Abu Dhabi.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 Programme, as part of the process towards generating clean electricity for the Nation for at least the next 60 years.
The UAE becomes 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 decarbonisation 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, equivalent to the removal of 3.2 million cars from the nation’s roads annually.
Since the operating license from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulations, FANR, was issued 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 programme, prior to successfully completing the start-up of the first nuclear energy reactor of the Barakah plant.
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.
Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of ENEC, said: "Today is a truly historic moment for the UAE. It is the culmination of more than a decade of vision, strategic planning and robust program management. Despite the recent global challenges, our team has demonstrated outstanding resilience and commitment to the safe delivery of Unit 1. 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.”
He added: Through the realisation of the vision of our leadership, the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has become an engine of growth for the nation. It will deliver 25 per cent 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.
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 base load electricity at full capacity to power the growth and prosperity of the UAE for decades to come.
Commenting on this key milestone, Eng. Ali Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of Nawah, said the start-up of Unit 1 is a significant milestone for Nawah Energy Company as they fulfill their mandate to operate and maintain the plant in accordance with the highest international standards of safety and quality.
He added that the dedication of UAE people as well as close collaboration with Korean partners and cooperation with numerous international expert organisations has enabled the accomplishment.
“This reflects our commitment to upholding the highest safety, quality and operational transparency standards throughout the entire commissioning and startup process by leveraging the expertise of the global nuclear industry, “said Eng. Ali Al Hammadi.
He added: I am especially proud of our talented UAE National engineers and nuclear professionals who contributed to the construction of Unit 1, as well as the UAE National Senior Reactor Operators and Reactor Operators who have been certified to safely operate the plant, alongside our international experts, to ensure the safe and sustainable operations of the unit for decades to come.