Fuel Loading Complete At Barakah Unit 1

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said Tuesday that the first fuel loading at the new Barakah Unit 1 power plant had been safely completed. With the milestone done, the United Arab Emirate "has officially become a peaceful nuclear energy operating nation," a first for the Middle East, said ENEC.

"The Nation also becomes the first country in the Arab World to achieve this status, joining a limited group of countries worldwide that have successfully developed the intellectual and infrastructural capacity to use nuclear energy to generate safe, clean, and reliable baseload electricity," ENEC trumpeted.

The UAE Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) bestowed an operating license for Unit 1 in February.

“Our teams have been training over the years to safely progress towards providing the UAE with clean, reliable and abundant electricity to power our economic and societal growth. Today, we are very proud as the UAE joins a limited group of nations who have achieved the global standards necessary to become peaceful nuclear operating nations” said H.E. Eng. Mohamed Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of ENEC. “We take this responsibility very seriously and our teams are safely and steadily transitioning through the sophisticated, highly-regulated process to advance Unit 1 towards full electrical generation capacity.”

The fuel load was led by a team of highly-trained and FANR-certified fuel operators, with over 90 percent participation of Emirati experts who were previously trained in the APR-1400 technology in South Korea. This team led the transfer and load of the 241 fuel assemblies into Unit 1 which concluded earlier this week.

Barakah NPPThe plant is now ready to start Power Ascension Testing (PAT), in which the systems of Unit 1 are safely and gradually tested to move into full electricity production. As per the Prime Contract signed between ENEC and KEPCO, this process is led by KEPCO and takes the lessons learned of the APR-1400 Korean fleet, which currently operates two APR-1400 units in South Korea at full capacity.

The PAT process is conducted in line with all regulatory requirements and the highest international standards of safety, quality and security. Once the process is completed over the course of a number of months, the plant will begin delivering abundant baseload electricity to power the growth and prosperity of the UAE for decades to come.

Nawah Energy Company began the fuel load of Unit 1 following the successful receipt of the Operating License from the UAE’s independent nuclear energy regulator, FANR on 17 February 2020, and completion of the Pre Start-up Review (PSUR) by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) in January 2020. The receipt of the Operating License confirms that FANR is completely satisfied that the plant, people, programs, policies and procedures meet their robust standards, and that all voluntary reviews from the IAEA and WANO have been satisfied.

ENEC is currently in the final stages of construction for the remaining three units of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi. The overall construction of the four units is more than 93 percent complete. Unit 4 is more than 83 percent  Unit 3 is more than 91 percent and Unit 2 is more than 95 percent. The four units at Barakah will generate up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity demand by producing 5,600 MW of clean electricity, and preventing the release of 21 million tons of carbon emissions each year – the equivalent of removing 3.2 million cars off the roads annually.

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