By Sam Bridge
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation says UAE has now officially become a nuclear energy operating nation, the first country in the Arab World
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced on Tuesday the successful completion of fuel assembly loading into Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Power project.
It said that following the completion of this key stage, the UAE has officially become a nuclear energy operating nation, the first country in the Arab World to achieve this status.
The milestone was achieved this week, following the completion of the process to load fuel assemblies into the Unit 1 reactor, which commenced after the receipt of the operating licence from the UAE Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) in February, state news agency WAM reported.
The plant is now ready to begin the next stage when Nawah, the operations and maintenance subsidiary of ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), will start operating the plant, in a process known as power ascension testing, in which the systems are gradually tested to move into full electricity production.
Once the process is completed over the course of a number of months, the plant will begin delivering electricity.
"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 Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO 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."
He added: "Barakah is more than an energy plant, it brings prosperity and value to the UAE with new industrial and human capacity, it significantly improves the carbon footprint and energy security of the nation, and accelerates the decarbonisation of the power sector to contribute to alleviating global climate change."
To date, over 255 inspections have been undertaken by FANR to ensure the Barakah plant meets the highest standards of nuclear quality and safety.
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 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity demand by producing 5,600MW of clean electricity.