Fuel assemblies arrive at Barakah 1

30 May 2017

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has taken delivery of fuel assemblies for unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power plant under construction in western Abu Dhabi. The fuel assemblies are being stored until the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) approves the operating licence for units 1 and 2.

Barakah unit 1 - 460 (ENEC)
Barakah unit 1 (Image: Enec)

Four Korean-designed APR1400 reactors are under construction at Barakah. The plant is being built for Enec by a consortium led by the Korean Electric Power Company (Kepco).

Enec said on 27 May the fuel assemblies had been transported "in adherence to the highest standards of quality and safety", in accordance with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as FANR regulations and the requirement of the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority.

"As we move towards the operation of the first nuclear energy reactor in the UAE, the successful transportation of the first fuel assemblies to the Barakah plant is a major success for Enec and the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program," Enec CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi said.

In accordance to FANR regulations, all fuel assemblies arriving at the Barakah plant must be closely inspected by fuel experts from Enec and the plant's operator, Nawah Energy Company, to ensure the structural integrity of each fuel assembly and to obtain confirmation and independent verification of their quality, Enec said.

"We are glad to announce that all the received fuel assemblies have cleared quality inspections at site and that they are ready to be used to produce electricity for the Nation, pending regulatory approval," Mohamed Abdalla Chookah, executive director for fuel procurement and analysis, said. "New fuel assemblies, meaning fuel assemblies that have not yet completed a fuel cycle inside a reactor, contain fresh fuel pellets which emit natural amounts of radiation that are well below international safe limits," he added.

Construction of unit 1 began in 2012 and it is now more than 95% complete, Enec said, adding that the four units combined are now 80% complete. Once the four reactors are online, the plant will provide up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs.

The new fuel assemblies were produced by Kepco NF to the "exacting standards" of the APR-1400 reactor and are transported in "highly protected rigid structures to guarantee their integrity", Enec said.

The process to fabricate the fuel assemblies for Unit 1 followed Enec's collaboration with a series of international fuel suppliers contracted five years ago to provide nuclear fuel services for the four Barakah units for 15 years, starting this year, it added.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News