UAE's Barakah nuclear power plant starts loading fuel ahead of launch

Published: 20 February 2020 - 8:19 a.m.
By: Baset Asaba

The UAE's first nuclear power plant is loading fuel in preparation for startup of unit 1, paving the way for the Gulf state to be the first in the region to use nuclear energy for power generation.

Nawah Energy Co., the Emirate Nuclear Energy Corp. unit responsible for the operation and maintenance of four nuclear power plants, earlier this week received a 60 year license and go-ahead for unit 1 from the UAE's watchdog, Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.

When fully operational, Barakah will boast a capacity of 5,600 megawatts and will be able provide up to 25 per cent of the UAE's energy needs.

“Our teams are trained, certified and ready to safely commence the testing and start-up processes for Unit 1 working in full adherence to Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) regulations, as well as industry best practices as set forth by the World Association of Nuclear Operators,” said Mark Reddemann, the chief executive officer of Nawah.

“Receiving the operating license for Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is a significant milestone for Nawah Energy Company as it becomes the latest operator to join the global nuclear community.”

The start-up of the nuclear plants, which was slated for 2017 following the start of construction in 2012, was postponed due to the delays in issuing the license.

Once all four reactors are up and running, the plants will supply up to 25% of the UAE's electricity needs or 5,600 MW.

The UAE, which currently relies mostly on gas for power and water generation, is adding renewable and nuclear power to its energy mix as it frees up gas for consumption in industries and other sectors.

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