UAE nuclear construction project gets underway

Nuclear power general UAEThe Barakah Nuclear Facility in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region will house the UAE’s first nuclear power station. (Image source: EnvironmentBlog/Flickr)Building work has begun in the UAE on the facility that will house the country's first nuclear reactor, after the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) gave the project the green light 

FANR granted the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) a licence to build Units One and Two at the Barakah Nuclear Facility following an 18-month review of the application, with ENEC pouring more than 1500m³ of concrete to form a portion of the foundation slab of the Barakah Unit 1 Reactor Containment Building.

ENEC chief executive officer Mohamed Al Hammadi said, “This has been a momentous week for the UAE’s peaceful civil nuclear energy programme.

“We have received approval from our regulators on the extensive safety analysis led to the selection of our selected site, Barakah, and our chosen technology, the APR 1400, and today we commence the construction of the UAE’s first nuclear energy plant.”

FANR chairman HE Dr Ahmed Al Mazrouei described the licence issuance as a “significant milestone in the UAE's nuclear energy programme”.

ENEC has been authorised to construct two Korean-design advanced pressurised water reactors, which will each be capable of producing 1,400MW. The corporation, however, will have to apply for a separate licence to operate the units.

FANR director general Dr William Travers remarked, “The reviewers scrutinised submissions by ENEC covering all required topics including the adequacy of the proposed site, the design of the facility, the safety analysis, management systems and quality assurance for construction, radiation safety measures, physical protection and safeguards.

“During the construction itself and during our review of any operating licence application, we will continue to be conscious of our responsibility that nuclear power in the UAE is used safely, securely and only for peaceful purposes,” he added. 

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