UAE applies for first nuclear operating licence

27 March 2015

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has submitted its application for an operating licence for the first two units at the Barakah nuclear power plant.

ENEC submits the OLA for Barakah 1 and 2 to FANR (Image: ENEC)

The 15,000 page operating licence application (OLA) is the culmination of five years of work by teams from ENEC and reactor builder Korean Electric Power Company (Kepco), with further input from international experts. The submission includes a final safety analysis report, an independent safety verification and design review, details of the organization's physical protection plan, facility safeguards plan, operational quality assurance manual and emergency plan, as well as a probabilistic risk assessment summary report and a severe accident analysis report.

It also includes a safety assessment report for the plant building on the findings of a nine-month safety review carried out in 2011 in response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, incorporating updated information and analyses as well as lessons learned.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) will now examine the submission. ENEC is aiming to receive the operating licence for Barakah unit 1 in 2016, in time for the plant to become operational in 2017, with the licence for Barakah 2 expected to be received the same year. The company is seeking a licence to operate both units for 60 years, in line with the expected operating life of the Korean-designed APR1400 units.

ENEC CEO Mohammad Al Hammadi said the on-time submission of the OLA was a crucial milestone towards the 2017 start-up of the UAE's first nuclear power plant. "The submission is the culmination of many years of work by ENEC and Kepco. It is proof of the organization's successful transformation into a world-class nuclear operating company," he said.

ENEC has already applied to FANR for two separate licences covering the import, receipt and possession of radioactive and nuclear materials, which it anticipates receiving well ahead of its first fuel load for Barakah 1 in 2016.

Barakah will ultimately comprise four APR-1400 reactors built by the KEPCO-led consortium. Unit 1, under construction since 2012, is now over 69% complete and on schedule for its 2017 start-up. Units 2, 3 and 4 are scheduled to follow on at 12-month intervals, with units 2 and 3 under construction. Work has yet to begin on the fourth unit, which is expected to start up in 2020.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News