ABU DHABI - The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with TerraPower, an American nuclear innovation company.
The MoU was signed during COP28 by Ahmed Al Mazroui, Nuclear Research and Development Vice President of ENEC, and Chris Levesque, President and Chief Executive Officer of TerraPower, in a ceremony attended by Mohamed Al Hammadi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, and Bill Gates, Chairman of TerraPower, and David Livingston, Senior Advisor & Managing Director for Energy for the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, along with other US Government officials.
ENEC and TerraPower will collaborate across various areas, including technical design and commercial viability of the TerraPower Natrium technology development in the UAE and the USA. This technology will be used for clean electricity generation and non-traditional applications such as green molecule generation, clean hydrogen production and ways to accelerate the decarbonisation of energy-intensive sectors by providing carbon-free electricity.
The Natrium technology features a cost-competitive sodium fast reactor combined with a molten salt energy storage system. This unique combination will provide clean, flexible energy and stability that can integrate into existing power grids.
ENEC and TerraPower will assess ways to optimise the use of the Natrium technology for grid stability through energy storage capabilities. The MoU will enable both parties to analyse opportunities to collaborate on engineering, workforce and supply chain development, supporting projects within the UAE with potential secondments of Emirati engineers to TerraPower's headquarters in the US.
Al Hammadi commented, "Our message at COP28 is that nuclear energy is vital to achieving Net Zero, in line with the announcement in the past days by world leaders who have called for a tripling of global nuclear energy capacity by 2050. In the UAE, nuclear is at the heart of our clean energy progress and strategy, with the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant contributing to the largest decarbonisation effort in our nation's history.
"Our new agreement with TerraPower will facilitate cooperation in taking nuclear energy technology to the next level by accelerating its deployment and its use for innovating new solutions, including the production of clean molecules and hydrogen."
Levesque, in turn, said, "Bringing advanced nuclear technologies to market is critical to meeting global decarbonisation targets. TerraPower and ENEC are leading the way in deploying nuclear plants, and this agreement allows us to share our expertise and design experience and explore the opportunity for deployment of Natrium reactors around the world, including additional locations in the United States. We look forward to evaluating new opportunities for Natrium and increasing our collaboration with ENEC."
Having successfully built and developed one of the world's largest nuclear plants in the world, ENEC is well placed to work together with TerraPower to identify opportunities for deployment. The partnership will give access to both sides on lessons learned on project management, construction, integration, operations and R&D.
The MoU also opens the door for ENEC to lead a broader regional deployment of TerraPower's Natrium technology across the Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinental regions. The aim will be to jointly accelerate the commercialisation and global deployment of Natrium technology under licensing agreements with TerraPower and within the framework of the existing US–UAE PACE programme.
The collaboration between ENEC and TerraPower aligns with the recently launched ENEC ADVANCE Programme, a new programme to harness the latest advancements in nuclear energy technologies. The programme is provisioned to strengthen the UAE's position as a leading nation in delivering climate action by accelerating the global clean energy transition to Net Zero.
ENEC is focused on increasing the achievements of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program by driving innovation and partnerships in clean molecules, Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and international implementation of nuclear technologies.