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UAE completes construction of unit 1 at 5.6GW Barakah nuclear power plant

EBR Staff Writer Published 27 March 2018

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has officially completed construction of the unit 1 of the $32bn Barakah nuclear power plant in Al Dhafra Region in UAE.

The 5.6GW nuclear power plant, which will feature four units with Advanced Power Reactor 1400 MW (APR-1400) nuclear reactor technology, will be the country’s first of its kind since 1985.

The reactors, each with 1,400MW capacity, are being developed by the South Korea's state utility Korea Electric Power (Kepco).

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan attended the ceremony marking the completion of construction of the first unit at the Barakah nuclear plant.  

ENEC board of directors’ chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak was quoted by Emirates news agency WAM as saying: "Nuclear energy will play a strategic role in the future of the Nation.

"With construction completion achieved, the UAE joins an elite group of countries that have managed to build such a complex and demanding facility to the highest standards of safety and quality.”

Planned to be completed by 2020, the Barakah power plant is expected to contribute up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs and save up to 21 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Nahyan added: “The U.A.E. Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program will play a strategic role in the growth of our nation by enhancing our energy security, diversifying our economy, and creating employment opportunities for our people.”

The unit 1 reactor will now complete operational readiness preparations to secure operating license approval from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

Additionally, the unit is undergoing a number of assessments by independent international nuclear energy experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO).

Construction of the project’s units 2, 3 and 4 are 92%, 81%, and 66% complete respectively.

Commenting on the milestone, World Nuclear Association director general Agneta Rising said: “The UAE’s policy of reducing electricity generation from fossil fuels by developing a mix of clean energy technologies that includes a substantial contribution from nuclear energy is one that should be embraced worldwide, including in South Korea.

“Using nuclear energy will help ensure the swiftest and most cost-effective transition to a clean, secure and reliable energy future.”

Image: Barakah nuclear power plant in UAE. Photo: courtesy of L. Potterton/IAEA.