Skip to main content

UAE expands nuclear power plant, doubles electricity production

The UAE is still reliant on oil and gas, though nuclear energy is rising in the country and across the region.
The Barakah nuclear plant, seen here in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced today the expansion of its nuclear power plant. 

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation said that Unit 2 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is now operational, providing 1,400 megawatts to the UAE’s national grid. This brings the total electricity produced by the nuclear power facility to 2,800 megawatts, the official Emirates News Agency reported

Why it matters: In 2020, the UAE became the first country in the Arab world to operate a nuclear power plant. The move is part of the UAE’s efforts to diversify its economy and rely less on foreign oil sales for government revenue. 

In December, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency visited the UAE to discuss cooperation with energy officials. He praised the peaceful purposes of the UAE’s nuclear energy program at the time. 

Though nuclear energy is on the rise, the majority of the energy produced in the UAE is still oil and gas. 

The UAE is exploring other renewable energy alternatives as well. Earlier this month, a group of Emirati and Israeli companies signed an agreement to explore the production of clean hydrogen, Al-Monitor reported

Several other countries in the region have nuclear capabilities or are pursuing them. Construction on the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey began in 2018. Egypt is currently planning to build the El-Dabaa nuclear power plant. Saudi Arabia is considering developing nuclear energy, though nothing has come to fruition. Last year, Jordan declared its first uranium plant operational. Israel is widely believed to possess a large stockpile of nuclear weapons, though the Israeli government has never confirmed this. Iran has nuclear energy capabilities, and international negotiations on its nuclear program are ongoing. 

What's next: The UAE predicts that the Barakah plant will produce 85% of the Gulf state's clean electricity by 2025, according to the Emirates News Agency. The UAE has a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in