Barakah 1 receives operating licence

17 February 2020

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) subsidiary Nawah Energy Company is preparing to load fuel into Barakah unit 1 following an announcement by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) that it has today issued an operating licence which authorises Nawah to commission and operate the unit.

The four-unit Barakah plant (Image: FANR)

The decision to issue the operating licence is the culmination of efforts made by FANR since receiving ENEC's application in 2015, FANR said. The regulator has since then reviewed the 14,000-page application, conducted more than 185 inspections and requested around 2000 additional pieces of information on various matters related to reactor design, safety and other issues to ensure the plant's complete compliance with all regulatory requirements, it said. The licence has a duration of up to 60 years.

FANR Director General Christer Viktorsson said the regulator had played an "indispensable role" in regulating the Barakah project since 2009. "We conducted extensive reviews and robust inspections to ensure [the unit] fulfils our regulatory requirements and thus is ready to operate safely. FANR also prepared for the operations phase which include putting all arrangements in place to conduct regulatory oversight and necessary inspections to ensure protection of the community and environment when the unit 1 starts operating," he said.

FANR's assessments included reviews of the plant's layout and analysis of the site's location as well as technical aspects including the reactor design, cooling systems, security arrangements, emergency preparedness and radioactive waste management. FANR also assessed Nawah's readiness to operate the plant and ensure its safety and security.

Nawah said it will now complete its final preparations ahead of loading the first fuel assemblies into unit 1's reactor, which is the first stage in the start-up process. According to the company's website it has started moving the nuclear fuel assemblies into the reactor building. FANR said it will conduct "around-the-clock" inspections to ensure the fuel load and power accession processes are completed according to regulatory requirements.

Barakah 1 is one of four APR1400 reactors are being built at the site near Ruwais in the Al Dhafra Region of Abu Dhabi, by a consortium led by the Korean Electric Power Company. Unit 1 was completed in March 2018. The four reactors will supply up to 25% of the UAE's electricity needs when fully operational.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News