The United Arab Emirates-controlled ENEC and Bill Gates’ advanced nuclear reactor company, TerraPower LLC, announced on Monday that they had reached an agreement to look into the possibility of developing advanced reactors in the UAE and other nations.
The memorandum of agreement comes at a time when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is making efforts to increase its nuclear energy capacity and when over twenty nations made a commitment at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai to increase the number of nuclear deployments by three times this decade to combat climate change.
According to Mohamed Al Hammadi, the Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, who was present at the signing event, “For the United Arab Emirates, we are looking for a future for the clean electrons and molecules that will be brought to reality by advanced reactors.”
“Bringing advanced nuclear technologies to market is critical to meeting global decarbonization targets,” said Chris Levesque, President and CEO of TerraPower. “This is important because.”
There is currently one classical nuclear power station in the United Arab Emirates, which is close to Abu Dhabi and will start producing energy in 2020. TerraPower, on the other hand, is now working on a demonstration project for their sophisticated Natrium reactor in the state of Wyoming, North Dakota, to bring it online in the year 2030.
Compared to conventional power plants, advanced reactors are designed to be more compact, less complicated to construct, and more dynamic. Some people believe they are an essential supplement to intermittent power sources such as wind and solar, which are expanding tremendously.
In the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between TerraPower and the United Arab Emirates, it was stated that the two countries will investigate potential applications for advanced nuclear reactors, including the storage of electricity on the grid, the provision of energy for the production of hydrogen, and the decarbonization of coal, steel, and aluminum factories.
On the other hand, one major obstacle is that the Natrium reactors owned by TerraPower require a fuel known as high-assay low-enriched uranium, or HALEU. At the moment, Russia is the primary source of this fuel.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, TerraPower’s Wyoming project has been delayed because of concerns over the availability of HALEU. However, the business has informed Reuters that it anticipates the United States to be able to generate the fuel within the next ten years.
To initiate HALEU manufacture within the United States, the United States government has entered into a contract with a business known as Centers to build a project suitable for this purpose.