The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has announced that its operating and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company (Nawah) has successfully started up Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in the Al Dhafrah Region of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). This step is the most historic milestone to date in the delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program, as part of the process towards generating clean electricity for the Nation for at least the next 60 years.
Since receipt of the Operating License from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulations (FANR) in February 2020, and the completion of fuel assembly loading in March 2020, Nawah, the Joint Venture nuclear operations and maintenance subsidiary of ENEC and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), has been safely progressing through a comprehensive testing program, prior to successfully completing the start-up of the first nuclear energy reactor of the Barakah plant.
The start-up of Unit 1
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. Nawah’s qualified and licensed team of nuclear operators focus on safely controlling the process and controlling the power output of the reactor. After several weeks and conducting numerous safety tests, Unit 1 will be ready to connect to the UAE’s electricity grid, delivering the first megawatts of clean electricity to the homes and businesses of the Nation.
Testing has been undertaken with the continued oversight of the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator, FANR, and follows the World Association of Nuclear Operator’s (WANO) completion of a Pre Start-up Review (PSUR) in January 2020, prior to receipt of the Operating License, which ensures Unit 1 is aligned with international best practice in the nuclear energy industry.
Once the unit is connected to the grid, the nuclear operators will continue with a process of gradually raising the power levels, known as Power Ascension Testing (PAT). Throughout, the systems of Unit 1 are continuously monitored and tested as the unit proceeds towards full electricity production in line with all regulatory requirements and the highest international standards of safety, quality and security. Once the process is completed over the course of a number of months, the plant will deliver abundant baseload electricity at full capacity to power the growth and prosperity of the UAE for decades to come.