The construction of the United Arab Emirates' (UAE's) first nuclear power plant has received approval from Abu Dhabi's environmental regulator. A construction licence is still required before building can actually begin at the Braka site.
|Four APR-1400 units are planned for the Braka site (Image: Enec)
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) announced that it had received a 'no objection certificate' (NOC) for the project from the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD). In issuing the NOC, "EAD acknowledges the environmental aspects of the construction of the UAE's first two reactors, based on the environmental impact assessment and the construction environmental management plan, which were submitted by Enec in 2010," the company said.
Enec noted that receipt of the NOC is the "next important step in a thorough, multi-year licensing process." A construction licence from the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR) is still required before the actual construction of Braka units 1 and 2 can start. The company submitted its construction licence application for the units in December 2010. That application includes details on site selection, technology, safety and quality control, and the construction process to be used in the plant's construction.
In a $20 billion deal announced in December 2009, Enec selected a Korean consortium led by Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco) to build four APR-1400 reactors, the first of which is scheduled to come online in 2017. Further reactors could be ordered as electricity demand grows from some 16 GWe currently to an expected 40 GWe by 2020.
Preparatory groundwork for the Braka plant is already underway. FANR and EAD issued a limited construction licence to Enec in July 2010 for preparatory work at the Braka site (also referred to as Barakah). The company has been given permission to pour a thin layer of concrete at the bottom of the excavation to create a smooth, flat surface in readiness for the installation of the concrete basemat. The pouring of the basemat concrete, often referred to as 'first concrete', is generally recognised as the point at which a reactor can be classified as officially 'under construction' and cannot take place until a full construction licence is granted. Enec expects to pour first concrete in November.
Enec CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi commented, "We are committed to operating in a manner that is respectful of the environment throughout the construction and operation of the nuclear energy plants." He added, "We understand that we must be responsible custodians of our site and the local environment, and we will actively and regularly monitor any impact, in conjunction with the EAD, to ensure the long-term sustainability of Abu Dhabi's environment."
"Nuclear energy is one of the ways in which Abu Dhabi is demonstrating its commitment to the environment, as nuclear energy plants emit almost zero carbon emissions during operations," Al Hammadi noted.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News