Third Barakah unit starts up

22 September 2022

The 1400 MWe unit is now producing heat from nuclear fission, and will be connected to the UAE's electricity grid in the coming weeks, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said. Two units at the site, in the Al Dhafra Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, are already in commercial operation.

Barakah (Image: ENEC)

Fuel loading began at Barakah 3 in June after the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) approved the unit's operating licence, and has progressed through a comprehensive testing programme under FANR oversight. It will now be connected to the grid and undergo the Power Ascension Testing (PAT) process. This means that its operators will gradually increase the unit's power, with constant monitoring and testing, until maximum electricity production is reached.

FANR has carried out regular inspections throughout the fuel loading and the testing processes leading up to first criticality, and confirmed that Nawah Energy Company - a joint nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of ENEC and reactor vendor Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO)  - has met all regulatory requirements to initiate this phase. The regulator said it is continuously verifying the emergency preparedness and response system as well as monitoring the environment through independent monitoring stations around the nuclear power plant and its environmental laboratory.

"We have reached another major milestone in the delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program today, as we move forwards with the provision of strategically significant clean energy for the UAE," ENEC CEO and Managing Director Mohamed Al Hammadi said. "The Barakah plant is spearheading the decarbonisation of the power sector, sustainably generating abundant electricity to meet growing demand and power growth. The UAE has developed a world-class nuclear programme that builds on experience and continuously shares its lessons with global industry peers, making the Barakah plant a case study for the world on a new nuclear project delivery."

Construction of the four Korean-designed APR-1400 units at Barakah began in 2012, with work on unit 3 starting in 2014. Units 1 and 2, which began commercial operation in April 2021 and March of this year, respectively, are now supplying 2800 MW to the UAE's grid and unit 4 is in the final stages of commissioning prior to construction completion.

ENEC describes Barakah as an essential component of the UAE's Net Zero 2050 Strategy and a catalyst for innovation in the clean energy transition, including SMR development and next generation reactors, and a bridge to other clean fuels like hydrogen. "The commissioning of the plant is just the beginning, with innovation and R&D now key in ensuring the realisation of the full scope of the programme," Al Hammadi added.

Barakah is KEPCO's first overseas nuclear power plant project.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News