ENEC CEO: Plans to start Barakah Unit 1 not “derailed” by COVID-19

Published: 10 May 2020 - 3:45 a.m.
During a video conference with the president and CEO of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Centre, Frederick Kempe, the CEO of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), Mohamed Al Hammadi, discussed the progress being made at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.

Al Hammadi also discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on energy systems, and the importance of decarbonised, reliable, and secure energy systems in the future, at the virtual conference that was held under the theme: ‘COVID-19 and the Future of the Decarbonised Global Power System’, the UAE's state-owned news agency, Wam reported.

The CEO of ENEC said: "The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, the Arab World’s first peaceful nuclear energy plant located in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi, will change the way the UAE powers its growth.”

According to Al Hammadi, the plant will produce 5.6GW of electricity and reduce more than 21 million tons of CO2 emissions each year; and provide clean, safe, and reliable baseload electricity.

“In the UAE alone, the emissions that will be prevented by the operation of the Barakah Plant are equivalent to the removal of 3.2 million cars from the nation’s road annually – this is immensely significant within the context of our efforts to combat global warming and address air pollution challenges around the world," he added.

“It is also providing countless high-value jobs through the establishment of a sustainable local nuclear energy industry and supply chain."

ENEC along with its partners has implemented precautionary measures to safeguard the health, safety, and well being of its employees to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring business continuity to be able to schedule the start-up of Unit 1 at the Barakah Nuclear Plant.

“COVID-19 has been a tremendous challenge for all of us, however, I am proud of our teams’ response and fortunate to be able to say that we have not experienced a single positive case of COVID-19 at the Barakah site. Today work is continuing to progress safely and steadily on all four units of the plant."

Al Hammadi explained: "Following receipt of the Operating License from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Reregulation (FANR), and having completed the loading of fuel assemblies into Unit 1’s reactor, we are in the advanced stages of starting up Unit 1.”

“This Unit will reach criticality very soon, and the COVID-19 pandemic has not derailed our plans. We have 700 employees working on the project to meet the timeline," he added.

"Testing is also continuing at Units 2, 3 and 4, following the completion of all major construction work."

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