UAE nuclear plant construction hits key milestone

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Construction work at the nuclear reactor plant site at Barakah, near Abu Dhabi.

Construction work at the nuclear reactor plant site at Barakah, near Abu Dhabi.

Construction of the UAE's first nuclear energy reactor has reached a key milestone with the installation of the containment liner plate (CLP) in the reactor containment building for Barakah Unit 1.

The liner plate is one of the many defence-in-depth barriers that ensure the safety of nuclear energy plants.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) installed the first modularized sections of the 2,000-ton steel cylinder.

The installation was the culmination of months of work, and is just one element of the complex construction programme underway at Barakah.

With the CLP installation proceeding, ENEC and KEPCO said they remain on track to deliver the country's first nuclear energy reactor, Barakah Unit 1, in 2017.

A total of four nuclear energy reactors are set to be constructed by 2020, producing a significant portion of the UAE's energy needs and saving up to 12 million tons in carbon emissions every year.

"As we continue to make steady progress on construction, we remain firmly committed to maintaining the highest standards of safety, security and quality in everything we do," said ENEC's CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi.

"This installation was a challenging and complicated operation. Its successful completion is a testament to the strong safety culture we have fostered here at Barakah," he added.

The containment liner plate is a cylindrical steel shell that forms the inner wall, ceiling, and floor of the reactor containment building.

Al Hammadi said: "The liner plate plays a fundamental role in ensuring the safety of the containment structure, which is where the nuclear reactor is housed."

The installation will take a total of 10 months to complete, he added.

In July 2012, ENEC commenced construction on Unit 1 following the receipt of the construction licence from the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and a No Objection Certificate from Abu Dhabi's environmental regulator, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD).

Since July, ENEC has poured more than 20,000 cubic yards of concrete to form the foundation slab of the Barakah Unit 1 reactor containment building.

ENEC will apply for an operating licence for Unit 1 in 2015 and will pour concrete for Unit 2 later in 2013.

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