The UAE’s first nuclear plant has received an electricity generation licence from the Department of Energy (DOE), reaching a major regulatory milestone before it can begin operations and start producing power.
DoE issued the licence to Barakah One, the joint venture between Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and the Korea Electric Power Corporation representing the commercial and financial interests of the project.
The move follows an announcement by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) in May that the start-up of the plant’s first nuclear reactor had been delayed, with operations expected to begin between the end of 2019 and early 2020.
The licence is a key regulatory requirement before the Barakah nuclear energy plant in Al Dhafra, Abu Dhabi, can start operations, official news agency WAM reported.
Nawah Energy Company, Enec and Kepco’s operating and maintenance subsidiary, also needs to obtain an operating license from the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, which regulates the industry according to international standards, to get the go-ahead for startup.
The Barakah nuclear energy plant has reached an advanced stage, with the completion of the first reactor announced earlier this year. Construction of the $25 billion project began in 2011.
"Barakah One Company has demonstrated its commitment to all requirements,” Awaidha Al Marar, the DoE chairman, was quoted as saying by WAM.
"One of the strategic objectives of the DoE is to guarantee energy security and sufficient supplies of energy, thus we look forward to strengthening our cooperation with ENEC and its subsidiaries ….. to meet the economic aspirations and needs of coming generations."
The UAE is the first country in the region to have undertaken the project of generating electricity from nuclear energy -- one of the best solutions for the production of clean and efficient power to support UAE’s economic growth and diversification.
The UAE is boosting its power generation from renewables and clean energy sources to help free up the usage of gas, which is also heavily consumed by the industrial and other sectors.
The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) stated this month that the nuclear plant’s operation would commence based on several factors including results from a comprehensive operational readiness review.