By Staff writer
When fully operational, Barakah nuclear power plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity
The United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced the start-up of its Barakah nuclear power plant, a first for the Arab world.
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced that its operating and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company, has successfully started up Unit 1 of the Barakah plant, located in the Al Dhafrah region of Abu Dhabi,
"UAE first nuclear reactor at the Barakah nuclear energy plant has achieved first criticality and successfully started up," tweeted Hamad Alkaabi, the country's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Start up for Unit 1 at Barakah is a historical moment for the UAE, making it the first Arab country in the region to operate a nuclear power plant culminating efforts of 12 years in planning and building such a programme— Hamad Alkaabi (@hamadnuke) August 1, 2020
"This is a historic milestone for the nation with a vision set to deliver a new form of clean energy for the nation," he tweeted in English.
#UAE Nuclear Energy Program has been developed through strong partnership with @IAEAorg facilitating technical support and the development of the required nuclear infrastructure in the country.— Hamad Alkaabi (@hamadnuke) August 1, 2020
The UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, tweeted that work at Barakah had "succeeded in loading nuclear fuel packages, carrying out comprehensive tests and successfully completing the operation".
"Congratulations on realising this historic achievement in the energy sector & marking this milestone in the roadmap for sustainable development," Sheikh Mohammed said.
Since receiving the operating licence from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulations (FANR) in February this year, and the completion of fuel assembly loading in March, Nawah has been progressing through a comprehensive testing programme, prior to successfully completing the start-up of the first nuclear energy reactor of the Barakah plant.
The start-up of Unit 1 marks the first time that the reactor safely produces heat, which is used to create steam, turning a turbine to generate electricity.
In the coming weeks, after numerous safety tests, Unit 1 will be ready to connect to the UAE’s electricity grid.
Once the unit is connected to the grid, the nuclear operators will gradually raising the power levels, towards full electricity production, which will be completed over the course of a number of months.
When fully operational, the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity.
ENEC recently announced the construction completion of Unit 2, with operational readiness preparations now underway by Nawah. Construction of Units 3 and 4 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is in the final stages, with the overall construction completion of the four units now standing at 94 percent.