Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), part of Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), on 2 March signed a contract with the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) send more than 50 people - including plant operators and some support personnel - to assist with commissioning the first unit at the Barakah NPP in the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE and South Korea signed a bilateral civil nuclear energy cooperation agreement in June 2009, under which the South Korean government will help the UAE to develop its civil nuclear programme over the next two decades through the transfer of technology, equipment and expertise. Kepco is the prime contractor for construction of the first of four Korean-designed APR-1400 pressurised water reactors at Barakah. Construction began in 2012 and Barakah 1 is now almost 90% complete, with a completion target of 5 May 2017.
Enec announced in June 2014 that ten Emirati citizens had become the UAE's first fully qualified local operators after completing of a 15-month training course in the UAE and South Korea. Enec developed the course together with Kepco. The programme was held at Kepco's facilities in South Korea, the Institute of Applied Technology in Abu Dhabi, and Emec's Simulator Training Centre at Barakah.
Construction began on unit 2 in 2013, and is about 65% complete, while work began on units 3 and 4 in 2014 and 2015. All four units are scheduled to be complete by 2020. Enec is currently working to obtain approval from the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation for operating licences for the first two units. Enec estimates that it will need around 2,000 employees to operate the units.