The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has completed construction of the unit 1, with 1,400MW capacity, at the $32bn Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Said to be the country’s first of its kind since 1985, the 5,600MW nuclear power plant will feature four units with Advanced Power Reactor 1400 MW (APR-1400) nuclear reactor technology.
A ceremony held to mark the completion of construction of the first unit at the Barakah nuclear plant was attended by South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and UAE Armed Forces Deputy Supreme Commander Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
ENEC board of directors’ chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak was quoted by Emirates news agency WAM as saying: "Nuclear energy will play a strategic role in the future of the Nation.
"With construction completion achieved, the UAE joins an elite group of countries that have managed to build such a complex and demanding facility to the highest standards of safety and quality.”
South Korea's state utility Korea Electric Power (Kepco) is serving as the prime contractor and joint venture partner for the project. It is responsible for the design, construction and operation of four APR1400 nuclear power units at the Barakah project.
Commenting on construction milestone, World Nuclear Association, the international organization that represents the global nuclear industry, director general Agneta Rising said: “The UAE’s policy of reducing electricity generation from fossil fuels by developing a mix of clean energy technologies that includes a substantial contribution from nuclear energy is one that should be embraced worldwide, including in South Korea.
“Using nuclear energy will help ensure the swiftest and most cost-effective transition to a clean, secure and reliable energy future.”
Planned to be completed by 2020, the Barakah power plant is expected to contribute up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs and save up to 21 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
Nahyan added: “The U.A.E. Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program will play a strategic role in the growth of our nation by enhancing our energy security, diversifying our economy, and creating employment opportunities for our people.”
The Unit 1 reactor, which will now undergo operational readiness, is due to secure operating license approval from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).
Additionally, the unit is undergoing a number of assessments by independent international nuclear energy experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO).
Construction of the project’s units 2 is 92% complete, unit 3 is 81% complete, and unit 4 is 66% complete.