Barakah 4 in final operational readiness tests

08 June 2023

Barakah's operations team has begun the final operational readiness testing needed before the fourth unit at the site near Ruwais in Abu Dhabi can receive an operating licence from the UAE's nuclear regulator.

Barakah unit 4 (Image: ENEC)

Construction of the fourth Korean-designed APR-1400 unit at Barakah began in July 2015, three years after work began on the first Barakah unit. The first three units are now fully operational - unit 3 was declared in commercial operation in February this year. Lessons learned from each of the previous three units have been effectively applied to the next unit, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said, with each unit passing through the preparation phases more efficiently while maintaining quality and safety standards.

"In the UAE's Year of Sustainability, we are demonstrating how nuclear energy can have a real, rapid and transformative impact on decarbonising the power sector," said ENEC Managing Director and CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi. "Every year since 2020, we have added another unit to deliver 10TWh of 24/7 emissions-free power to the grid. With Unit 4 now moving towards becoming operational we will soon meet our mission to generate 25% of the nation’s electricity.

"Barakah offers a clear success story as we head towards COP 28 in Dubai, where attendees will be looking for solutions to the climate crisis and are increasingly recognising the critical role proven nuclear energy technology will play."

Each of Barakah's four units requires a separate operating licence from the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) before it can be commissioned and operated. Barakah's operator Nawah - a joint nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation - submitted its application to operate and maintain units 3 and 4 in March 2017. The 20,000 page application includes lessons learned and experiences gained from the review of the application for units 1 and 2. FANR approved the operating licence for unit 3 in June 2022 and the unit reached first criticality in September that year.

Commercial operation of unit 4 will increase Barakah's total generation capacity to 5.6 GWe, equivalent to 25% of the UAE's electricity needs and delivering more than 40 TWh of clean electricity per year. The plant has already had a "transformational impact" in the UAE, ENEC said, meeting up to 48% of Abu Dhabi's electricity requirements over the winter months with zero-carbon electricity.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News