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Sat 28 Mar 2015 02:00 AM

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UAE's ENEC submits plan to run first two nuclear reactors

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp says it has formally applied to regulator for operating licence

UAE's ENEC submits plan to run first two nuclear reactors
Construction work at the nuclear reactor plant site at Barakah, near Abu Dhabi.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has announced that it has formally applied for an operating licence for the UAE's first two nuclear power reactors.

In a statement, ENEC said it has filed the operating licence application for Barakah Units 1 & 2 with the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), a key milestone in the country's nuclear power ambitions.

The submittal follows a five year-long process in which ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), the developer of ENEC's nuclear programme, documented the safety of the planned operations and maintenance of the Barakah plant, the statement said.

"This is a very important stage in the development of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme," said Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC's CEO.

"The successful and on-time submission of this application is a crucial milestone in our journey to becoming fully operational in 2017, and delivering on our mission to connect safe, clean and reliable nuclear energy to fuel the country's continued growth."

ENEC's submission, on behalf of its operating entity, seeks a FANR licence to safely operate and maintain the UAE's first two nuclear energy plants, which are currently under construction at Barakah, in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.

The application is approximately 15,000 pages in length, ENEC added

"The submission is the culmination of many years of work by ENEC and KEPCO," said Al Hammadi. "It is proof of the organisation's successful transformation into a world-class nuclear operating company, capable of reliably operating and maintaining the country's first nuclear fleet to the highest international standards."

The application has now been submitted for evaluation by FANR and its team of international nuclear energy experts who will start an in-depth examination process.

ENEC is aiming to receive an operating licence for Barakah Unit 1 in 2016, in time for the scheduled start of commercial operations in 2017. Approval for the Barakah Unit 2 operating licence is anticipated to follow in 2017.

ENEC's application seeks a license to operate both plants for 60 years - the expected operating life of ENEC's chosen APR1400 plant design.

ENEC has also applied to FANR for two separate licences related to the import, receipt, and possession of radioactive and nuclear materials, which were submitted to FANR for approval earlier this year.

ENEC said it anticipates receiving these licences well in advance of the scheduled first fuel load for the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme, which is expected to take place in 2016.

Construction of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant is progressing, ENEC said, with Unit 1 now more than 69 percent complete and scheduled for completion in 2017. Additional units will follow at 12 month intervals, with the fourth unit set to commence commercial operations in 2020, pending regulatory approvals.

Upon completion, the four APR-1400 units will boast a combined capacity of approximately 5,600 MW and will be capable of generating approximately 25 percent of the UAE's electricity needs while saving up to 12 million tons of carbon emissions every year.

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