Construction work has officially started on the UAE's first nuclear power plant, with work expected to start on the second reactor next year.

ENEC said it will apply for an operating licence for Unit 1 in 2015 and will pour concrete for Unit 2 in 2013.

ENEC is building a total of four reactors at the Barakah site, the first which will be operational in 2017, with one additional reactor becoming operational each year up to 2020.

With four plants online by 2020, nuclear energy is predicted to save the UAE up to 12 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, as well as reduce the volume of oil that it consumes domestically, increasing the amount available for export.