Unit 1 of the UAE's under-construction Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant (Barakah NEP) in Abu Dhabi will see operational commencement between the end of 2019 and early 2020, pending regulatory approval, it was revealed by operator Nawah Energy Company – a subsidiary created by Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) and Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) to operate and maintain the project – as it signed a long-term maintenance services agreement with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), alongside Kepco Plant Service & Engineering (KPS).
In a statement, Nawah said it was the future holder of an operating licence from the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, and as such would hold all regulatory responsibilities for the operations and maintenance of Barakah NEP, located in the UAE capital's Al Dhafra region.
Comprising of four APR1400 nuclear reactors, construction on Barakah Unit 1 began in 2012 and was completed in 2018.
Meanwhile, construction is progressing on Units 2, 3, and 4 of Barakah NEP, which has an overall completion rate of more than 93%.
Nawah's latest agreement will see KHNP and KPS providing routine and outage maintenance services Barakah NEP's four APR1400 units.
KHNP is a subsidiary of Kepco, which is Enec's partner in the joint venture behind Barakah, as well as the project's prime contractor.
Nawah said the KHNP consortium had been selected due to its "demonstrated capacity to work under the leadership of Nawah to support safe and quality-driven maintenance work at the Barakah plant".
The consortium will deliver planning and implementation of maintenance, as well as highly qualified manpower including supervisory and management experts, plus maintenance leaders that will be deployed to safely maintain Barakah NEP.
KHNP will work with Nawah to conduct testing, diagnostics, inspections, maintenance, and replacement work for both the nuclear and non-nuclear components of Barakah NEP.
Commenting on the agreement, Nawah's chief executive officer, Mark Reddemann, said: "Through this agreement, we have created a robust framework of maintenance services providers that combine the best-in-class maintenance expertise in thermal and nuclear plant infrastructure and expertise in the APR1400 technology.
"The approval of these maintenance agreements stands as a firm commitment to securing the best international partners to ensure safe and quality-led nuclear maintenance at Barakah.”
Jaehoon Chung, president and CEO of KHNP, added: “KHNP and KPS will assign its talented resources with outstanding technical expertise including high-level officials to the Barakah plant to support its safe and reliable operation.
"We will proactively support the UAE in its endeavours to secure its own capabilities to successfully operate the plant through localisation.
"I am confident that Team Korea, as the only party across the globe that has experience in operating APR-1400, can contribute to the safe and reliable operations of the Barakah plant by playing a crucial role in its maintenance project.”