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The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has recently completed important tests at Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in the UAE
The structural integrity test (SIT) and integrated leak rate test (ILRT) were performed over a period of several weeks on the unit 1 with the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) providing full oversight, and conforming to the highest international standards of safety and quality.
According to ENEC, both of the tests demonstrated the integrity and robustness of the structure in terms of force and leak tightness, and the structure’s ability to perform safely under normal and extraordinary circumstances.
The SIT evaluated the strength of the reactor containment building (RCB), the structure at the heart of the plant, which houses the reactor and major components, by pressurising and depressurising the building to simulate regular and extraordinary conditions. Similarly, the ILRT assesses the leak tightness of the containment building under a variety of conditions.
“We are proud to have maintained our track record of safety and quality with the completion of the SIT and ILRT. The commissioning phase of a nuclear energy plant is a critical step towards the first fuel load. Before loading the fuel it is essential that the plant is tested under the highest standards of safety, security and quality,” said ENEC CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi.
“With the completion of these tests on Unit 1, we are moving closer to achieving our goal of supplying up to a quarter of our nation’s electricity needs with low-carbon, sustainable nuclear energy. Our work at Barakah continues to support the UAE’s energy mix strategy as well as the future social and economic growth of the UAE,” added Al Hammadi.
The tests demonstrated that the RCB can perform its primary function – to contain radiation and prevent any radioactive release into the environment – under normal operation conditions and emergencies, in accordance with the highest international safety standards.
ENEC’s teams worked closely with Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and FANR, throughout the complex testing process.
Other recent commissioning milestones completed safely and successfully on Unit 1 include reactor systems flushing, turbine lube oil flushing and cold hydrostatic testing (CHT), which verified that the reactor coolant system and other associated systems met FANR’s regulations.
The project at Barakah is progressing steadily, Unit 1 is now 88 percent complete, Unit 2 is 72 percent complete, Unit 3 is 50 percent complete and Unit 4 is 31 percent complete. Overall, construction of Units 1 to 4 is now more than 65 percent complete. All four units will deliver safe, clean, reliable and efficient nuclear energy to the UAE grid, pending regulatory reviews and licensing.
When the four reactors are completed, the country’s peaceful nuclear energy programme will provide approximately 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity needs and save up to 12mn tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.