ENEC, General Atomics to collaborate on integration of advanced materials with nuclear technologies

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ABU DHABI, 22nd March, 2024 (WAM) — The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with General Atomics (GA), a leading US advanced technology solutions company to collaborate on using advanced technologies and materials for nuclear energy supply.

They will also cooperate on prospects that utilise ENEC’s experience in developing new nuclear builds and investments in GA’s’ advanced non-light water reactors, material production and 3D manufacturing capabilities. The MoU was signed on the sidelines of CERAWeek in Houston, USA.

As part of the MoU, ENEC and GA Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) will explore collaboration opportunities covering several projects, including opportunities to utilise GA-EMS’ SiGA® cladding for nuclear reactor applications and Fast Modular Nuclear Reactor designs. Silicon carbide cladding will improve the safety and affordability of existing light water reactors and minimise outage time.

This innovative material will be utilised for the US Department of Energy-funded Fast Modular Reactor (FMR) design and other advanced or Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) that use high temperatures to achieve high efficiency in electricity production.

ENEC, the UAE’s mandated nuclear energy developer, is looking at all growth opportunities available to expand and enhance the nation’s nuclear energy sector.

ENEC is currently assessing several development, investment and partnership proposals across large-scale reactors, SMRs and advanced reactors to generate clean electrons and molecules, such as steam, hydrogen and ammonia, and provide process heat for various industries.

Mohamed Al Hammadi, Managing Director and CEO of ENEC, said, “Having successfully developed the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, the largest single source of clean electricity in the UAE, we are now focused on building international partnerships to drive innovation and R&D in new clean energy solutions. The Barakah Plant is a catalyst for a new era of technological advancement and cooperation on a global level to collectively take us closer to our Net Zero targets. We look forward to working with General Atomics to identify areas of potential collaboration to drive progress within the international nuclear energy industry.”

Scott Forney, President of General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, said, “GA-EMS brings decades of expertise in developing advanced fuels, silicon carbide cladding to enhance fuel rod safety and durability, and Fast Modular Nuclear Reactor designs offering greater efficiency, safety, and economics. We are very excited to be working with ENEC to explore opportunities and leverage these transformational technologies to provide a more safe and secure energy future.”

ENEC has efficiently delivered the four units of the Barakah Plant, making it the first multi-unit operational nuclear plant in the Arab world. The operational teams have brought a unit into commercial operation every year since 2021, demonstrating steady progress and extensive megaproject management expertise.

The Barakah Plant uses four APR-1400 pressurised water reactors capable of each producing up to 1,400 megawatts of clean electricity.