New Build

Barakah / UAE Regulator Conducting ‘Rigorous And Stringent’ Reviews

By David Dalton
20 January 2020

Overall construction of the four units is more than 93% complete
UAE Regulator Conducting ‘Rigorous And Stringent’ Reviews
The Barakah nuclear power station in the UAE. Photo courtesy Enec.
The United Arab Emirates’ nuclear regulator, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, is carrying out “rigorous and stringent reviews” of the operating licence application for the Barakah-1 nuclear power plant and only after the successful conclusion of a national regulatory review and receipt of international endorsement will it approve commercial operation, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) said.

According to Enec, nuclear experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Association of Nuclear Operators have also carried out a series of assessments of the robustness of the operating infrastructure at Barakah.

Enec is building four identical South Korea-supplied APR1400 plants at Barakah, west of the capital Abu Dhabi on the Persian Gulf coast.

The overall construction of the four units is more than 93% complete. Unit 4 is more than 83%, Unit 3 is more than 91% and Unit 2 is more than 95%.

The four units will be able to generate up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity, Enec said.

Earlier this month press reports said loading of the first nuclear fuel assemblies into Unit 1 was expected to take place in the first quarter of 2020, once the operating licence has been received.

Barakah-1, the United Arab Emirates’ first commercial nuclear power plant, was originally scheduled for commercial operation in 2017 following the start of construction in July 2012.

A delay announced in 2017 was put down to the need 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.

In May 2018 Nawah Energy, the joint venture company formed by Enec and Korean Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) to operate the station, said the loading of nuclear fuel had been delayed “to the end of 2019 and early 2020”.

That updated schedule followed “a comprehensive operational readiness review”. Nawah Energy 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”.

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