Unit 1 of Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has been started successfully and safely
August 05, 2020

Unit 1 of Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has been started successfully and safely

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced that its operating and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company, 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. 

The start-up of this unit is the most historic milestone to date in the delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program

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.

Puesta en marcha de la unidad 1 en la Central Nuclear de Barakah
Puesta en marcha de la unidad 1 en la Central Nuclear de Barakah
Puesta en marcha de la unidad 1 en la Central Nuclear de Barakah
Puesta en marcha de la unidad 1 en la Central Nuclear de Barakah

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. After several weeks and conducting numerous safety tests, Unit 1 will be ready to connect to the UAE’s electricity gridTesting has been undertaken with the continued oversight of FANR, and follows the World Association of Nuclear Operator’s (WANO) completion of a Pre Start-up Review in January 2020 which ensures Unit 1 is aligned with international best practice in the nuclear energy industry. 

Unit 1 is aligned with international best practice in the nuclear energy industry

In recognition of this historic moment for the U.A.E., H.E. Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, said: we are now another step closer to achieving our goal of supplying up to a quarter of our Nation’s electricity needs and powering its future growth with safe, reliable, and emissions-free electricity. 

The Barakah nuclear power plant, he added, “will deliver 25% of the UAE’s electricity with zero carbon emissions while also supporting economic diversification by creating thousands of high-value jobs through the establishment of a sustainable local nuclear energy industry and supply chain.” 

The Barakah nuclear power plant will deliver 25% of the UAE’s electricity with zero carbon emissions

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. 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. 

The UAE is the first country in the Arab World, and the 33rd nation globally, to develop a nuclear energy plant to generate safe, clean and reliable baseload electricity. The Barakah plant is significantly contributing to the UAE’s efforts to move towards the electrification of its energy sector, and the decarbonization of electricity production. When fully operational, the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity while preventing the release of more than 21 million tons of carbon emissions every year.

The UAE is the first country in the Arab World, and the 33rd nation globally, to develop a nuclear energy plant to generate safe, clean and reliable baseload electricity.

The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program commenced in 2009, ENEC has worked closely with international nuclear bodies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and WANO, in line with the robust regulatory framework of FANR. To date, more than 255 inspections have been undertaken by FANR to ensure the Barakah plant and its people and processes meet the highest standards of nuclear quality and safety.

These national reviews have been supported by more than 40 assessments and peer reviews by the IAEA and WANO. 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. The overall construction completion of the four units now stands at 94%.