The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has announced the safe arrival of the first Korean-fabricated fuel assemblies that will be used in the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant's No. 1 and 2 reactors once approval for start ups have been granted.
Enec emphasized the safe arrival, but also noted the significant milestone involved transportation that did not compromise the integrity of the fuel assemblies. While the radioactive risk involving the transportation is relatively low, given the non-activated status of the fuel, keeping the assemblies intact through transportation is of the utmost importance. The integrity of the assemblies, as such, was verified by expert fuel inspectors once they arrived on site, Enec said.
The fuel assemblies will be stored at Barakah, which Enec claims is the largest single nuclear energy new build project in the world. With construction of Unit 1 considered 95 percent completed, the entire project in western Abu Dhabi consists of four new APR-1400, Korean designed reactors under construction. Heading the construction efforts is the Korean Electric Power Company (Kepco).
As a whole, the project is now 79 percent complete. The project has proceeded in a mostly on-time fashion. Construction of Unit 1 was begun in 2012. When complete, the power plant is expected to supply the United Arab Emirates with 25 percent of its electricity.
Enec said the fuel assemblies were transported in accordance to International Atomic Energy Agency standards, while adhering to the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) guidelines. The transportation project also complied with the country's Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority regulations.
“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,” Said Executive Director for Fuel Procurement and Analysis Dr. Mohamed Abdalla Chookah.
“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. Enec's No. 1 priority is the safety of the community, the environment, its staff and its technology,” he said.
“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,” said Enec Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Al Hammadi in a statement.
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