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Wed 19 Feb 2020 01:40 PM

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Fuel loading begins at UAE's first nuclear power plant

Nawah Energy Company begins initial step in the process towards commencing operations of Barakah Unit 1 following receipt of licence

Fuel loading begins at UAE's first nuclear power plant

Nawah Energy Company (Nawah), the subsidiary of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) responsible for operating and maintaining the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, has started loading the first nuclear fuel assemblies.

Following the receipt of the operating Licence for Unit 1 from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) earlier this week, the fuel loading is the initial step in the process towards commencing operations and subsequent generation of clean electricity.

The licence authorises Nawah to operate Unit 1 of the Barakah Plant for a duration of 60 years.

“Receiving the operating license for Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is a significant milestone for Nawah Energy Company as it becomes the latest operator to join the global nuclear community,” said Mark Reddemann, CEO of Nawah.

“We are proud to have demonstrated that Nawah meets rigorous Federal requirements, as well as robust international standards for nuclear safety and quality. We are committed to meeting these standards throughout the start-up process and the lifespan of the plant.”

Once the fuel assemblies are loaded, Nawah will run a series of tests, prior to commencing the start-up sequence process known as Power Ascension Testing (PAT), where operators will safely and steadily raise the power generation levels.

During this process, which will be safety led, the unit will be synchronized to the grid, and the first megawatts of electricity will be dispatched.

Following the successful completion of these tests, Unit 1 will begin commercial operations.

The Barakah plant, located on the Gulf coast west of the UAE's capital, had been due to come online in late 2017 but faced a number of delays that officials attributed to safety and regulatory requirements.

Abu Dhabi authorities said in January that the plant would start operating within a few months.

The plant is being built by a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation in a deal worth over $20 billion.

When fully operational, the four reactors have the capacity to generate 5,600 megawatts of electricity, around 25 percent of the nation's needs. The remaining three reactors are almost ready for operation.

The UAE has substantial energy reserves, but nuclear and renewables are targeted to contribute around 27 percent of its electricity needs by 2021.

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