senior Reactor Operators (SROs) and Reactor Operators (ROs), 30 of whom are UAE Nationals including five females, have been certified to operate the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant as part of the operations crews of Nawah Energy Company (Nawah), the operations and maintenance subsidiary of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) mandated to operate and maintain the plant. Each individual received their certifications from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, after passing rigorous examinations.

To become a qualified SRO and RO operator, each candidate needs to complete a comprehensive training programme in the most advanced nuclear energy plants around the world alongside their academic learning in the UAE and abroad.

The programme is set for the candidates to acquire the knowledge and skills that allow them to operate a nuclear energy reactor. To obtain the formal qualification and license, they sit rigorous examinations evaluated by FANR’s experts.

The total number of operators qualified to operate the Barakah Plant has now reached 159 certified SROs and ROs, 60 of whom are UAE Nationals including eight Emirati females. This progress reflects the continued success of ENEC and Nawah’s human capacity development programme in developing highly qualified UAE Nationals to support the growth of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme.

With Units 1 and 2 commercially operating and Unit 3 connected to the UAE’s grid, the new group of operators will join the wider group of SROs and ROs working at Barakah. Further groups of operators will be qualified in the future to ensure a sustainable pipeline of talent throughout the next 60 years of operations and beyond.

Khalid Almarzooqi, a newly certified SRO, said; “We have been inspired by previous energy pioneers who paved the way for us, and today Emiratis are at the forefront of one of the most important clean energy technologies globally for rapidly cutting carbon emissions... I am proud to work within a multinational team and learn from experts from around the globe at the Barakah plant.”

Mariam Alameri, one of the newly certified SROs, stated,” I am proud to join our female operating team, alongside the many females working across every aspect of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy programme. Comprising 20 percent of our total workforce, ENEC and its subsidiaries have one of the highest percentages of females globally in the nuclear sector, highlighting the empowerment of women in our sector here in the UAE to deliver the clean energy transition to deliver Net Zero by 2050.”

Ahmed Jasem Alzaabi, another newly certified SRO, commented, “I look forward to working with a team that has developed a historic mega-project that is today powering homes, industries and businesses with clean electricity and will continue to do so for at least the next 60 years ahead. We have benefitted from years of advanced training to meet the UAE regulatory requirements and in line with the highest international standards of the global nuclear energy industry. This has equipped us with the experience, skills and knowledge needed to safely operate the Plant and lead our Nation's clean energy transition.”

Majed Al Mansoori a newly certified SRO, added, “I look forward to using all of my training and experience to work at the Barakah Plant. I know that through our work, we are driving the decarbonisation of the energy sector and supporting our nation in achieving Net Zero.”

The Barakah Plant is a powerhouse for the UAE’s sustainable development, energy security and stability, generating high-value jobs and stimulating the growth of local industries in addition to the significant environmental benefits for the nation over the next 60 years and beyond.

The Plant is accelerating the decarbonisation of the power sector to support the development of the Nation’s net zero economy, in addition to spearheading an increase in the intellectual wealth of the UAE with thousands of high-value career opportunities for UAE Nationals, along with facilitating clean energy growth and innovation through R&D in clean energy. The Barakah Plant is a catalyst for innovation in the clean energy transition, including SMR development and next generation reactors, and a bridge to other clean fuels.

The Plant is one of the largest nuclear energy plants in the world, with four APR-1400 Units. Construction of the Plant began in 2012 and has progressed steadily ever since. The construction of Unit 4 is in the final stages.