Last week, Barakah-3 received an operating licence from the UAE nuclear regulatory authority which also meant fuel loading was given the go-ahead.
Barakah, in the Al Dhafra region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, is one of the largest nuclear energy new-build projects in the world, with four APR-1400 units supplied by South Korea. Construction began in 2012 and the project as a whole is now more than 96% complete.
Construction of Barakah-3 was completed in November 2021, taking about seven years since first concrete was laid in September 2014.
Fuel loading is the last operation before a nuclear reactor unit can achieve first criticality, or a stable chain reaction. Past experience has shown loading all 241 fuel assemblies in the reactor core could take about two weeks to complete.
Fuel for Barakah has been manufactured under a 2015 contract by Korea Electric Power Corporation Nuclear Fuels (Kepco KNF), which receives enriched uranium from Urenco. Six companies make up in the fuel supply chain for Barakah, including also ConverDyn, UraniumOne, Orano, and RioTinto.
Enec has said that when fully operational, the Barakah nuclear station will produce carbon-free electricity for more than 60 years, meeting as much as 25% of the UAE’s power needs.