UAE nuclear reactor works complete, launch delayed

Construction finishes at unit one at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, launch put back to ensure ‘adherence to nuclear industry safety standards’

File photo

The UAE has completed construction works on the first reactor at its Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, although the operation has been pushed back until 2018.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced that it has, together with Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), completed “initial construction activities” for unit one at the plant.

It has turned over the plant systems to Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), a subsidiary of KEPCO, for testing and commissioning, in preparation for safety-led nuclear operations.

ENEC signed the Prime Contract with KEPCO in 2009 for the construction of the Barakah Plant.

“The completion of Unit 1 construction activities and the handover of all systems for commissioning are important milestones in a project that is critical to the future energy mix of the UAE, and they reflect the professionalism and dedication of everyone involved in the project,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of ENEC.

However, as per UAE regulatory law, the construction, start-up and operations of nuclear energy plants are subject to regulations issued by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), and the loading of fuel and actual operation of Unit 1 will require the approval of FANR and the issuance of an operating license.

ENEC also announced the approval by its Board of Directors of a timeline update for the start-up of nuclear operations at Unit 1, extending the date from 2017 to 2018. This is “to ensure sufficient time for international assessments and adherence to nuclear industry safety standards, as well as a reinforcement of operational proficiency for plant personnel,” it said in a statement.

“Since 2009, ENEC has pursued the highest standards of nuclear quality, safety and operational transparency,” said Al Hammadi.

“The approval of a timeline update projecting the initiation of Unit 1 nuclear operations in 2018 reflects the conservatism of ENEC’s management and Board of Directors, as well as our local, federal and international stakeholders, all of whom stand firmly united in the belief that long-term sustainable operations begin with strict adherence to nuclear safety. We believe that our continuous focus on quality and safety will position the UAE as a trusted contributor to the community of nuclear operators around the world,” continued Al Hammadi.

The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is the largest single nuclear energy new build project in the world, with four APR-1400 units under simultaneous construction.

Construction of Unit 1 commenced in 2012 and at full operational capacity, the four units will deliver up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs from carbon-free nuclear energy. The project as a whole is now 79 percent complete, with Unit 1 being 95 percent complete.


Most Popular

To Top