The ceremony marking the pouring of first concrete for the basemat of the containment of the unit 4 reactor at the United Arab Emirates' Barakah NPP was attended by UAE energy minister Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, government officials and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) board of directors. In December 2009 Enec awarded a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation a $20bn contract to build four APR-1400 reactors at Barakah.
Regulatory approval for the construction of Barakah 3 and 4 was given last September. "Ahead of the start of official construction for unit 4, preparation works for Enec's fourth reactor were carried out under a separate licence over the past seven months," the company said. "The extensive preparation included lean-concrete to provide a mud-mat, waterproofing, cathodic protection and reinforcing steel installation."
ENEC said construction of the reactor containment building for unit 4 will be completed over the next 36 months - "with unit 4 on track to enter commercial operations in 2020" following the completion of the plant's first three reactors. ENEC must apply for a separate operating licence before plant operations can begin. Unit 1 is scheduled for completion in 2017, with additional units following at 12 monthly intervals, subject to regulatory and licensing approvals.
All four units will have a combined generating capacity of around 5,600MWe. .
According to Enec, once all four units at Barakah are in operation, the plant will supply about a quarter of the UAE's electricity and avoid the emission of up to 12m tonnes of greenhouse gas. There are now more than 18,000 staff working at Barakah, according to Enec CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi
"With the construction of four identical nuclear energy reactors now under way, Barakah surpasses nuclear construction sites in China, the USA, the UK, Russia and other countries to become the largest project with simultaneous construction of identical nuclear technology in the world," an Enec statement said. First concrete was poured for Barakah 1 in July 2012, for unit 2 in May 2013 and for unit 3 in September 2014. Enec said unit 1 is now 75% complete and all four units are more than 50% complete. All four units are scheduled to enter service by 2020.