By Andy Sambidge
Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation authorises Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp to begin construction of third and fourth reactors
The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) of the UAE said on Monday it has authorised the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) to begin building two additional nuclear power reactors.
The licence for the construction of the third and fourth reactors at the Barakah site in the Western Region of the Abu Dhabi emirate was approved by the FANR Board of Management, it said in a statement published by news agency WAM.
The licence authorises ENEC to construct two additional Korean-designed, advanced pressurised water reactors, each capable of producing 1,400 megawatts of electricity.
FANR granted a construction licence for the first and second reactors in July 2012, the statement said.
The licence permits ENEC to construct the reactors but ENEC must apply for a separate operating licence before it can begin to operate them, it added.
ENEC is expected to submit an application in 2015 for a licence to operate reactors one and two.
"The latest licence approval illustrates the significant progress the United Arab Emirates has achieved in its nuclear energy programme," said Dr Ahmed Al Mazrouei, chairman of the FANR Board of Management.
The approval followed an intensive 18-month review by about 200 FANR and other technical experts. The review incorporated lessons learnt from the March 2011 accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
"The FANR team is dedicated to ensuring that nuclear energy in the UAE is pursued safely, securely and peacefully," said FANR’s director general Dr William D Travers.
"In addition to our detailed review of ENEC’s operating licence application, FANR will continue to closely monitor construction at the Barakah site, and will verify that all rules and regulations are followed before it grants any authorisation to ENEC to commence operations."