French energy group EDF and Nawah Energy have signed a deal to operate and maintain the delayed Barakah power plant, which will be the first nuclear energy plant in the Arab world.
The $24.4 billion Barakah power plant in the United Arab Emirates is the world’s largest nuclear project under construction but has been marred by delays related to training issues.
A subsidiary of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), Nawah is authorised to manage the operations and maintenance (O&M) of the Barakah facility, which is reported to be the first nuclear energy plant in the UAE.
Under the ten-year agreement, EDF will provide Nawah with a wide range of plant support services.
Nawah CEO Mark Reddemann said: “Nawah is delighted about this partnership and we are looking forward not only to bringing on board the expertise of EDF but more importantly we look forward to working closely with the team to ensure safe and secure start-up of Unit 1 at Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.
The services to be offered by EDF range from operational safety, radiation protection to fuel-cycle management and environmental monitoring.
“EDF will provide engineering studies, on-site support, training and benchmarking sessions.”
Additionally, EDF will provide engineering studies, on-site support, training and benchmarking sessions among others.
The services provided by EDF under the agreement could also see the involvement of the entire group, including Framatome and a number of EDF’s legacy partners.
The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is currently preparing for operations of the first of its four 1,400MW units.
EDF senior executive vice-president in charge on nuclear and thermal fleet Dominique Miniere said: “We are proud that Nawah has recognised EDF Group’s expertise, the world’s leading nuclear operator, by choosing us to provide it with services for the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant.”
“With this agreement, EDF will be strengthening its position in the UAE’s low-carbon energy sector, thereby reasserting the goal of its CAP 2030 strategy which is to triple its business volumes outside of Europe by 2030.”
Last week a senior official said that the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation was not yet ready to give Nawah, the company that will run the plant, a license to operate, reported Reuters.
The plant was originally expected to begin operations in 2017.