The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has inaugurated its Simulator Training Center (STC) at Barakah in the western region of Abu Dhabi - the site of the UAE's nuclear energy plants.
The new APR1400 simulators will complement ENEC's comprehensive training program and help ENEC prepare its students to attain Reactor Operator (RO) and Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) certifications. They will also provide continuous training for ENEC's working SROs.
The STC is home to two simulators which are identical to the plant's main control room, each consisting of a large display panel which highlights the most important parameters for operators' quick reference, and five operator stations from which ROs can consult any system within the plant using their Man-Machine Interface System (MMIS).
It was developed by ENEC's prime contractor, the Korea Electric Power Corp, Western Services Corporation (WSC) and SHINIL.
The APR1400 simulators integrate multiple specialist software systems to reproduce the closest possible reproduction of the real plant.
This simulator represents only the first stage in the development of a dedicated 700 square metre Simulator Training Center at Barakah.
The opening ceremony of the new state-of-the-art facility was attended by ENEC chief executive officer, Mohamed Al Hammadi and other senior officials at the corporation.
"Safety is and will remain our main priority and highly trained and prepared reactor operators are critical to the safety of our plants," said Al Hammadi. "Real-time control room simulators have a proven track record of developing user softs skills such as communication, the ability to respond efficiently, solid decision making and working as part of a team. They play a key role in the development of a nuclear safety culture," he added.
Each student requires more than 800 hours of advanced simulator training to receive the Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) certification, which is controlled and issued by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) in the UAE. This training is part of a preliminary training program ENEC runs for its SROs and is in addition to the 2000 hours of official training the operators undertake.
ENEC has recently been granted approval for additional civil works relating to Barakah Units 3 & 4 under its Limited Construction License. This approval will help to ensure that the Units remain on schedule to enter commercial operations in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
The first two units are now more than 40% complete. Unit 1 is scheduled to enter commercial operations in 2017, and Unit 2 is scheduled for operations in 2018, pending regulatory approvals. ENEC will apply for an Operating License for Units 1 and 2 in 2015.
Photo: Inauguration of ENEC's Simulator Training Center (STC) at Barakah in the UAE (Source: ENEC)