Construction work on the UAE’s first two nuclear reactors, at Barakah power plant, is currently eight weeks ahead of schedule, reports Arabian Business.

Construction work by the project’s main contractor, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) started on the site in July with first pouring of concrete for the main shielding of unit 1.

Engineering contractor ENEC said it will apply for an operating licence for unit 1 in 2015 and will pour concrete for unit 2 during 2013. ENEC is building a total of four reactors at the Barakah site, the first of which will should be operational in 2017, with one additional reactor becoming operational each year up to 2020.

Barakah, located in the western region of Abu Dhabi, was selected as the preferred site for the plant following a comprehensive analysis of multiple locations across the UAE. One of the most important factors in the selection of Barakah was the fact that it is in an area with a very low probability of earthquakes. Studies have shown that the site area has been tectonically inactive for nearly 100 million years.

With four plants online by 2020, nuclear energy is predicted to save the UAE up to 12 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.