Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has completed hot functional testing of Unit 2 at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, five years after work began on the component in April 2013.
Incorporating “all lessons learned from the same test on Unit 1”, ENEC said it worked closely with Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), and under the observation of Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) – the UAE’s independent nuclear regulatory body – to achieve this “major milestone” for Unit 2.
The HFT activity lasts a number of weeks, consisting of almost 200 individual and integrated tests performed on major systems to check their performance under normal operational conditions, without the presence of nuclear fuel in the reactor.
As part of the test, the reactor’s systems experience, for the first time, an operational temperature of nearly 300°C, and operational pressure of more than 150kg per cm2, equivalent to an underwater depth of 1,500m.
Demonstrating its readiness to operate once the reactor starts up for normal operations, the turbine also span for the first time at its maximum speed of 1,500RPM.
Speaking on the results, Eng Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC's chief executive officer, said: “This most recent round of testing ensures that Unit 2’s systems and components are on track to reliably and safely perform their intended functions when the plant becomes operational.
“The pre-operational commissioning phase of a nuclear energy plant is a complex and critical step towards starting to operate the plant.”
KEPCO is the joint venture partner and prime contractor for the Barakah project, which will have in four units in total.
ENEC said the four Units are “progressing safely and steadily”, with the overall construction rate for all standing at more than 89% as of June 2018.
Construction on Unit 1 began in 2012, before it completed in March this year.
It has already been handed over to Nawah Energy Company for preparation to operate, pending regulatory approval.