UAE’s first nuclear reactor set to open this year

UAE’s first nuclear reactor set to open this year
Published: 3 March 2018 - 12:50 a.m.
By: Baset Asaba

The first reactor at the Barakah Nuclear plant in Abu Dhabi is undergoing testing as the UAE prepares to launch world’s largest single nuclear plant later this year.

The Barakah project, which consists of four nuclear reactors is more than 87% complete, with unit 1 being prepared and tested, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, which is building the plant, has revealed.

The nuclear power plant, which will be operated by Nawah Energy Company, is scheduled to start operations this year after being linked to the main grid.

The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), which is the nuclear regulatory body, is now reviewing the operating license application made by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation on behalf of Nawah Energy Company to operate Units 1 and 2 of the plant.

ENEC signed the Connection & Interface Agreement (C&IA) with the Abu Dhabi Transmission & Despatch Company (TRANSCO) in 2016. The agreement establishes a contractual operating framework between the two entities that will allow for the electricity generated from ENEC’s four nuclear energy units located in Barakah to be transmitted over TRANSCO’s power lines to the UAE grid.

In July, ENEC successfully completed the cold hydrostatic testing (CHT) at Unit 2 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant located in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi.

The completion of the milestone, which concluded approximately 12 months after the same tests were successfully completed on Unit 1, demonstrated a commitment to achieving the highest international quality and safety standards, across the four units of the Barakah Plant, according to ENEC.

The CHT verifies that welds, joints, pipes and components of the reactor coolant system and associated high-pressure systems are in line with the regulations of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

The testing, which is a crucial step in preparing the Unit 2 for nuclear operation, was preceded by the integrated flushing of the Unit’s Nuclear Steam Supply Systems (NSSS).

Unlike most sources of renewables, which are subject to the whims of sunshine, wind or tides, nuclear energy provides consistent output. Each reactor at Barakah is designed to run uninterrupted on an 18-month fuel cycle, making the facility an excellent source of base-load electricity.

The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant will provide 25 percent of the UAE's electricity needs when the facility becomes fully operational.

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