By Sam Bridge
Atlanta Centre of the World Association of Nuclear Operators gives Barakah Unit 1 the green light
The first nuclear reactor at the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in Abu Dhabi is ready to start operations, it was announced on Tuesday.
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and its subsidiary Nawah Energy Company revealed that an extensive operational readiness assessment performed by an international team of nuclear industry experts from the Atlanta Centre of the World Association of Nuclear Operators has given Unit 1 the go-ahead.
The WANO Pre-start Up Review is a globally-recognised nuclear industry assessment which is conducted in line with the international industry standards, state news agency WAM reported.
During the PSUR process, which took place in November, WANO teams reviewed and examined numerous areas that are essential for the safe start-up and operation of the unit, ranging from operator performance and operations and maintenance, through to work management and emergency preparedness.
"The fact that our first Unit and our team of experts successfully completed this international start up assessment by WANO is a major milestone for the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme," said Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC CEO.
"It provides international recognition that our plant, people and processes meet international start up standards and that the Barakah plant fully aligns to the commitments made in 2008 by the nation of complete operational transparency, and the pursuit of the highest standards of safety, quality and security.
"We take this achievement with great responsibility while we continue to support Nawah in obtaining regulatory approval from FANR to safely and gradually commence producing clean, safe and reliable electricity to power the growth of the UAE for the next 60 years."
The report comes as Nawah prepares to load the first nuclear fuel assemblies into Unit 1, expected to take place by the end of March, once the company is in receipt of the operating licence from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator.
Mark Reddemann, CEO of Nawah, said: "Successfully completing WANO’s PSUR of Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is a testament to our commitment to the highest national and international regulations and standards. As we progress towards the secure and safety-led start-up of Unit 1, we will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure we demonstrate our readiness to receive the operating licence."
Once the fuel assemblies are loaded into the reactor, Nawah will begin the start-up sequence for power ascension testing, where operators will safely raise power generation levels over a number of months, prior to commercial operation.