28 May (NucNet): The loading of nuclear fuel assemblies for commercial operation at the first nuclear plant in the United Arab Emirates has been delayed to the end of 2019 and early 2020, a statement said.
The updated schedule was announced on 26 May 2018 and follows “a comprehensive operational readiness review” by Nawah Energy Company, the joint venture company formed by Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) and Korean Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) to operate the four-unit Barakah nuclear power station.
Nawah said the schedule review was carried out “in strict accordance with the principles of a healthy nuclear safety culture, which requires conservative decision-making to support nuclear safety”.
“Consequently, the resulting projection for the start-up of Unit 1 operations reflects the time required for the plant’s nuclear operators to complete operational readiness activities and to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, all of which are all designed to ensure safe, sustainable nuclear operations after start-up,” the company said.
In May 2017 Enec said commercial operation of Barakah-1 had been put back from 2017 to 2018.
At the time Enec said the delay was to ensure sufficient time for international assessments and adherence to nuclear industry safety standards, and “as a reinforcement of operational proficiency for plant personnel”.
Enec said that delay followed a series of assessments and lessons learned from Shin-Kori-3 in South Korea, the reference plant for Barakah.
Enec is the company behind the $19bn project to build four South Korean 1,345-MW APR-1400 reactors at Barakah, about 240km west of Abu Dhabi city.
In March 2018 Enec and Kepco held a ceremony at the site to mark the official completion of Barakah 1’s construction, but did not give a schedule for commercial operation.
Earlier this year Enec said Unit 1 was undergoing commissioning and testing before a regulatory review and receipt of the operating licence from FANR.
The government said in March that construction of Units 2, 3 and 4 was 92%, 81% and 66% complete respectively. The construction of the Barakah station as a whole was 86% complete.
Once the four reactors are online, the facility will provide around 25% of the country’s electricity requirements, the government said.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, construction of Barakah-1 began in July 2012.