Plant Operation

Barakah / Unit 1 Is Connected To Grid And Dispatching Electricity

By David Dalton
19 August 2020

The four-unit facility in the UAE is the first commercial nuclear station in the Arab world
Unit 1 Is Connected To Grid And Dispatching Electricity
Nuclear reactor operators from Nawah Energy Company complete grid synchronisation on 19 August in the Unit 1 main control room at Barakah. Photo courtesy Enec.
Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power station in the United Arab Emirates has been connected to the UAE grid and is despatching its first megawatts of electricity, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) announced on 19 August.

During the process, the generator in Unit 1 was integrated and synchronised with the requirements of the UAE’s national electricity transmission grid.

Enec said connection was completed through collaboration with Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Company (Transco). Transco has constructed 952 km of 400 kV overhead lines to connect Barakah to the Abu Dhabi grid.

Unit 1 connection, also referred to as “grid synchronisation”, marks the first time that electricity produced at the plant is delivered to the UAE national grid. This follows the startup of Unit 1 at the end of July 2020 by Enec’s operations and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company. Since then, the operations team have run a series of tests, steadily increasing the power levels to ultimately generate the first megawatts of baseload electricity produced by the Barakah-1, located in the Al Dhafrah Region of Abu Dhabi.

“Grid connection of Unit 1 really is the beginning of a new era in our project, which is built upon years of preparation and adherence to the highest international safety and quality standards,” said Enec chief executive officer Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi.

Mr Al Hammadi said the completion of the remaining three units will mean the Barakah station will provide up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs for at least the next 60 years.

All four units at the $24bn Barakah facility, the first commercial nuclear station in the Arab world, are Generation III+ APR1400 plants supplied by main contractor and joint venture partner Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco). Each unit is 1,345 MW with a total net installed capacity for the station of 5,380 MW.

The UAE says the Barakah station is “significantly contributing” to its efforts to move towards the electrification of its energy sector and the decarbonisation of electricity production.

Enec recently announced the construction completion of Unit 2, with operational readiness preparations now underway. Construction of Units 3 and 4 is in its final stages, with Unit 3 at 93% completion, Unit 4 at 86% completion, and the overall construction completion of the four units now standing at 94%.

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