The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has submitted the operating licence application for Barakah 1&2, the initial phase of UAE’s first nuclear plant which is under construction in the western region of Abu Dhabi.

The submittal of the 15,000-page document for evaluation by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) in March follows a five-year process and considerable work by ENEC, the reactor supplier Korea Electric Power Corporation and other international experts.

The licence application is a collection of documents including: ENEC’s final safety analysis report; an independent safety verification and design review; details of ENEC’s physical protection plan, facility safeguards plan, operational quality assurance manual, and emergency plan; a probabilistic risk assessment summary report; and a severe accident analysis report. It also includes a safety assessment report for Barakah, which provides updated information, as well as detailed lessons learned from the accident at Fukushima Daiichi.

‚ÄúThis is a very important stage in the development of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme," commented Mohamed Al Hammadi, ENEC’s chief executive officer. "The successful and on-time submission of this operating licence application is a crucial milestone in our journey to becoming fully operational in 2017."

ENEC hopes to receive an operating licence for Barakah 1 in 2016. The lead reactor is now more than 69% complete and remains on schedule for completion in 2017. Additional units will follow at 12-month intervals, with Barakah 4 set to commence commercial operations in 2020, pending regulatory approvals, ENEC said.

Once completed the four APR-1400 reactors will have a combined capacity of 5.6GW, and will be capable of meeting around a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs.