UAE celebrates graduation of first local operators

20 June 2014

The UAE now has home-grown expertise to oversee the safe operation of its first nuclear power plants, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has announced.

Enec - established by royal decree in December 2009 to implement the UAE's nuclear energy program - said ten Emirati citizens had become the country's first fully qualified local operators following completion of a 15-month training program in the UAE and South Korea. Enec developed the course together with its prime contractor, Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco).

ENEC graduates 460 (Enec)
The successful students pose with instructors after a graduation ceremony (Image: Enec)

The program was held at Kepco's facilities in South Korea, the Institute of Applied Technology in Abu Dhabi, and Emec's Simulator Training Centre at Barakah - the construction site of the UAE's nuclear power units.

The local operator graduates will now join Enec as part of the team working towards the start of commercial operations of Barakah 1 in 2017, Enec said. Local operators will also receive requalification training every six weeks, Enec said.

Enec said that by 2020 it would need around 2000 employees to operate its four nuclear power units: "Talented Emirati nationals will play an important role in achieving this goal, with Enec's current Emiratization rate at almost 67%."

The first two units are now more than 45% complete, with Barakah 2 scheduled to start operations in 2018, pending regulatory approvals, Enec said. The company will apply for an operating license for both units in 2015, it said.

Enec has recently been granted approval for additional civil works at Barakah 3 and 4 under its limited construction licence, meaning the units are on track to enter commercial operations in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News