UAE's fourth power reactor under construction

02 September 2015

The first safety concrete has been poured for the basemat of the containment building of the fourth reactor at the United Arab Emirates' Barakah nuclear power plant, marking the official start of the unit's construction.

Barakah 4 first concrete - 460 (UAE Ministry of Energy)
Construction gets under way of Barakah 4 (Image: UAE Ministry of Energy)

A ceremony was held today to mark the milestone. It was attended by UAE energy minister Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, government officials and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) board of directors. The delegation was given a tour of the site to inspect progress at each of the units under construction there.

Enec received regulatory approval for the construction of Barakah units 3 and 4 last September. The company said preparatory work at unit 4 has been carried out over the past seven months which included excavation work, lining the foundation pit and installing reinforcing steel bars.

Construction of the reactor containment building for unit 4 will be completed over the next three years, Enec said. It added that unit 4 is on track to enter commercial operation by 2020.

In a statement, Enec noted, "With the construction of four identical nuclear energy reactors now under way, Barakah surpasses nuclear construction sites in China, the USA, the UK, Russia and other countries to become the largest project with simultaneous construction of identical nuclear technology in the world."

Enec CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi said, "We now have more than 18,000 staff at Barakah working diligently to safely deliver on our mission to connect safe, clean, reliable and efficient nuclear energy to the UAE in 2017."

In a $20 billion deal announced in December 2009, Enec selected a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation to build four APR-1400 reactors. First concrete for Barakah 1 was poured in July 2012, while that for unit 2 was poured in May 2013 with unit 3 following in September 2014. Enec said that unit 1 is now 75% complete, while overall construction of the four-unit plant is more than 50% complete. All four units are scheduled to enter service by 2020.

Energy minister Al Mazrouei said, "Nuclear energy will play a critical role in the provision of sustainable energy to power the future of the UAE and, while the pace and sophistication of this historic program continues to grow, I am consistently impressed to see Enec deliver its project to the highest international standards of safety, quality and performance. The approach ensures the long-term sustainability of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program."

According to Enec, once all four units at Barakah are in operation, the plant will supply about a quarter of the UAE's electricity needs and avoid the emission of up to 12 million tonnes of greenhouse gas. The plant will also free up oil and gas supplies for export.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News