Emirati women powering the nation’s sustainable development and leading the way to Net Zero by 2050

Emirati female experts are at the forefront of the UAE’s nuclear energy sector, accelerating decarbonization, driving innovation and inspiring young women across the Nation

Abu Dhabi, UAE – 27 August 2022: Emirati women at the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and its operations and maintenance subsidiary Nawah Energy Company (Nawah), have expressed their pride at being at the forefront of the UAE’s nuclear energy sector and its significant contribution to the Nation’s Net Zero by 2050 target. Personifying the nation’s progress, talented Emirati women have played a key role in the continued clean energy transition of the UAE, through their work at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, a nation-defining, major strategic project, and the delivery of the wider UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program.

Emirati Women’s Day, launched in 2015 by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi, the Mother of the Nation, falls on August 28 every year. This year’s theme is “Inspiring Reality.. Sustainable Future”, celebrating women’s inspirational role in society and contributions to enhancing sustainability across many sectors.

ENEC and Nawah have empowered women within the UAE program since the start. The Barakah Plant today has around 4,000 employees, with 20 percent women. Today, both Units 1 and 2 are commercially operating, generating abundant clean electricity around the clock and accelerating the decarbonization of the UAE’s power sector. As the largest source of clean electricity in the region, Barakah is realizing the vision of the UAE’s Leadership for a clean and sustainable energy future. Units 3 and 4 will join Units 1 and 2 in becoming operational and in total will generate up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs by 2025.  

The Plant is also driving innovation and R&D in areas like clean hydrogen and advanced reactors, with the aim of supporting continued decarbonization to tackle climate change.

“It fills me with pride every day knowing that I am working on a megaproject that is significantly reducing carbon emissions and powering our Nation,” said Badreya Al Marzouqi, who is currently Senior Radioactive Waste Management Engineer for ENEC. “The role of women in the UAE today is a result of long-term investment and commitment by our wise leadership to ensure that females have a leading role in the economy and in society. It is fitting that this year’s theme is about inspiration and sustainability – both of which have been hallmarks of the UAE program since its inception in 2009. As a result of the Barakah Plant, young women across the UAE are seeing the possibilities for highly challenging and rewarding careers in a sector that is bringing profound benefits today and in the future.”

Female nuclear engineers and operators at Barakah have been trained to the highest international standards. The UAE has one of the largest representation rates for women in the global nuclear energy industry, which has recognized the need for the creation of more opportunities for females to join the sector. Globally, international bodies such as the International Energy Agency, promotes the participation of women in the world’s clean energy transition and to close the gender gap in employment opportunities and earnings.

“Emirati women are playing a leading role working alongside their male colleagues to achieve Net Zero by 2050,” said Amal Al Nuaimi, Continuous Improvement Process Manager for ENEC’s operating and maintenance subsidiary Nawah. “I am deeply honored to be part of this historic development and a project of the scale of Barakah, which has been widely recognized as a benchmark for the global nuclear industry. I hope that young women interested in science, technology and engineering can see the successful careers that await them should they choose to apply themselves and commit to developing their skills and knowledge.”

Shamsa AlZaabi, the Safety Analysis Engineer for ENEC, highlighted the collaborative spirit of Emirati women working side by side with specialists from across the world. “With more than 50 nationalities at Barakah, we are proud to be writing a new chapter in our Nation’s history. Working in harmony with international colleagues, we have a great sense of responsibility in developing and implementing this pioneering project which will continue to sustainably power future generations in the UAE,” added AlZaabi.

The Plant has been commended globally for its excellence in project management, setting a standard for the world in how to rapidly transition to Net Zero, while bolstering the nation’s energy security during challenging global times. The Plant is the first in the Arab World to generate clean electricity through nuclear energy.

Shaikha Al Shamsi, Senior Reactor Engineer for Nawah, reflects on the strategic vision of the UAE’s wise leadership in empowering women with opportunities to develop a career at Barakah, which is an asset for the next 60 years both nationally and regionally. “The pace of success at Barakah showcases the UAE’s megaproject management capabilities and the skills, qualifications and competencies of Emirati women who have been central to its delivery. Barakah is a case study for other nations, not just in the delivery of the plant, but in creating programs and opportunities to ensure women can excel in careers that support the Nation’s drive for Net Zero.”

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