Barakah plant startup brings nuclear energy to Arabian peninsula

Image credit: The Times of Israel

The Arab world’s first nuclear power plant is ready to begin operations.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. (ENEC) and subsidiary Nawah Energy Co. have announced that Unit 1 of the Barakah plant in Abu Dhabi is ready to start up.

An international team of nuclear industry experts”from the Atlanta Center of the World Association of Nuclear Operations (WANO)”performed operational readiness assessments on the UAE facility in November, according to reports.

“Successfully completing WANO’s PSUR (pre-startup review) of Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is a testament to our commitment to the highest national and international regulations and standards,” said Mark Reddemann, CEO of Nawah Energy Co. “As we progress towards the secure and safety-led start-up of Unit 1, we will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure we demonstrate our readiness to receive the Operating License from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, as we work to pursue the highest standards of operational excellence.”

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Nawah was created four years ago to operate and maintain units at the Barakah Nuclear Plant. Once completed and operational, the four units at Barakah will generate up to 5.6 GW at capacity, according to reports.

It is a joint venture with the Korea Electric Power Corp.

The WANO PSUR comes after a series of assessments carried out by several national and international regulatory organizations during the past years. International collaboration with nuclear organizations is a central commitment of the 2008 Policy of the UAE on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy. The policy set the objective to “engage WANO and its members to provide assessments and shared experience feedback” as an essential component of its commitments to complete operational transparency, as well as the continuous pursuit of the highest standards of safety and security.

“The fact that our first Unit and our team of experts successfully completed this international start up assessment by WANO is a major milestone for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program,” said H.E. Eng. Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC CEO. “It provides international recognition that our plant, people and processes meet international start up standards and that the Barakah plant fully aligns to the commitments made in 2008 by the Nation of complete operational transparency, and the pursuit of the highest standards of safety, quality and security. We take this achievement with great responsibility while we continue to support Nawah in obtaining regulatory approval from FANR to safely and gradually commence producing clean, safe and reliable electricity to power the growth of the UAE for the next 60 years.”

Nawah is concluding the final requirements to demonstrate operational readiness in preparation to receive the Operating License from FANR, prior to commencing the loading of the first fuel assemblies safely into Unit 1 of the Barakah plant, scheduled this quarter. Once the fuel assemblies are loaded into the reactor, Nawah will begin the start-up sequence for Power Ascension Testing, where operators will safely raise power generation levels over a number of months, prior to commercial operation.

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